Graduation time has come around and once more I feel so proud of those who made it. It has taken a lot of time, effort, and money to achieve that diploma. Many of them are probably wondering and now what?
Given the current economy, there are no easy answers to that question. Nevertheless, if we take a more profound approach to the matter, the first thing that comes to mind is that learning is an ongoing process. It’s a personal process and the many things that have been internalized by going through the academic process are the person’s own bounty.
Even if they lose the diploma, or move to a country where they have to start from scratch by learning a new language and a new culture, they will always carry with them the knowledge and experiences acquired.
It is in that daily challenge of improving oneself that the best lessons are learned. If life takes them into new situations, they may use their thinking and problem solving skills at many levels, in any place.
This year I have had the personal reward of seeing individuals that beat the odds against all sorts of hurdles.
I know a young woman, married, mother of three children, working and with a heavy load of responsibilities and not much money. She made time not only to be a good mother, wife and daughter, but also to volunteer many times for worthy causes in the community. Today she received her diploma. I was about to give one too for the husband, the mother and each one of the young children. It was a family team that made that possible; and they accomplished it.
I have also been invited to a GED graduation of a single man who worked sometimes even two jobs, learned English, took the GED classes, struggled a lot to understand the math; he will receive his diploma this week. It was not easy! But he accomplished it!
And the third one is a young man who did not have access to any financial aid. He also arrived in this country with no knowledge of English, but very quickly he decided that he was going to graduate and after his high school graduation he went onto college. He paid most of it all by himself. It was with his work and effort that he paid for his studies. His mother was always there encouraging, helping as she could, providing food and love.
This week he will also receive his degree.
I salute these three people close to me, who with their courage and determination have taught me invaluable lessons.
I salute all of them. I affirm that it is individuals and families like these that constitute the real life of the country.
Politicians and bankers talk about budgets and figures. They keep talking and talking about solving the problems while they gather around polished tables. They take breaks and call new meetings to “solve the problems”.
Common people go about their days, solving life. They face debt, scarcity and trouble but never give up; they always know that their relatives depend on their continuous presense. They cannot afford to take breaks to ponder about issues. Buying gas, food, paying rent is a ‘today’ matter. They are the daily heroes that are graduating this season from every college and high school.
Thank you for weaving life the way you have. Congratulations and may we always count on you, for you are precious!
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