Amanda Mondino: Dreaming of something bigger and making it happen

June 30, 2018 by Brandman University

Amanda Mondino with her best friend, Amanda, at the Southern San Joaquin Commencement for Brandman University's Visalia and Hanford campuses.

Amanda Mondino received her Bachelor of Arts in Organizational Leadership at the South San Joaquin Valley Commencement for Brandman University students on June 29. Here’s what the 14-year Navy electrician told her fellow graduates. A video of the entire ceremony is at the end of her speech.

Ladies and gentlemen, distinguished guests, and the class of 2018.  What an honor it is to be able to speak before you today.  I am honored and humbled by all of our achievements that got us here today, to become a college graduate.  Today is a celebration of finishing an academic achievement, regardless of the degree, diploma, or the title earned. Completing an academic program will set help us up for a better future for our families and ourselves. 

I have been in the Navy for 14 years.  My rate, or job, is an aviation electrician mate. Basically, I am an electrician on F-18s.  I have also been on instructor duty for three years, where I taught junior AE's how to be electricians on F-18s.  My oldest brother is also an electrician.  I have always told him that he is a real electrician because he gets to work on houses and buildings. But he said I am the cool electrician because I get to work on fighter jets.

I am a determined single parent of two amazing young men who taught me that I can be whoever I want to be. I have struggled and sacrificed more than what I can explain to all of you in just a few short minutes, but even through three deployments and numerous detachments, my commands have supported me with my dreams.  One thing that I did know for sure was how could I explain the importance of a college education to my sons if I did not have one myself.  My degree is for you, Michael and Anthony, without your futures, I may have not seen mine.

I started my journey five years ago with my best friend, Amanda, who is here tonight receiving her master’s degree.  I am so proud of you, girl!  Through many papers and frustrating classes, she and I encouraged each other down this long educational journey, and who knows I may just come back and finish my master’s.  Or at least that is what my father has planned for me.  Love you, Daddy!  To my mother, the proud Navy mom, who was there for my children when I could not be – thank you for your unwavering support because without you, I would have not been able to serve my country and follow my dreams.  

So, I would like to thank and dedicate this commencement to all of the dreamers out there. To all of the men and women who dreamed of something bigger, something better for themselves and their families.  I want to thank Brandman and my academic advisors, Janet and Bethany, for being so understanding, flexible, and helpful in guiding me here tonight to reach my dream.

The future is out there ahead of us, bigger and brighter than ever.  Congratulations to all of you who chose to follow your dreams and to make them a reality here tonight.  

South San Joaquin Valley Commencement


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