Laurel Dominguez graduated June 29 from Brandman University with a Bachelor of Arts in Early Childhood Education. In her commencement address to fellow graduates, she expressed appreciation for those who helped her along the way, including faculty members, advisors and her fellow students. A video of the ceremony follows her prepared remarks.
Good evening families, friends, Brandman University faculty, and graduates. First and foremost, I want to say congratulations to you all who have worked so hard to be here today,as we receive these diplomas as the class of 2018.
It is an absolute privilege and pleasure to stand before you as a speaker for this evenings commencement.
Remembering back to when I started here at Brandman University, I knew what I wanted my major would be and I had big dreams for my future. Those dreams are now a reality, and this reality would not have been possible without my time spent here at Brandman University. The dedicated advisors, coordinators and professors have all provided me and my fellow graduates with the tools to be successful in our fields.
Today I am receiving my bachelor’s in early childhood education. It took late nights, strong coffee and persistence. There were times that I thought I wouldn’t get that paper done; I wouldn’t pass that math test. Here I am this evening, receiving my degree. A degree that I put so much into, whether it was a class at one of the local campuses, an online class being done after work, on a vacation or in the Starbucks a block away because my Wi-Fi was down at home.
I faced obstacles. Life happened around me, just as it happens around you all. I struggled with classes. I didn’t get the grade I expected. Life knocked me down time and time again. There where good times, and then there are trying times. In my 2 ½ years at Brandman, I overcame my obstacles and fears of not finishing my degree, because I knew the light at the end of my educational tunnel was so much brighter than the light I was under in those moments of hardship. This university is designed for those who work, who have families, and those who have both. I was able to complete my degree while working a full-time job, coaching a high school water polo and swim teams as a part time job, getting married, buying a house, and many other significant life moments, that never had to be missed thanks to the flexibility and support of this college. This college worked with me. It allowed me to live my life all while bettering my life, and preparing me for the future I wanted.
The educators here are the most understanding teachers and advisors I have ever had. They stood by me every step of the way. They worked with me every step. I knew that staff here wanted to see us succeed. They showed us they wanted us to succeed. They told us they would be there to guide us and help us when things got tough. Because of their belief in me, my belief in me, and the community of peers I have gained through Brandman that believed in me, I am able call myself a graduate.
With this degree I will go out into the world of education as a special education teacher passing on what I know onto the next generation for years to come. Brandman University has given me the experience and confidence to be a successful teacher, leader and colleague. This university focuses on collaboration, communication, and connections – values that are keys to becoming a successful educator. I was able to work with teachers, fellow Brandman classmates, and children through practicum courses offered at Brandman. This gave me the chance to apply what I learned into real classrooms: developing lesson plans, managing students, and focusing on being intentional and reflective.
Through the guidance of these professors and advisors I was able to navigate my way to the degree I wanted and get a job in the field I dreamed of. There will always be trials in life. Some we will pass easier than others. Some trials will require us to use what we learned in school from our professors, advisors, and peers to succeed, and that we will.
Today as we each receive our degrees in various fields, we are all able to pursue our dreams and make this world a better place, to make our community a better place, because Brandman University supported us to become strong intellectuals and leaders.
As we proceed with our well-deserved commencement, I will leave you with this, “Go into the world and do well. But more importantly, go into the world and do good.” ― Minor Myers. We have achieved something great here tonight, and now we must take that greatness and share it with the world.
South San Joaquin Valley Commencement
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