NMSDC Commencement Address

(Deep breath, serious affect)

Welcome, class of 2016. Welcome to the first day of the rest of our lives.

Looking around here today, I see many familiar faces. I see people I know well from class, acquaintances I’ve made over the years, people I’ve passed on campus throughout our time here at New Mexico State Department College.

I see friends and family, teachers and administrators. I see men and women from all walks of life, all backgrounds and demographics, eager to see where life takes them. I see people willing to make change a reality in this world. Looking around, I see the future.

But what I don’t see is fear. I don’t see people afraid of what might come — I see people determined to reach the potential that NMSDC has helped us realize, the potential we as people are born with but that few seldom see in themselves, and even fewer ever achieve.

What I don’t see are the kids we were when we began this journey all those years ago. We aren’t the children who arrived for orientation, (sheepish grin) the boys and girls who didn’t know how much detergent to use when doing our laundry or how to organize a sock index. At NMSDC, we have learned compassion and courage; we have learned how to help those who struggle and how to ensure that voices are heard.

We have learned how to persevere.

I want to thank everyone — not just the people who have helped me get where I am today, but all the men and women I met on this crazy journey. All the teachers, all the friends, and all of you I never got around to meeting but now sure wish I did.

But today isn’t about me. It’s not even about all of us, really. It’s about what we do with what we’ve been given.

Class of 2016, today I challenge you. I challenge you not to rest on your laurels, not to sit back and watch life go by — because it will go by. Time slows for no one, and we are no exception — though we are exceptional. Each and every one of us can change the world. So now is the time to do it. Use what you’ve learned here, the tools you’ve acquired and the gifts you’ve been given, to become (pause) extraordinary.

Here’s to success. Here’s to the future. And here’s, to the class of 2016.