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Middlesex County College Graduation Address

Valedictorian for the Class of 2010, Zizhou Zhao

Good Morning, Ladies and Gentlemen. Thank you Dr. Hays. It is a great honor for me to be here at this happy time. Congratulations to all my fellow students – the class of 2010. All these years of hard work have paid off.

My story is different from most of yours, as I emigrated from China two years ago. But there are similarities, because I came to this college to improve myself, to have a better life, just as you did. We are all seeking success.

I still remember when I first came to the U.S., I felt lost. I was not familiar with the new society and this new country. Language was my first barrier. I studied English as a Second Language and did little else. I had no life. My inspiration was my grandfather, who died of cancer several years ago. His last words to me were: “Become a useful person to benefit society.” His death determined my destiny. I told myself that I would produce new affordable and effective medicines to help people live longer.

Like everyone in the class of 2010, I had a dream. It is our dream that gives us the faith to succeed; it’s our dream that drives us to continue all our hard work, and it’s also the dream that will help us to live meaningful and colorful lives. With the strong desire to succeed, I started my journey in the United States. I told myself “Never give up. If somebody in this world can do it, why not me? If nobody has done it, why can’t I be the first?”

I worked with Dr. Reginald Luke to create the Chinese Club to help me and my fellow international students overcome homesickness. I went to the Counseling and Career Services Center for assistance. It took hard work and help from many people on campus, but eventually, I did it. I became the second student from Middlesex to receive the Jack Kent Cooke Scholarship. I’ve been accepted to UC Berkeley, a top school in Chemical Engineering.

Colin Powell once said, “A dream doesn’t become a reality through magic; it takes sweat, determination, and hard work.”

Middlesex County College is a great place to build our academic foundations. We learned how to study and become knowledgeable in our fields. And we have our faculty to thank for that.

Coming to Middlesex County College was the best decision I ever made. However, now we have to say goodbye to this beautiful campus. I hope that you will remember all the friends you made here, all the fun you had, all the joys and good times. New challenges are ahead of us. You control your destiny. Continue all the hard work and do your best.

Congratulations again.
Thank you.