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Graduation Address

Stephanie Assad

– Stephanie Assad, Valedictorian

Welcome, faculty, family, friends, and fellow graduates,

Thank you all for being here on this special occasion in our lives. I am truly honored to be standing in front of you all, representing this amazing graduating class. Now if only I had taken Public Speaking.

I was homeschooled all my life, so the idea of sitting in a classroom with other people was intimidating. I know what you’re thinking — and no, I didn’t do my schoolwork in my pajamas… at least not every day. MCC’s small class sizes seemed like the best way to transition from homeschooling to college. I had no idea—or really, way too many ideas—of what I wanted to major in. I knew I wanted to help people, but I wasn’t sure which path to take. Thanks to Jason Holmwood at Counseling and Career Services and many others, I decided to pursue the noble profession of nursing.

The last two years of my life in the nursing program were . . . challenging, to say the least. I know my nursing classmates can relate. We quickly learned that while all the answer choices are correct, you have to choose the most correct answer. And I’ll never forget how terrified I was on my first day of clinical; my instructor had to literally push me into my patient’s room. Though the journey was difficult, it was worth it! I’m really looking forward to working as a registered nurse.

Some of us had more challenges to overcome than others, like raising a family or learning the English language—all while attending classes, writing papers, and obsessively checking Campus Cruiser for grades. Whatever our story is, we all have one thing in common: we have worked hard to be where we are today. Personally, I know I couldn’t have done it alone.

To the nursing faculty: each and every one of you has enriched my life. Thank you for your patience with me and your constant support and guidance. I especially want to thank Nancy Berger, Bobbie George, Pam Hicks, and Katherine Howard. Professors Barbara Bogner and Erin Christensen, you helped me enjoy the classes I feared the most. Thank you for believing in me; your words of encouragement mean more to me than I can express. To my family and friends, thank you for being by my side through every exam and after every tough clinical day. A special thank you to my parents for emphasizing the importance of higher education, and teaching me that a little hard work goes a long way.

As John C. Maxwell says, “Dreams don’t work unless you do.” While we had support along the way, we are all graduating because of the work we put into our education. Whether you decide to continue your studies or jump into your career, remember that it was your hard work and dedication that brought you here today. Never forget the people who encouraged you throughout your journey, and strive to be that helpful for someone else.

Thank you, and congratulations, class of 2014!