Well, this would have been my speech if I'd been able to give it anyway. The graduation was a combined campus graduation with Burr Ridge (my campus) and North Aurora. Only one Valedictorian from each campus was allowed to give a speech because they did not want the speeches taking up too much time. :::insert eye roll here::: This is what I had written long before I'd officially become Valedictorian and even longer before I was told I wouldn't be able to give it:
“You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something — your gut, destiny, life, karma,whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.” ~ Steve Jobs, 2005
On February 22, 2012 I finalized everything for my enrollment at Everest. February 27th was my Mod 1 Orientation and I was excited to get started. February 28th was my first night of class – I went home terrified, wondering what I’d gotten myself into, if I’d be able to handle it all and if it was too late to back out! :-) After awhile I fell into my own rhythm and loved being at school, enjoyed the camaraderie of my classmates and the fresh challenge of all I was learning. My 3 boys – my husband &my sons – were all so proud of me. My boys were amused that Mommy had way more homework than they did! On July 31stI received my Alpha Beta Kappa Key Pin & Welcoming Letter – it was one of the first proud moments for me at school.
On August 20th, I had what could have been a major set back for me – I had surgery to remove a benign tumor from my medial nerve. I spent two weeks with my arm wrapped and doing my best to not lose ground in the classroom or lab. I never did. October 1st could have been another serious set back for me –I received a phone call from my rheumatologist confirming that I had Rheumatoid Arthritis & Lupus. I still pressed forward. I wanted this career path more than the surgery or diagnosis could stop me.
The evening of October 19th I went to the Fall Commencement Ceremony and watched as many of my friends & classmates graduated. It was an inspirational night indeed. So inspirational in fact, that I went home deciding that I would be Valedictorian for my graduating class and wrote this speech (yes, this has been mostly ready to go since October). :-) On the first day of my final Mod, October 22nd,I finally received my Igniter Ambassador Scrubs and was again proud of what I’d accomplished.
On October 26th I took and passed the National Certification Exam. I smiled all the way home & for the rest of that night.
November16th was my final night of school – a bittersweet moment indeed. I was pleased with all I had done in 9 Mods – 5 Mods on President’s List, 4 on Director’s List, carried a4.0 GPA all 9 Mods, completed my clinic hours despite the set back from surgery, passed the National Exam, and was ready to get out there and start working.
March 6, 2013 I went for an interview that resulted in my being hired as soon as my license number was issued. One of the final proud moments in this chapter of my life – I was officially hired to work as a Massage Therapist at an establishment I am proud to be a part of. Exactly one month later on April 6, 2013 I worked my first shift and I am so grateful to be exactly where I’m supposed to be.
Now tonight, April 24th, I stand before all of you blessed and pleased to say all of my dots have connected, I achieved everything I set out to accomplish even when the odds were truly stacked against me – and the final proud moment is that I stand before you as Valedictorian. Please believe me when I say that when you truly put your mind to something you really can achieve your wildest dreams! Thank You to my family and my friends for supporting me and believing in me. You are all part of my success too. Now I leave you with one final quote:
“Nothing is as important as passion. No matter what you want to do with your life, be passionate. The world doesn’t need any more gray. On the other hand, we can’t get enough color. Mediocrity is nobody’s goal and perfection shouldn’t be either. We’ll never be perfect. But remember these three P’s: Passion + Persistence = Possibility.” ~ Jon Bon Jovi, 2001