Hello, good morning and welcome to graduation for the class of 2012. I have waited to hear those words for 5 years - and by the looks on all of my fellow graduates faces, I am not alone. Think with me for a minute about the process we have gone through which has gathered us here today. Our stories of these past years are not much different. Whether you went to a community college, transferred here from another four-year school or started your freshman year in the dorms near the entrance of this campus, we are finally finishing together.
My brother asked me how I was able to finish college. I told him it is because I enjoy learning and I always finish. No matter if I unplug my computer and lose all my work, I stay up until I finish. In my opinion the joy of learning and the gift of finishing are not things we learn in college. These are skills we bring with us and apply to our studies. And no matter where or how you learn them, you never forget them.
I can credit my mom for giving me the joy of learning. I spent my first five years of life growing up in a small town called Plain. Given the name of Plain I’m sure I don’t have to waste your time explaining the ins and outs of this small community. The one colorful part about Plain was the people who lived there. Being that an elementary school was so far away, the community set up a home school system and my mom was one of the teachers. Having my mom as a teacher in kindergarten was like having recess all day long. However, she could always get me involved using her amazing imagination. When our family had to move to North Fork, Colorado to follow my dad’s job, my mother continued to teach me as well as my brother Andy. Her creativity never stopped as she made up games to help us learn the capitols of the states as well as encouraged us to look at the maps of the places we would visit. She had no idea she was molding a geographer. I can remember learning about Thanksgiving by making a Turkey dinner out of play dough for my GI Joe figures and learning how to read by wearing the pages of my Bernstein Bears books. . My mom even created a core class when she introduced my brother and I to gerbils. It started out as a sexual reproduction chapter but after about a month it became a math class just trying to keep up with how many new gerbils were in the cage.
When it came time to go into public school, I tested into the third grade but was given the option to go into second to be with my age group. I can remember my mom asking me what grade I wanted to go into and I felt so grown up and smart to say ‘give me the third grade’. I can’t imagine the feeling my mom had leaving there knowing her son was going into the third grade after the years she spent teaching me. Cheers to you mom. You lit the fire and handed me the fan and here I am.
Public school was a difficult transition for me. After my teacher heard he was getting a kid whom had come...