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Just Across This Stage

Posted: October 3rd, 2010 | Author: | No Comments »

On May 27, 2007, I graduated from Keuka College with a Bachelor’s of Arts. Following is the speech that I gave at Commencement entitled “Just Across This Stage:”

At long last, today we stand at the edge of this stage, prepared to cross it into the unknown prospects of our future. We are at the end of our years here at Keuka College, we have completed our time at this institution… an institution that has prepared us to reach our potential. It has encouraged us to explore, lifted us when we stumbled, and fostered in us belief in our dreams to do good things. Today, we walk across this stage to futures anticipated and to futures unimagined. Wherever that may take us, we will stride with confidence. Together, we have completed a difficult leg of a journey that continues. Already we have worked through adversity, we are now experienced travelers, ready to test the waters of what lie ahead. We survived freshman year, the homesick emptiness of late nights and the empty feelings in our bellies after meals that were not quite like the ones our mothers cooked. We matured throughout our sophomore year and gained confidence in our junior year. We won canoe races and celebrated sports victories, and earned academic honors. By senior year, we became overconfident, but we have developed a wisdom that comes from years of living and studying together. Today is a chance to reflect on those years, on the times that we laughed, the times that we cried, and the times that we just held on. We persevered, and we are triumphant, for every one of us is still standing, stronger for the experience. We now charge ahead to the rest of our lives on the merits of these experiences, eager to meet the new challenges that face us. Those challenges await us just across this stage.

Today we can look at each other and know that we have made this successful journey together. Community is a highly valued aspect of Keuka College, one that attracted many of us to this place. When we needed a friendly face or the Easy-Mac ran out, we had each other. When the internet was down or our cars were dead, we had each other. When there were papers to be written or sleepless nights to be endured, we had each other. Those challenges await us just across this stage, indeed. But today, though we cross the stage one by one, we cross it together..

Our years here have come to an end, friends; we have taken our finals and completed our term papers. Our work is finished and our celebrating is beginning. And yet we are all still Keukonians. We will always be Keukonians. We will carry a touch of Keuka in our hearts, a glimmer of the Lake in our eyes, and a breath of this sweet country air in our nostrils. We lived in Saunders and Space, Blyley and Harrington and Davis, and of course, in Ball. We dined in the Geiser and we studied in Hegeman. We take from these buildings not just our experiences but a sense and feeling of those who passed through here before us. And so too our legacy will be felt by those who follow us. With every step we take, we bring Keuka with us. And with those steps, we feel Keuka behind us. The College is a part of us as much as we are a part of it.

Graduation is for many our greatest accomplishment yet. We have worked hard to achieve our goals and stand upon this stage. As of today, we can say that we are “College educated.” We will now continue on to become ‘life educated.’ In doing so, we will search and discover, we will struggle and overcome, we will strive and succeed.

Today we move on to new adventures, to begin a new life elsewhere, one that lies just across this stage.

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