May and June are graduation season - a time for caps, gowns and keynote speeches. In the last several weeks, College Steps has seen many of its students transition to community colleges and four-year institutions, including Adelphi University, George Mason University, and Norwalk Community College. Others are entering the workforce in careers such as veterinary technology, hospitality and state government. And as a right of passage, most participated in commencement ceremonies where they received words of inspiration and encouragement.
At Northern Vermont University - Lyndon Campus in Vermont May 20, students heard from 1986 alum and Weather Channel star Jim Cantore. Cantore shared fond memories of his time at Lyndon State and gave the graduates advice on how to overcome life’s obstacles while living meaningful and fullingful lives. “Find a mentor,” Cantore said. “Find someone who you admire and want to emulate.” Cantore said his mentor was John Hope, A.K.A. “The Grandfather of the Weather Channel” who passed away in 2012. Cantore called him, a “gentle, loving man that genuinely cared about people...seriously the most compassionate man I have ever seen in my life.”
Diversity was the theme of the commencement speech at Norwalk Community College in Connecticut May 18. President David Levinson began by noting that the school’s 818 graduates came from 41 different countries and spoke 26 languages. “We live in a world characterized, unfortunately, by seemingly unlimited acrimony. Yet, you, the graduating class of 2018, offer the world a promise of harmony and mutual support,” said Levinson.
At Northern Virginia Community College’s (NOVA) May 12 commencement ceremony, students heard from fellow graduates who overcame personal adversity. Brenda Medrano-Frias, an immigrant from Bolivia who served as student representative to the school's Board of Directors, said she felt “directionless and lost” before taking classes at NOVA. “Think about the people who helped to guide you. I always found myself surrounded by true mentors and role models,” she said.
While the speakers and speeches varied, most touched on the importance of community and connection to others. Here at College Steps, we are honored to be part of the community that helped each of this year’s graduates take the next step in their personal journey.