Grecia Sanchez, Class of 2012
I'd like to begin with a story by an unknown author.
One day a father and his wealthy family took his young son on a trip to the country with the firm purpose to show him how poor people can be. They spent a day and a night in the farm of a very poor family.
When they got back from the trip, the father asked his son, "How was the trip?"
“Very good, dad!” the son replied.
After a second, the father asked, "Did you see how poor people can be son?"
"Yea!" said the son.
"And what did you learn?" asked the father.
"Well dad, I saw that we have one dog at home, and guess what dad? They have four! We have a pool that reaches to the middle of the garden; they have a creek that has no end, dad. We have imported lamps in the garden, they have the stars. Our patio reaches to the front yard and they have the WHOLE horizon! Why didn't you ever tell me how poor we were?" The father was speechless.
Families, friends, faculty and staff, I want to thank you for being here today. It is my pleasure to stand before you on behalf of the 2012 graduating class of the University of California, Merced.
There are no words to fully express our gratitude. From the bottom of our hearts we want to thank you for your support, sacrifice, and patience as you accompanied us throughout this journey.
We were blessed to have professors and staff who contributed not only to the nourishment of our minds, but our lives, by helping us reach our full potential every day. It was extremely challenging and I am certain that the rigorous coursework has prepared us for the next step we decide to take in our lives.
Classmates, many of you came from the city to the country, fearing that UC Merced would not have everything that you dreamed of at the college of your choice. Others already knew the riches of life in a developing community surrounded by beautiful scenery. However, we all now know the gratification of discovering that our wealth comes from within our creative minds, as well as from seeing the promise of growth and change. Life at UC Merced teaches us about vision, and like that son in the story, we were able to see the riches and opportunities here that others could not and that is an experience we will never forget.
Being a first-generation college student in the Central Valley, I have come to understand that education is the greatest liberator and the greatest force for social progress. Our class represents hard work and sacrifice. These past four years have been filled with many obstacles, our dedication and commitment have enabled us to take pain, fear and stress and use them as motivation to push harder when we feel like giving up.
We have been able to take something that is good and turn it into something great. Our graduating class is made up of innovators, hardworking individuals who are building a strong foundation for future students by embracing diversity and appreciation for what is unique.
We might not be as established as our sister campuses yet, but we took what others expected to be an ordinary college experience and turned it into something extraordinary.
Class of 2012, in your success remain humble and appreciate your life and everyone in it. You are coming to the end of one of many journeys ahead of you, and be certain that people will ask you like the father in the story asked his son… "How was the trip?" Let your accomplishments leave them speechless. For the whole horizon is in front of us.
To our family and friends that watched us grow and form our goals and dreams — and even those who are not with us anymore — as we walk across the stage and our names are called, we dedicate our accomplishments to you. Thank you for witnessing as they come true on this beautiful night.
Class of 2012 you are brilliant! And your potential is immeasurable!
Congratulations! We earned it!