I stand here today on the precipice of the future. It’s not a dream anymore. It’s a reality. It begins here. It begins now. Even though it took some of us longer than others to get here, we did it! We completed a basic education that will serve as the platform we use to embark on our road to success. This is the first day of the rest of our lives. Some of us will go to college. Others will go straight into the workforce, but no matter what path we choose, we will succeed if we remember that even though there will be challenges ahead of us, if we have courage, perseverance, and determination to push ourselves, we will overcome those challenges.
A personal challenge of mine is being a single parent and the hardship that comes along with it. Returning to school with children is never an easy decision. As a parent, our main job is to nurture someone else’s wellbeing. Finding time to take a bath without little ones knocking at the door or worrying what’s going on behind the door seems impossible, so finding the time to return to school seemed intangible. Over the years, I had thought, “What would life be like if I had finished high school? Would I have gone to college? What career would I have? Would I live in another city?” And of course, “Would I be making more money?” But because I was a teen parent, my life went down a different path and crying about it wasn’t going to change things, like that saying, “There’s no use crying over spilled milk.”
As the years went by and the responsibility of my family grew, the thought of school just faded away and life continued on. Once I realized that I not only needed more, I wanted more in life and working dead end jobs where I wasn’t happy wasn’t good for me or my kids, I knew I needed to get a diploma to move up in any workforce I chose. When I decided that I wanted to get my G.E.D., there were some things I was worried about. I had been out of school for quite some time, so not being able to understand somethings made me have doubts about being successful. But as time went on, I developed an awesome support system that helped me to reach this first step to a better life.
To the staff at Milpitas Adult Ed, thank you for all the help and motivation. To my peers, thank you for always cheering on not just me, but each other. If one of us was stuck, we were there to try and help. To my teacher, Laura, thank you for giving me the tools and knowledge I needed to make this happen and for being the only teacher who not only believed in me but made me believe in myself. And of course to my biggest support system, my family. Thank you for always being there even when it seems like I don't want you to be. You have always been there when I need you to push me or to pick me back up. And thank you for saying what I always need to hear even when I don't like it.
My aspirations in life are to be more educated, to have a career that not only pays well but where I will be happy, and to show my kids that hard work pays off and that it’s never too late to achieve your goals and to never stop learning. It doesn’t matter where you come from or what you have. If you work and have determination, you can achieve anything. So if there is one thing you remember from my ramblings today, remember this: success is not measured by what you have accomplished, but by the obstacles you have encountered and the courage with which you push against the overwhelming odds. Thank you.