Graduate Alex Rodriguez in front of the crowd of graduates

“Today, we graduate due in no small part to the support of our communities.

As we celebrate our graduates this spring, we hear many powerful stories about their experienceboth in college and in life. More often than not, they’re stories of overcoming significant obstacles to reach their dreams.

We get to hear from some of these students during our graduations ceremonies. We call them our “Voices.” This week, we’ve shared several of their speeches with you here.

We hope you’ve learned something worthwhile from each our our graduate’s voices. Here’s our final installment.

Alexander Rodriguez—Associate of Arts Degree

I’d like to start out by saying it is a great honor to be standing up here—and speaking in front of you—for our first indoor graduation commencement ceremony since 2019.

This is a special day for all of us here. I see proud students, proud parents, and proud professors and administrators; all of us proud for good reason.

The past two years have been difficult for all of us here in one way or another. Many of us have lost loved ones, endured physical, emotional, and financial hardship, suffered through isolation and uncertainty—and yet, here we are today, in spite of our hardship, in celebration of our accomplishments.

But I don’t believe that I speak only for myself when I say that I couldn’t have done it alone. What we’re celebrating here today is as much a testament to the strength of our community as it is a demonstration of what we as individuals are capable of.

My name is Alex Rodriguez and I began my studies at Front Range Community College at the age of thirty-two.

I was nervous.

Though, not the type of nervous that I felt today before coming up on stage.

The type of nervous that gets you to start asking yourself existential questions like:

  • Am I too old to go back to school?
  • Am I smart enough?
  • Am I disciplined enough to follow through?

However, it gave me comfort to know that I wouldn’t be alone. I’d have my family, my friends, my professors, and my fellow students there with me.

I had also realized the actions that elicit the type of fear I was experiencing are often the most important actions for us to seek out, and for us to take.

For, we don’t grow as individuals despite the battles that we fight, we grow because of them.

The first class I enrolled in was an intro to business class. A class whose credits will not transfer, and yet, the class that would ultimately prove most influential to my time here at Front Range.

It was there that I was encouraged to join the leadership team of the Chamber Student Network, a student-led community organization whose purpose it is to bring students and local business and government leaders together. But mainly, what we offered students were the skills involved in just speaking to people; the essential building blocks in creating relationships.

It was during my time in this group that I realized not only the determination and resiliency of our students here but also the eager willingness with which the Longmont community as a whole sought to support us—and, further, how important each of our individual communities can be to our successes.

Community is special in the way that it seems to violate one of the most basic laws of nature. We’re taught that every action has an equal and opposite reaction. What I have experienced, however, is that the energy you invest into helping and supporting those around you—every instance in which you work with others in building something greater than you could have ever done alone—your efforts are so often repaid ten-fold.

Today, we graduate due in no small part to the support of our communities.

I ask all of you today to recognize that fact—not to take away from your immense individual efforts—but in the hope that when the opportunity arises, you will be the community that someone else may rely on.

Congratulations, Class of 2022.

I can say with confidence that not only will we continue to persevere. We will flourish—and we will continue to make our communities proud.                 

Thank you.

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