Amanda at the graduation podium

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.

During our graduation ceremonies, we get to hear from some of these students, as well as an FRCC professor who’s had an impact on our students. We call them our “Voices.” This Spring, were sharing several of their speeches with you here.

We hope you learn something worthwhile from each our our graduation voices.

Amanda Odom, Master Teacher

Hello, Front Range Community College graduates.

Congratulations are in order today! My name is Amanda Odom, and I am one of the Master Teachers for 2022. It is a pleasure to look out at this crowd and see so many who have achieved so much.

Alongside you I see many of your friends, family members, and neighbors who cheer you on in your success. Whether or not they can be here at this moment, know that you have many who share in your joy.

Reaching a Goal

Today, you have taken a step forward in your lives. You have completed a goal that builds upon a larger one. For some, you will be moving on to four-year universities. Others will be stepping into the next stage of their career paths.

Beyond that are other plans, other moments of your lives, and you have directly shaped what comes next for you in positive and affirming ways by your investment in your degrees and certificates here.

Growing and Learning

I am reminded of my sister and of myself, first-generation college students in our immediate family. Today, I am in education and she, having earned her degree in nursing, works on cancer studies around the country.

As a teacher for over two decades, I have learned so much from my colleagues and from my students about empathy and respect and becoming part of something more important than myself, part of a far larger community.  

This is because all of us have the ability to grow, to enlarge the scope of our own lives, and we see that in our successes. We also have the ability to buildwith each of our actions, we are setting in place the foundations of the world we wish to create.

Being a Good Neighbor

Over a hundred years ago now, American philosopher Henry David Thoreau was famously “desirous of being a good neighbor.”     

Decades beyond that, beloved American television host Mr. Fred Rogers said, “All of us, at some time or other, need help. Whether we’re giving or receiving help, each one of us has something valuable to bring to this world. That’s one of the things that connects us as neighbors.”  

Moving Forward

Thank you for extending your hand to accept help and to offer help when others needed you in your journeys. To be a good neighbor is to engage in a fellowship, to work with hand and heart toward our common dreams. We are all better when this happens, and that goal and that responsibility does not end with today’s victory.

Be proud of yourselves today, peers. Be proud for what you have done in your own lives and for what you are adding to your neighborhoods, your communities, and to our world.

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