Good afternoon ladies and gentlemen. I feel honored to have the opportunity to address you today. As I look out into the crowd before me, I sense a wave of emotions from everyone present. For family and friends, the sense of pride you have in your graduate’s accomplishments is immeasurable. You parents have a sense of joy in knowing that the child you have raised earned a leadership diploma. Brothers and sisters have gained a whole new sense of respect for the person who was your best friend growing up, or even your worst enemy. But nothing can top the feelings that we graduates have right now. It’s amazing how fast time flies fast. Only two years ago we began our orientation. That day, graduation seemed far away, and the next two years seemed fresh and new. It was the first time all of us were going to sit in an online class, I believe. I remember us writing our bio’s, this was one of the first things we did to test our computer skills as this is key to online schooling.
I would like you to shut your eyes and picture this, you have won a chance to travel to a new country, a new city. You have your bags packed, your passport at hand, you are ready to begin the new journey. All you were offered was a plane
ticket and a little bit of cash to maneuver everything else is upon you to figure out. Where to sleep, what to eat and places to visit places to visit. When you arrive you find yourself lost, the inhabitants speak a different language, and you can’t even read the road signs because the language is foreign. Everything seems so far away from reach, you feel lost. Crazy ah! This was the feeling I had when I first joined Hope School. What was familiar to me was sitting in a classroom with a teacher in front of me and my fellow students around me.
I am thankful to the hope school administration because they provided the right tools to bring a ray of light to my wondering spirit. I found learning materials readily available and anytime I needed help it was only a phone call away. This helped reduced the uncertainty and anxiety that I felt. The motivation you provided in the little encouragements you gave in my inbox and the gifts that came weekly for best performing students provided a good push to keep me going.
Going through the courses has helped me develop some outside classroom skills. These include; patience, self-discipline and meeting deadlines. I cannot begin to list the heap of knowledge I have gained from the material learned in leadership. I have come to realize that leadership is more than a title and being the head of a project or an organization. Christian centered leadership is the new wave, the graduates sitting here today will prove that as they step out and show what leadership is all about. As followers of Christ our duty is to mirror Him in all that we do. Leaders are in a place of influence, I do not see a better position to do that in a big way other than to be leader who leads like Him.
I have to mention that this opportunity came just at the right time, a time when we had all those who could grab the chance to study here, people willing to face the unknown territory of online learning and finish the race strong. You did that and yes, you should be proud of yourselves. I would like to thank everyone who has given their time, expertise and resources to see that hope school is running. I may not know who you are but I am deeply grateful.
To the teachers, thank you for not giving up on us when we showed signs of being weary. You kept cheering us on and offering help whenever needed. Thank you for grading our assignments on time and providing relevant materials.
To the students, you have made it. You must have done something right. It is always easy to start something, sticking with it is the challenge. We experienced some hard times, I know. Most of us are working but we didn’t let that stop us from giving studies 100%. Someone once said “never be afraid of something new; remember amateurs built the ark, professionals built the titanic.” This is a new way of learning but we have seen it to the end.
Although we are all very excited at this moment to be finished with a chapter in our lives, that same fear we felt as beginners still looms in our stomachs. The fear of the unknown, the fear of failure, the fear of the future. To quote Marianne Williamson, Social activist and founder of peace alliance and meals on wheels:
"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be?" We all have the capacity of doing something great. We have already proven that through our attendance here today. Don’t ever underestimate the power we have to be successful. And don’t ever take for granted the opportunities we have been given.
Hope School Class of 2015, let’s show the world what it means to be a servant leader.