LaGuardia Community College ASAP Award Ceremony
April 12, 2010
Good Afternoon Students, Family, Friends, Faculty and Staff:
When I was at LaGuardia as an ASAP student, every awards ceremony, I admired those students that were our keynote speakers. I wanted to be like them, stand before other ASAP students and inspire them with my experience. When I began my academic career as an ASAP student I was not entirely sure what to expect or what I would gain after two years at LaGuardia. Yes, free metro cards, free books, free academic support, but was that it? Is that all ASAP was going to be? It truly wasn't. It was more, much, much more. During my first semester in ASAP, I was afraid. I didn't know anyone, I didn't know what it meant to be a college student.
I had no idea that ASAP would become my second family. My friends, the advisors, the staff. It was my family away from home. I know it sounds cliché, but it's the truth. They provided me with the confidence to achieve what I thought I couldn't, to challenge myself in a way I normally wouldn't. I felt like the possibilities of what I could achieve were countless. I've always been grateful for my family, for the support they've given me and to be surrounded in that same environment at school was simply a blessing.
My second year at LaGuardia I became a part of Phi Theta Kappa, the honor society. I served as the Communications officer. Being active in my academic journey was essential for me. It opened so many doors, I became aware of my potential not only as a student but as an individual. Getting involved doesn't only mean personal development, but it is a way of giving back to a specific community, whether it is your college campus or your neighborhood. At LaGuardia I was able to shine light on the issues Immigrant Students face, like lack of resources because of their undocumented status. I coordinated an event, "A Dream Deferred" that raised awareness about the Dream Act, a part of Immigration Reform. Alongside fellow students and staff who helped, I was able to collect around 2,000 signatures to send to Congress.
Sometimes as students, we underestimate our intelligence, our ability to succeed... We think that our efforts as individuals will make no difference in the world around us, but that's just not the case. When we believe, we succeed, when we take action, we accomplish. When students like me, like you, like all of us, take action and get involved, we create change. And with a family like those that surround you, your ASAP advisors, your friends and your family, there aren't any limits. ASAP provided me with the means to achieve what I wanted, moral support, academic support.
I was one of four students chosen to attend the ASAP Leadership Conference. There we attended workshops that allowed us to truly question and explore what it means to be a leader. When we think of a leader, we think of someone who's done something great, something big. But in reality, we're leaders everyday. Every action we take, every choice we make. A leader isn't someone who tells others what to do, but they are someone who inspires others to take action, to challenge themselves.
Conclusion: Take advantage of your resources. ASAP is more than a tool to succeed. It's a group of people who genuinely care, who will support you in your endeavors, so long as the effort and desire to be a better student exists within you. Talk to your friends, fellow students and professors, there are ways of getting involved, ways in which you can stand up for change, no matter how minimal, it's always the start to a journey that can bring nothing but growth and knowledge for you all. I wish you the best of luck, and again, Congratulations!