Graduation Speech - Kelly Grenier

Many times in our lives, we find ourselves waiting on the shore for the dawn to come, waiting in the safety of a familiar harbor for that moment when the sun breaks the darkness. We can then marvel at its splendor, finding comfort in its light. Watching the spectacle of the sunrise, it seems easy to challenge the night; it appears to be simple to rise against the horizon.

You see, a wise person, whose name has been lost to the sands of time, once said:
A ship may be safe in the harbor, but that is not what ships were built for

When looking at the KCTCS logo, the symbol seems to portray a new sunrise dawning over the Commonwealth of Kentucky. Its rays are reaching into every corner of the Bluegrass State, lighting everything from the western plains to the eastern foothills of the Appalachian Mountains. A sunrise was indeed an interesting and fitting choice for KCTCS. For as time has told, the sunrise is a symbol that to many cultures is synonymous with new life, and new life is exactly what KCTCS is bringing to Kentucky.

Many of us entered the KCTCS program feeling as though we were walking in the dark, perhaps lacking the courage or the faith in ourselves to continue and even needing encouragement to change our futures. Through KCTCS, we have dared to venture forth and become part of the new dawn. The interesting thing about a sunrise is that when you turn your face to the light, your shadow is cast behind you. Tonight, it can be said, that each of us here has turned our face to the sun. We have found a way to turn away from our shadows and have joined the light on the horizon. No one here tonight is still waiting in the harbor for the light; KCTCS was right, the dawn has come.

For me, Maysville Community and Technical College provided opportunities that I would not have found elsewhere. My journey started here as a junior in high school when I began taking dual credit courses. I enjoyed the warm personal atmosphere the campuses offered and the small classroom size that invited discussion. I enjoyed the way the courses were designed; it was up to the student to get the most out of the course. I respected my professors and the knowledge I gained. I found my fellow students to be resilient, capable of balancing the burden of working their way through school and caring for their families. I enjoyed the variety of classes I took as it helped me recognize my interests and my future major.

After high school, I had planned to go to a state university. However, I did not. One could attribute this to hard economic times, to the impersonal atmosphere of a larger university, or to the fact that I grew to appreciate my community college. Whatever the reason, I stayed and earned my Associates Degree. By receiving this two-year degree, I have an educational stepping stone that no one can ever take away.

I had never been one to believe that college would change me, but, in a way it has changed all of us. The students leaving MCTC leave with a well-rounded education. I did not realize how true this was until this past term. It was during a class discussion that I realized that I too had become a better student. I was no longer arguing my own viewpoint because it felt right. Instead, I was able to present a well thought-out argument because I had studied and learned the environmental, political, sociological, and psychological implications the idea could have. It was then that I was thankful for the instructors I had had at our community college.

In summary, may I say sunrises are a powerful symbol; however, they only bring the promise of a new day, a promise of new opportunities. It is up to us to decide how to use them. Many here tonight are already beginning a new life while others are preparing to go on to a four-year institution. Whatever you choose and wherever your path takes you, keep your face toward the sun, be willing to test the waters, dont be afraid of shadows, and remember what you have learned through the KCTCS experience; I know I will.