P-SPAN #683: Peralta College International Students 2019 Graduation

P-SPAN #683: Peralta College International Students 2019 Graduation

August 26, 2019 0 By Stanley Isaacs


[MUSIC PLAYING] Tonight, we are here to honor,
celebrate, and recognize the scholastic and extra
curricular accomplishments that you, our
international students, have made over
the last few years at the Peralta Community
College District. To celebrate, we have a
wonderful evening planned for you tonight,
including salutations and well wishes from the
Berkeley City College president, Dr. Rowena Tomaneng
Laney College president, Dr. Temmeil Gilkerson associate
vice chancellor, Dr. Deborah Jones, and the director of
international education, Thomas Torres Gil. Also prepare yourself for
the inevitably powerful presentations from our
accomplished valedictorian Mubarak Caroona, and
salutatorian Meral Mlai. Like I said, we have
a power-packed hour of honors, laughs,
and tears as we celebrate this bittersweet
occasion of saying goodbye, until next time,
and congratulations. Without further
introductions, I would like to invite our first
honored speaker, president of Berkeley City College,
Dr. Rowena Tomaneng. [APPLAUSE] ROWENA TOMANENG:
Thank you, and welcome to Berkeley City College. I’m very happy to be hosting
our second annual celebration of our graduates, so
congratulations to all of you on behalf of our BCC community,
our faculty, our staff, and our administrators,
in addition to our sister colleges. I know Dr. Gilkerson will
be giving a greeting, but this is also on
behalf of President Tim Charisse from College of
Alameda and Dr. Marie Elaine Burns from Merritt College. So we are very excited to
be celebrating you today and all of the
accomplishments that you’ve achieved in your
academic journey here with the Peralta colleges. As a first generation
immigrant from the Philippines, I have a window to
some of the experiences that you’ve had after
leaving your home country to study in America. Culture shock, missing
your family and friends back home, the anxiety
of making new friends and finding community
here in the United States. And most importantly, pursuing
your academic learning in another language. So we applaud you for all
of those accomplishments. [APPLAUSE] We applaud you for achieving
in these conditions. We also know that
as you transfer, you are going to have continued
success in your transfer institution. And so to just keep
this very short, I’d like to close with
a quote from an author, George Saunders,
who said, quote, “Err in the direction
of kindness. Do those things that incline
you toward the big questions, and avoid the things
that would reduce you and make you trivial. That luminous part of you that
exists beyond personality, your soul, if you will,
is as bright and shining as any that has ever been.” So with that,
congratulations enjoy the rest of the program and
also the celebration afterwards. [APPLAUSE] SPEAKER 1: Thank you,
president Tomaneng. We all appreciate
your leadership here at Berkeley City College. Next, I would like to welcome
associate vice chancellor, Dr. Deborah Jones,
speaking on behalf of vice chancellor of academic
affairs, Dr. Siri Brown. Please welcome
Dr. Deborah Jones. [APPLAUSE] DEBORAH JONES: Thank you. Welcome students,
friends, families. What an honor it is
for me to be here and an even greater
honor for you to be here. You have had to persevere,
you’ve gone through struggles, you’ve gone through good times. One of the things in my
life that got me where I am is that I had mentors, mentors
who didn’t look like me, mentors who aren’t doing
the same things I’m doing, but people who could tell me
and give me feedback and lead and guide. You have come a long way. And I’m going to ask
you, as you leave this journey in this chapter
of your life, please reach out and be a mentor to someone else. You’ve earned that, to be a
mentor, to take their hand and lead them on the journey. I bring you greetings from Dr.
Siri Brown, who most of you know, and from chancellor White,
who could not be here today. They express their gratitude and
their congratulations to you. Thank you. SPEAKER 1: Thank you, Dr. Jones. Next we have a special video
greeting from Laney president, Tammeil Gilkerson. TAMMEIL GILKERSON: On behalf
of the faculty, class, professionals,
and administrators here at the Laney
Colleg, I just wanted to take a second
to congratulate you on your incredible
accomplishments and on this
momentous graduation. We are so honored that
you’ve chosen the Laney College and the colleges of
the Peralta Community College district to share
your academic journey. I have no doubt that you
will be successful in all of your future endeavors, and
wish you nothing but the best. Congratulations, class of 2019. [APPLAUSE] SPEAKER 1: Our next
special speaker earned the honor of salutatoian
due to her academic excellence, extra curricular involvement,
and student leadership. From Mongolia, please
welcome Meral Mlai. [APPLAUSE] MERAL MLAI: Hello. Fellow classmates, today is
an important day in our lives. As we get a day to celebrate
our college graduation, we’ll leave this
beautiful campus and receive into the next
chapter of our lives, of our journey. I want to congratulate you all. I came here two years ago. I think the first semester
was the hardest one. I got homesickness,
culture shock, and some language problems. I think you all experienced it. But from second
semester, I started to communicate with
Mongolian students and we created Mongolian
Heritage Club at PCC. [APPLAUSE] Our goal was to make
strong community at PCC, and I think we made it. Today, five Mongolian
students are transferring to UC Berkeley,
and more than 10 transfer into UCS schools. [APPLAUSE] Also, I really want to
thank my family, my parents, for huge support that they gave
to me, and also my friends, really, my best roommate Anno,
who supported me all this time. And I want to thank Laney
Architecture Department. They taught me architecture
from the bottom and now I’m transferring
to UC Berkeley. [APPLAUSE] Big thank to a Laney
Architecture Department, I’ll say that, and to
international offers and to you was as
first counselor here, and I really appreciate it. So thank you all and
congratulations for class 2019. Good luck on your next journey. [APPLAUSE] SPEAKER 1: Thank you, Meral. We are so proud of you and your
many, many accomplishments. Our next honorary guest
joins us from Nigeria. He is not simply a 4.0
GPA student athlete, philanthropist, honor society
member, academic tutor, or non-profit organizer,
Mubarak Caroona is also your 2019 international
class valedictorian. Please give Mubarak a
big round of applause as he approaches the podium. [APPLAUSE] MUBARAK CAROONA: The
chairman of this occasion, Berkeley City College president
doctor Rowean Tomaneng, director of
international education, administrators, faculty,
students, friends, family, guests, graduating class of
2019, ladies and gentlemen, good evening and
welcome to the 2019 Peralta international students
graduation award ceremony. This is a very special
occasion for us. As I look 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
graduates’ accomplishments is immeasurable. Our parents here today
have a sense of joy in knowing that a
child they have raised has completed a huge step in
their educational journey. Our professors are feeling
on top of the world right now, as the students are
ready to take on the world. However, nothing
can stop the ecstasy of our wonderful
graduates right now. You should feel
proud and fulfilled. Please let’s give ourselves
around of applause. [APPLAUSE] Being the valedictorian
is truly an honor and absolute privilege. I’d like to thank [INAUDIBLE]
for giving me this opportunity to speak tonight, as without
him nothing is possible. In writing this
speech, I honestly didn’t know where to start. I wondered what
right does having the highest GPA in our class
give me to tell you what to do. In my opinion,
none because grades don’t equal life experiences. I believe we are all
worthy to valedictorians due to our phenomenal
accomplishments and personal stories. The origin of the
word valedictorian is the Latin word “valedicere,”
which means bid farewell. So in my farewell
speech, I’ll be telling you about my
experiences at Peralta, thanking those who
helped me along the way, and sharing some advice for
the future with you all. It was the inaugural day
of the 2017 fall semester when I stepped foot on the
beautiful campus of Merritt College. I was so enthusiastic to
begin my college experience and looked forward
to taking advantage of studying at one
of the best community colleges in California. I just couldn’t wait
to make memories here. As I was getting ready to
step into my first class, I received an unheralded
call from the Peralta international student office. In a nutshell, I was told
I couldn’t take any classes towards my major because
I was on a tourist visa and had to go back
to my home country to apply for a student visa. I was devastated. This news broke my heart
and took a huge toll on my self-esteem because I
had so many exciting plans for the academic session. Upon hearing the news, I
gathered up some courage and immediately relayed my
predicament to my parents. My counselor advised me to
take some electives to remain eligible to play soccer,
but unfortunately, when my visa status
was close to expiring, I had to travel back to Nigeria
to avoid breaking any rules. As I flew back, I didn’t
know what to expect, but my undying faith in God
and support from my family pulled me through this
unfortunate circumstance. Growing up, my father
told me the secret to life is prayers and hard
work, speak to God and everything will be OK. I’ve held these words deep in
my heart and made it my mantra. I prayed fervently
to God to blessed me to overcome this tribulation. He gave me the confidence
to ace my interview and made me believe that
with every disappointment there’s greater
success forthcoming. I’ve now realized everything
happens in God’s time, and without him, I wouldn’t
be the successful student athlete I am today. Throughout my time
at Peralta colleges, I’ve always been passionate
about helping others. In my mind, the
success of one person is the success of everyone. I derive joy from helping
others achieve their goals. As a tutor at the Merritt
College Learning Center, I’ve shared all of myself,
knowledge, emotions, passion, experiences with every
student I come across. I affirm that education is the
golden key to a better world, therefore, I enjoy igniting
students passion for learning. I want to see them Excel
in their academic endeavors so they can
contribute to bringing a positive change to our world. I quote Malcolm X
who said, education is the passport for the future,
for tomorrow belongs to those who prepare for it today. Despite the numerous
challenges and obstacles our students face on a daily
basis, they never give in. I am inspired by the grit and
determination of all Peralta students, who show that in
order to accomplish their goals, they have to work hard. In class, I see single
mothers, disabled students, grandparents, high school
students, and students from all over the
world who are all striving to better their
lives, become heroes in their communities,
which they already are, and share their voices
with the entire world. To be in the presence of such
distinguished and diverse students is always
heartwarming for me. In them, I see future world
leaders, doctors, lawyers, scientists, civil
rights activists, professional athletes,
and most of all, humans that want to
be the change that we all desperately need. At Peralta, regardless of race,
religion, culture, or creed, we’re all family. In my 20 years of
life on this earth I’ve never been
in a school system with a kind of
hospitality, kindness, and genuinely good people
that these colleges have. The focus and resources
this community dedicates to the hardships outside
a person’s own bubble is outstanding. Before the words “I need help”
are uttered by a student, someone is happily waiting
in a corner, always readily available to assist. There’s tremendous support
from all faculty and students throughout the four colleges. All the professors collectively
speak in one voice saying, we all just want to see
our students succeed. There is no other professor
than my highly distinguished instructor, Mrs.
Susan Andrean, who speaks loudest in this tone. She has been so
wonderful and dear to me. Professor Andrean has
taught me the importance of believing in orders and
being confident in my abilities. Whenever I see her, she
is always telling someone about how I help fellow
classmates during a group presentation to find their voice
and make them feel comfortable, although they aren’t
natural English speakers. I usually don’t smile
often, but anytime I get a glimpse of Susan,
my face lights up and I give it the
biggest hug, like Barney gives little children. Professor Andrean, you taught
me the virtue of patience and to be true to
myself, that no matter what anyone else thinks, that
I should always be myself. And for that, I’m
eternally grateful to you. I want to use this
special occasion to spotlight one of my favorite
tutees, Sierra Peterson. Sierra is only 11 years old and
the youngest student at Peralta colleges. The first time I met
Sierra and her mom was on an assessment test
day for new students. Mrs. Petersen is one of the
most supportive mothers I’ve had the pleasure of knowing. She believes so much
in her gifted prodigy and supports her
with everything she needs to be successful, not
that Sierra needs it anyways. Because whenever I critique
her English papers, I’m astounded by her
excellent command of the language, high
level use of vocabulary, and excellent linguistic skills. Little Miss Peterson is a
genius and has taught us that you are never too young
or too old to dream big or make a difference. In the classroom,
priceless moments were shared, especially
with Professor Bill Goins, witty jokes and funny accents. Fred, as he is
loved to be called, has the most shocking
laughter which makes the students go
into a comic frenzy whenever he spills his
infamous wisecrackers. Professor Kennedy’s
light jog to the back of his desk after being asked
the problem question he doesn’t have the answer to is always
a cause for amusement. It is as though he finds he is
Einstein in that exact position as he browses his notes
to find his answers. The most notable of all is
Professor [INAUDIBLE] Park, whose world-renowned
quote, this problem for 10 points on the exam is OK, in
this precise Korean accent can be very heard after
explaining a grueling calculus problem on the board, or his
usual warning statement, when you take your
girlfriend on a date, before she says I love you,
you say, hold on a minute, minute, what is the derivative
of e to the x over x squared? To remind us to study for
the exam the following week. All our professors are
wonderful and truly unique in their own way. When I’m not attending class,
studying in the library, or tutoring in the
learning center, you’ll find me happily dribbling
a ball in the soccer stadium. Soccer serves as a cure to
all my worries, troubles, and stress. I’ve been taught often that
I’m too serious, a nerd, and I don’t know how to have
fun by my counselors, friends, co-workers, and
even my siblings. But when playing football,
I find my happiness and enjoy myself to the fullest. Merritt College has
given me the platform to showcase my talents
by pointing me captain of the men’s soccer team. Over the past year,
I’ve thoroughly enjoyed all the magical moments
on the pitch and the pleasure of winning the conference
title last fall, which was our first
title in five years. I’d like to extend
my sincere gratitude to coach Agger and his
team for constantly pushing me to be the best, and my
team for their professionalism and dedication to succeed. At this point in my speech,
I remember my amiable friend from high school, Tufumiko
Bdui, who left me astonished. We were in our high
school graduation when he made half of his
valedictory speech about me. Little did he know that
he was my role model. Tufumi is the most
intelligent student I’ve had the honor of
studying with in academia. His humility and education
to his academic pursuits is what motivated me to
work hard and be determined to make my dreams a reality. I’ve imagined this moment
for the past three years, while I praise him for his work
for his outstanding character, visionary mindset, and
compassionate nature. I shall never forget
his words, never let anything, anyone,
or any circumstance come in the way of doing
what you love. I implore you, class of 2019,
to keep focused, be positive, believe in yourself
and your abilities, have a good support system,
and actively seek out ways to help others. Be thankful for what
you have, never compare yourself, and most importantly,
trust God and have faith. In our quest for success,
it’s the simplest things we take for granted
that really matters, like being a person
of integrity, a good parent, a trusted
friend, for these have become priceless
attributes in our society today. Life will throw you
curveballs, and will attempt to break you down. Nothing may happen
exactly as you planned, just when you think things
are starting to turn around, life smack may smack you
back down, but don’t despair. You get disappointed,
but don’t be discouraged. Life is a constant struggle
with extreme lows and highs. That’s why it’s crucial
to always build in failure and use it as a stepping stone. Visualize the end
result, but don’t only focus on the destination,
enjoy the journey. Make a conscious
decision to be happy now, speak positive
affirmations, be patient, and don’t worry. Always let preserve,
determination, courage, and hope be the fellows that
company you on your journey. Keep trying, keep
reaching, keep dreaming. You never know what’s
around the corner. Like Harriet Stowe
said, never give up, for that is just the place and
the time that the tide will turn. My speech would
be incomplete if I don’t take our
time to appreciate some key figures in my life. I want to personally thank
Mrs. Merril Mouse, who has served as a mother to me. Thank you for always
being there in my life and always looking
out for me, you always made me feel special
and encouraged me all along the way. I would also like to
thank Mr. [INAUDIBLE],, Dr. Sadiq Ikharo, Mr. Suleyman
Mousa and Mr. Saladin Bremer for serving as father
figures in my life. Thank you for your
advice, protection, and for pushing me
beyond my limits. I treasure your unconditional
love and support, and I hope I made you proud. Also, thank you to my
guardian, Miss [INAUDIBLE],, for giving your home
and heart to me. I sincerely appreciate you. To my parents, Mr. and
Mrs. Abubaka Caroona, thank you for instilling me with
a strong passion for learning and for doing everything
possible to put me on the path to greatness. I’ll never forget
the important values you have passed down to me. Words cannot describe how
important you are to me. I want to implore my dear
outgoing students to always see yourselves as good
ambassadors of this college and never allowed
selfish interests to blemish the
integrity you have nurtured over the years
in this great college. Be kind and good to people
you meet on your way up. Allow the words of God guide
you as you journey to greatness. Think big thoughts and
be optimistic in whatever you’re doing. On behalf of the Peralta
Community College District, I bid you farewell and wish
you best of luck in your days ahead. May god bless you all. Congratulations, class of 2019. Thank you very much. [APPLAUSE] SPEAKER 1: Thank you, Mubarak. We are humbled and inspired
by your consistent pursuit of excellence. Well done. Our next speaker is no stranger
to the Office of International Education, with over a decade
of international education experience,
managerial leadership, student service, and the founder
and creator of the graduation award ceremony, please
welcome the director of international education,
Thomas Torres Gil. [APPLAUSE] THOMAS TORRES GIL:
Congratulations, class of 2019. Come on, you guys. Congratulations class of 2019. There you go. [APPLAUSE] Welcome to our second annual
international graduation awards ceremony. It is a pleasure and
honor to be here. It’s also incredibly
challenging to follow both of those speeches. Please give it up to Caroona,
Mubarak, and also Meral. Thank you. Great. Congratulations to both of you. I’d like to thank each
and every one of you for agreeing to
be here tonight so that we may honor you and
your academic achievements. I understand that next
week is finals week and that this time is
incredibly precious for you to be studying and
preparing for your test. And we acknowledge that,
so thank you for your time. I’d also like to acknowledge the
guests, the friends and family, who traveled far and near
to be here to celebrate with their loved ones. Your continued support is
invaluable and at times unrecognized, and yet one of the
most important factors in each of our student success, as
you’ve also heard here tonight. So thank you to all of our
friends and family that are here tonight . [APPLAUSE] I’d also like to
acknowledge our students who were unable to get
to participate tonight, but who would have loved to
if not for class conflicts or other logistical challenges. I would like to note that
this event is being recorded, so feel free to share the
link to those who may not have been able to be here and
watch you walk across the stage later on as well. And lastly, I wanted
to take a moment to recognize some
of our staff, who are no longer in our office. I want to thank Kamisha
James, Celeste Davila. [APPLAUSE] [INAUDIBLE],, Mark Keys-Paye
for all of their hard work over the past year. Some of you may have
had the pleasure to meet them at some point. We were very fortunate to have
each of them work in our office and are dearly missed, so
thank you to all of you guys. But, of course,
our current staff, all the hard work
that each of us are still doing day to day,
from Drew Gephart, our services manager, to Mr.
Goldberg, who is still ushering in students, to
Myung Ling Cho, Na Lei, Carla David, Todd Shima, our
counselor who many of you have met with over the years. You guys are incredible. And, of course, Matthew Jones. I did not forget you. [APPLAUSE] Matthew Jones put on
this event and I’ll speak to that in just
a moment as well. And, of course, we cannot forget
our incredible peer advisors. You guys. Jess Saldane, Siaomi Lin,
Boller, Shashua, Jade, Asia. I’m sure I’m forgetting someone,
but you guys are incredible. Who did I forget? Raise your hand. Dasha. Lynn. I didn’t forget you, Lynn. Did I? I can’t forget you. So thank you guys all. Our office does a
lot of hard work and hopefully you may
not see all of it, so that way you can
focus on your journey. A year ago tomorrow, we held
our first international awards graduation ceremony
coordinated by Kamisha James. I couldn’t have anticipated
how beautiful, thoughtful, organized, and amazing
it would turn out to be. It definitely exceeded
my expectations and set the standard for
how this event should be orchestrated in the future. It also afforded
us the opportunity to improve, refine, and
build upon last year’s successful evening. Matthew Jones, as we all
know if we did not already, went to great lengths in
coordinating this large scale event. In years past, he also arranged
our international student proms. Some of those pictures were
on the slide show earlier. Who attended a prom in the past? Anyone? Where is Jade? I can’t see who that is. But where is Jade? I know Jade was there. There was a photo of me
doing poker with her. Tonight will be a
blending of the two, a formal recognition
of your accomplishments followed by a large scale
student-centered celebration. We also ask that you post to
social media with the hashtag #OIEGraduation19. [INAUDIBLE],, who
I did not forget to thank for her presence. He just started with
the iPad back there. She’s not ignoring
us, she is probably recording this as well. We’re trying to revamp
our social media, so we’re hoping to start it
off or kick it off tonight. At the celebration upstairs,
you’ll enjoy amazing food, play fun games, and
for basketball fans, you may also watch the Warriors. Go Dubs. I hope that all of you are
able to spend some time to relax, enjoy the
moment, and appreciate what you’ve accomplished. I know you have finals and are
hoping to prepare for those, but please take the night
for yourselves if you can. Last year I spoke
about perception and about international
students and the way that they may or may not
be present on a campus and the difficult
journeys you may have. As you transition into
jobs or into universities, you may not go noticed
as international students when you transition
to your universities or seek employment. And you can also watch that
because I was also recorded, if you’d like. So I will not speak
to that again. But I would like to speak
about two different things. Our stoles that you see up
here on the stage, as well as graduation customs
in the United States. And so what are stoles and
why do we have them here on the stage with us? Now, for me, stoles are
something a little bit obvious, but that’s because
when you’re immersed in a culture you tend to
take things for granted, you don’t really understand
the importance or symbolism or the meaning of them. And so I quickly googled
it to find out what are stoles really used for. And so at your
campus graduation, you will also see
students wearing stoles from their student
programs or those who had outstanding
academic achievements. And for me, the reason why we
have stoles to give out today is our way of acknowledging
our international students who fit both categories. As we handed out stoles last
year to some of our students, we were asked, why
didn’t I get one or why didn’t
everyone get a stole? I hadn’t realized that
during the graduation, we didn’t make it
clear what were the conditions that a student
would receive a stole. Last year, it was if
you had a certain GPA. And so some students
didn’t meet that GPA regardless of any other factor. This year, we identified
our honors students based on the college rules. So earning an associate
degree with a 3.29 GPA. Now, I don’t know if it’s 3.29
GPA in your associate degree coursework or combined. I know we do things
unclear at times still. But we also included
students who had a 3.75 GPA and met the transfer
requirements because we know our
students don’t all earn associate degrees. Certificate students were
not eligible for honors. But tonight– well,
why such a high GPA? For one, stoles are
kind of expensive. But in all seriousness,
this is a tough question. Maybe the GPA is too high? Maybe we should lower it? Maybe we will. But tonight, we thought
we’d like to get everyone a stole that’s graduating. We’d like for you to represent
our international program at your campus graduation next
week if you’re able to attend. So it’s not just for
our honors students, but it’s for all international
students graduating that are present here tonight. And so we hope that our
honor students keep and wear your stoles, as well
as all of our students at your campus graduation and
other graduations you may have. The design of these were
to have our office logo, but it’s actually
not our office logo, but it’s the globe
with the words hello in various languages. Our peer advisors, who
are working tonight, are wearing this shirt with
what it looks like on the back. You can’t quite make out the
words because it’s stitched on. And on the other side of it is
the campus logo for the campus where you earned your degree. We know we speak about the
Peralta Community College District, which is
not your campus, and you may not identify
with that specific place as you do your home campus
where you’re going to school and building your community. And so we’re happy to give
those stoles out tonight. So graduation customs. Customs and culture. So each orientation, if you’ve
gone to an orientation of ours in the last year or
so, I’ve typically presented on
cultures and customs. I’ve been on stage, running
around, acting crazy all day trying to run
around with the mic to catch each of you guys as well. And so I thought
I’d just maybe shed some light on some
graduation customs. And I encourage you to explore
and to look into them more. And correct me on any errors
that I will probably make. And the customs I wanted to
talk about that you may see are graduation robes,
walking across the stage, and the throwing of
the cap and gown. And I’ll be brief on this. And the graduation robes. You may have seen
this attire on TV. Dr. Jones had planned
on wearing hers today, which would have been
perfect because I would have had someone to showcase it. And this seems to be
pretty straightforward. But I also recommend
that if you have a friend who’s graduating
from another college, to borrow their robe and gown
and cap because they are really expensive even to rent. But graduation robes and colors
have very specific meanings. I learned that there is an
American Academic Costume Code that was established
in 1863 that helps define what these colors mean. If you’re a dentist,
your color is lilac. If you’re an economist,
you have copper. Are there any business
majors out here? Oh, come on. Don’t be shy. There you go. Thank you. Business majors, your color
is beige, or commonly referred to as drab, which ironically
means lacking brightness or interest, drearily dull. So, please. I believe the
philosophers helped create the code, just saying. So when you see
academics on stage, just understand that
there’s a reason for colors and the differences of attire. The lays. You guys know what lays are? Lays are the beautiful
flower arrangements that people will wear around. That’s actually borrowed
from the islands of Hawaii. And you can’t typically
go wrong if you’re doing something similar to Hawaii. Lays are given as gifts to be
worn by graduates at ceremonies and they’re fun and bright. So you’ll see lots
of lays around. They don’t have any
specific significance that I found, except to just
put some color on the robes. Walking across the stage,
as you may find tonight, we’re trying to
mirror some of what you may experience next week. We have the formal speakers,
we have the audience, we have the graduates
near the front. But when you come
across the stage, you should come up, shake
hands, receive your diploma– which by the way,
is not your diploma, it’s a piece of paper
with something about how to obtain your diploma later. They have to review that
you pass all your classes, it’s going to take three or four
months, then it’ll be printed. And if you return
home, let us know, we’ll help arrange
it to be sent to you. So it’s not your real diploma. If you’re an in-state
student, I think it’s actually your first
student loan payment. So, you know. But take a photograph and
then exit on the other side. Some students do
very funny things as they walk across the
stage, such as dance, so feel free to do
that tonight as well. Just remember we
are being filmed. But have fun. That’s your moment. So throwing the cap and gown,
feel free to decorate your cap. I’ve seen students write
messages, have pictures, make their cap fun. I wouldn’t recommend
that if you are renting your attire,
though, because you may not get your deposit back. But if you do own your cap,
feel free to decorate it. And at graduation, you
should have your tassel on your right side. What’s it the left–
no, it’s the right side. And at the end of
graduation, you’ll be instructed to
turn your tassel from the right to the left after
all graduates are recognized. This signifies the
completion of your degree and that you’ve reached the
finish line for Peralta, for your campus. But I have one more request. I would also ask that if you
see an international student walking across the stage,
clap and cheer for them. Most of our students are not
able to have family and friends visit for many
different reasons. We understand our
political conditions are making them more challenging
for students, families, friends, relatives to obtain
visas and enter the US. We also know how costly
it is for everyone to be able to attend. But clap for other
international students who might not have
family and friends present at the graduation. We have on our
program, if you notice on the inside, all
of our graduates from each of our campuses. All of them were
invited here, of course. We know not all of them
are able to make it. But those are the
names you could look for during your
graduation ceremonies. And we do encourage
you to attend. They’re fun, amazing
events that are here to celebrate and acknowledge
your accomplishments. And you may not know each
other, but you are all connected through
this shared experience of studying at our colleges
and earning a degree. There are many amazing
stories and family commentary from our speeches tonight. I think it was a very timely
quote from Malcolm X, given that tomorrow we are recognizing
a holiday for Malcolm X day, which I know is very
local to this area. Not many other places
recognize Malcolm X day, which is unfortunate, for
all that he fought for. And I encourage you each to
continue to have your story. I wish I could hear every
single one of your stories. This is what drives me to work
in international education and what’s kept me here
for the last 10 plus years. I studied abroad in Chile, it
was a life-changing experienc, and it was only one year. And so when I look at
the faces of our students who don’t study
for just one year but study English
for one year or more, then complete a degree here and
then move on to universities or to seek employment,
I commend you, and I’m in awe of all the
great things you guys do. And I’d love to hear
all of your stories. So congratulations
class of 2019, and looking forward to
hearing more of your stories after the event. Thank you. [APPLAUSE] SPEAKER 1: Thank you,
director Torres Gil. Your leadership is
inspiring and motivating, and it’s the reason
why we’re here. So we do appreciate you. Now, for the moment many of
you have been waiting for. It’s time to honor your
personal accomplishments. In just a moment, international
services manager Drew Gephardt and program manager
Michael Goldberg will invite our graduates
to approach the awards stage row by row. If I can have my
colleagues approach the stage at this time. Drew is going to invite you to
approach the stage row by row. And as you exit your row,
please pass your ceremony cards to Drew so that
we can honor you. After receiving your gift,
we have two gifts for you this evening, one is
a graduation stole, as director Torres
Gil pointed out, and the other one is a
custom congratulations class of 2019 pen. So once you receive
your awards, please cross the stage towards
Nale over there. You want to wave your hand Nale? And then you’ll sit back down. So without further ado,
I want to invite Drew to have the first row exit. OK. Our first student
is our salutatorian, Meral Mlai from Laney college,
majoring in architecture. She is an honor student
transferring to UC Berkeley. Meral Mlai. [APPLAUSE] Our next student is our
valedictorian, Mubarak Caroona from Merritt College. His home country is Nigeria. He was a computer science major. He is transferring to
Illinois Tech or Stanford. He’s also honors. Welcome, Mubarak Caroona. [APPLAUSE] Our next graduate is Aldane
Walters from Jamaica. Berkeley City College,
communications major, transferring to San
Francisco State. Give it up for Aldane Walters. [APPLAUSE] Our next graduate is
miss Ciomara Mendez de La Cruz, from Berkeley City
College, political science, graduating and
transferring to UC Berkeley as an honors student. Welcome. [APPLAUSE] Our next graduate is miss
Shu Lin Ho from Berkeley City College. From the home
country of China, she is a business administrative
major getting her AA degree, and she is also
graduating with honors. Welcome, miss Shu Lin. Congratulations. Our next graduate is miss
Satoko Takeda from Japan. She’s graduating
from Berkeley City College as an associate
degree in biology. She is also graduating
with honors. Welcome, miss Satoko. [APPLAUSE] Our next graduate is
miss Brenda Garcia. She is from Mexico in Berkeley
City College, web design major. Please welcome Ms Brenda Garcia. Congratulations. [APPLAUSE] Our next graduate is
Mr. Janette Campos from Berkeley City College. She comes from Colombia,
her major is business, she’s getting a degree, an
associate degree in business administration and economics. She’s transferring to East Bay. Please welcome
miss Janice Campos. [APPLAUSE] All right. And next graduate is miss
Anagen Sadinbal from Mongolia. She is a Berkeley
City College student studying global studies,
getting her associates degree for transfer, where she’ll be
transferring to UC San Diego. Welcome Anagen. Congratulations. [APPLAUSE] Our next graduate
is miss Lin Dwon. Lin is also one of
our peer advisors and she is from Vietnam. She goes to Laney college, she’s
graduating with an associate’s degree in business. Congratulations, miss Lin. [APPLAUSE] All right. Our next guest is Mr.
Calvin Evewiri from Nigeria. Laney College, architecture
and engineering, transferring to Cal or San
Francisco State University. Congratulations, Calvin. [APPLAUSE] OK. Our next graduate
is Mr. [INAUDIBLE].. I totally– I’m so sorry. I will buy you dinner tonight. [LAUGHTER] From Mongolia and
Berkeley City College, an associate degree
recipient in business. Congratulations. [APPLAUSE] Our next graduate is
miss Jing Lu from China, attending Berkeley City
College as an art major, getting her associate
of arts, transferring to San Jose State University. Congratulations. [APPLAUSE] And our next graduate is
miss Koto Sekai from Japan, attending Merritt College,
getting her associate degree of arts in child development. Congratulations. [APPLAUSE] And our next graduate is miss
Laura Mejia from Columbia. She attends the
College of Alameda. She’s graduating in a
certificate from the apparel design and
merchandising program. Give it up for miss Laura Mejia. [APPLAUSE] And our final graduate
of the evening is miss Ocariba Karuba from
Nigeria, attending Merritt College, with a certificate
of paralegal studies and honor student as well. Please welcome miss Ocariba. [APPLAUSE] Incredible accomplishments
all of you. Now, it’s true that none of
us have made it here tonight alone. Each of us have had loved ones,
family, friends, sponsors, counselors, administrators,
god, parents, siblings, providing support, paying,
praying, encouraging, keeping us accountable,
and loving us through this
adventure called life. Please take a few
moments to think about those individuals, whoever
and wherever they may be. With those wonderful
people in mind, I’m going to count to
three, and on three, I want you to give the greatest
praise, shouts, claps, applause to everyone,
including yourself, who helped you accomplish
your goals this evening. Are you ready? One, two, three. [APPLAUSE] Excellent. Thank you. Appreciation, praise, and honor
will take you far in life. Remember not to forget
how you got here. Gratitude is a
surprisingly powerful tool. Speaking of gratitude, I
want to personally thank all of our honored guest
speakers this evening. Thank you to President
Tomaneng, president Gilkerson, associate vice chancellor
Jones, director Torres Gil, our 2019 valedictorian Mubarak
Caroona, and salutatorian Meral Mlai. Thank you also to all the
incredible international staff and peer advisors who made
this evening possible. Thank you. I want to give a special thanks
to our peer adviser team. Once again, none of what we do
can happen without you, guys. So, sincerely, thank you. This evening, every day,
you guys help us stay sane, you help us love and serve
our students so well. I want to sincerely
thank all of you. If you’re a peer advisor, I
want to invite you to the stage, please. If you could stand and
come on up to the stage. We wanted to give you
a special thank you. They’re all upstairs setting up. We’ll acknowledge them. OK. Miss Seomi. Thank you so much, miss Seomi. [APPLAUSE] And miss Lin Dwon. Thank you. [APPLAUSE] And Mr. Aldane Walters. We love you, guys. We appreciate you, we are
going to so sincerely miss you. We’re going to take
a picture of you so we can remember you forever. OK. So before we conclude
tonight, please remember if you are
graduating this year, please attend your campus
specific commencement ceremony next week in your
graduation regalia, as Thomas described earlier. At the commencement
ceremony, you will receive your diploma, your
degree, or your certificate, whichever you applied for at
the beginning of the semester. As the awards ceremony
comes to a close, we’re going to take a
group photo with those who are graduating and
our peer advisors as well, so stick around for that. But our afterparty
is just beginning. Upstairs in the fifth
floor student lounge you’re going to take
the elevators up, you can turn right or
left, walk to the back, and you’re going to be greeted
with a nice dinner, some fun music, some fun games, and
the Warriors game, as well. But please enjoy this food. I can’t eat it all myself. I need help. I need all of you. This is a team effort. But if we can just give it
one last round of applause for all of our graduates. [APPLAUSE] And if you graduated or
you’re receiving an award, please come up to the
front for a group photo. [APPLAUSE] All right. Group photo time. [BACKGROUND CONVERSATIONS] [MUSIC PLAYING]