Valedictory Speakers

Kastl, Chris

President Wright, members of the board of trustees, faculty, students, families, and guests.

Aloha and good evening.

I am honored to have been selected HPU Satellite campus valedictory speaker for the summer 2001 graduating class.

First I would like to recognize my wife, Mary Ellen, and my daughter, Elise, who have been my inspiration. I would also recognize the people with whom I work, for all they have endured: the midterms, the finals, and deadlines to get a paper or project in on time. The people at the Pearl Harbor satellite office have also been a great help, thank you all.

Tonight many of us gather here to celebrate the realization of one of our dreams. For me receiving a college degree has been a long time dream. After graduating high school I was not afforded the opportunity to attend college, instead I joined the United States Navy. Putting my dream on hold while duty and personal commitments prevented me from attending classes, I was finally able to start school 17 years later. It seemed a long road when I started, but my standing here tonight proves if you never give up on your dreams they can be realized. I would now like to share some thoughts by an unknown author.

Never give up on your dreams.

"People who go to college are incredible. We go to classes.
We read and absorb and are comprehensively tested on heavy amounts of various materials.
We sleep very little.

We think often of the past and want to go back.
We know we cannot, and soon we won't want to.
We all had separate lives, families, backgrounds and pasts.
We are frustrated and sometimes want to give up, but we never stop trying, and our friends won't let us.

We are forced to think about the future. We are scared and confused.
We reach out for things, yet we don't find them.
We try to sort out our minds, which are filled with studies, worries, problems, memories, and emotions.

We keep going, though, because above all else, we never stop learning, growing, changing, and most importantly, dreaming.
Dreams keep us going and they always will."

Never give up on your dreams.

As we leave here tonight to go about our lives, we may dream of continuing our education, of improving our career positions or achieving other personal goals. We know, as someone once said "Achievement requires more than a vision -- it takes tenacity."

Finally, to quote Dr. Seuss, "Congratulations! Today is your day. You're off to great places! You're off and away."

Mahalo, Nui loa.