Valedictory Speakers

Vinke, Kira

Honorable President Wright, distinguished fellow graduates, dear guests.

We have walked a long way. We sang and danced together and cried and struggled. We climbed mountains and walls, saw the sun rise, but also found ourselves in the deepest valleys where there was no light, at least so it seemed. College years have proven to be tumultuous in many ways, no matter if we went far away from home, or stayed close to our loved ones to learn. Either way, we have traveled far.

Now we are here, graduating and facing new beginnings. What the future may hold is uncertain. Nevertheless, we can predetermine some of it for our own careers. We can chose our fights wisely, we can continue to be open to others, we can vow that we will stay with the standards which we set for ourselves. We should not let sorrows and disappointments lead our way, but rather the fact that we have risen above them.

I believe in determined idealism. In my career, I want to push an agenda that stands for peace and human rights in an uncompromising way. It is my hope that some of you will second this motion, so that my words may not be empty.

After this day our ways will part, some of us leave to dedicate their lives to help and cure others, some will continue their education, some will face new adventures, maybe on a different continent. There are also many who have not yet decided where to go and whose options are wide open. In any case, I am certain that we can face the challenges to come with much optimism and maybe some understanding for those who oppose us. Counter terror with justice. Face adversity with love.

Our education prepared us to make more considerate decisions. Here at HPU, we encountered many Professors who provided us with insight, advice and most importantly inspiration. Their enthusiasm and commitment to the student body is what makes Hawai'i Pacific University special.

The friendships we built in this truly international environment will carry us through many storms, and in my case already have done so in the past.

I want to thank those of you who have given me more affection, loyalty and support than I could have ever asked for. And those who have challenged me in my thoughts and views, who allowed me to grow and gave me a place to return to.

Last, I want to thank my parents. My mother, who is the strongest person I know and who has given me  the hope that I, like her, could have both one day, a splendid career and a happy family. My father, you are a hard act to follow, your never ending patience and deeply rooted kindness had a profound impact on me.

You both taught me that there is such a thing as unconditional love.

I stand here as a representative of HPU's undergraduate class of 2010. Let us be the dreamers of dreams, the movers and the shakers.

Thank you.