de Oliveira, Ticiane
Thank you. I am humbled by your kind introduction Vice President Cyborn.
President Wright, Board of Trustees, Faculty and Staff, distinguished guests, family, and my fellow graduates: ALOHA and good evening. I am honored to be here representing my graduating brothers and sisters from all branches of the military, their family members and Veterans.
Yes, I am from Brazil, proud of my roots and even prouder to have become an American citizen. I moved to Boston as a teenager with high hopes and dreams. I faced many challenges as an immigrant, and I am very blessed to have found my American family and mentors Mac and Paula Ward. One of the most important things that Mac and Paula taught me was to not allow bad circumstances shape the course of my life. Mac always told me “worry is lack of faith, Ticiane”. With tough love, he built me up to be strong, only for me to find out that he was preparing me to answer the call of service to our country. Now, I am here thanking the Lord for having the opportunity to share this beautiful accomplishment with so many talented men and women that have also gone through extraordinary circumstances.
Military Campus Programs Class of 2010, like all college graduates, stands ready to take on bigger challenges. My talk this evening would not be complete if I did not paint a picture for YOU of the extraordinary circumstances that WE 250 Service Members and families, endured to be here tonight. Walking dangerous patrol routes in war torn countries, standing hours on guard duty on land, sea, and in the air; working 12 hours a day, 7 days a week in a war zone, and then going to school in our “SPARE TIME”, WHAT a big deal it is for us to be here tonight!
And now we look to the future. The current global requires us to make great sacrifices. President Ronald Reagan’s 1981Inaugural Speech was so powerful that it is as current today as it was back then when he told us “to believe in ourselves and to believe in our capacity to perform great deeds, to believe that together with God's help we CAN and WILL resolve the problems, which now confront us. We are Americans”. As I give you my valediction this evening, I implore you, do not make this earned degree just some piece of paper on the wall, go out there and continue to make a difference! I task you AND MYSELF to use our resources and talents to be solution oriented. Our Nation and the world need us!
I wish to acknowledge my Marine Corps Family that gave me the opportunity to be successful, especially Colonel Blanchard. I thank the Hawaii Pacific University faculty, Kim Allen and Shannon Job, my two MCP counselors. Everyone at HPU was extremely encouraging, supportive and flexible while ensuring that I had all the tools to finish my classes and keep going even when I was deployed. If it weren’t for them I would not be here tonight. I thank my family, Mac and Paula Ward, whose love and strong encouragement comforted me during my darkest times. I thank my 2 sisters and my best friends Janey Lau and Nayelli Cisneros for making me laugh and helping me keep a positive attitude. Finally, I thank my mother. Ten years ago she endured long hours at the embassy in Sao Paulo to make sure I got a visa to come to the United States. She wanted me to have a shot at the American Dream. Mae, eu te amo muito!
Agora e hora de festejar!!! Which means in Portuguese, let’s celebrate!!!
Thank you and God Bless America