Valedictory Speakers

DeMonico, Lawrence Alexander

President Wright, Chairman Aull, Members of the Board of Trustees, Faculty, Students, Families, and Guests. Good evening...

Fate, or Free Will, it's an age-old controversial topic. Were you predestined to sit here, or did you make numerous conscience decisions in order to walk across this stage tonight and receive your degree.

I was born February 18, 1975 in Houston, Texas. I immediately began a reign of terror across the state. I was, that little troublemaker that you knew, but loved. Daily my teachers would tell me that I needed to stay out of trouble and live up to my potential, but at that point in my life I barely understood the word potential and didn't have a clue how to keep myself out of the principals office. I just liked to have a good time, and sometimes, maybe too good of a time. School was never difficult for me, but graduating high school wasn't a simple task. I had no idea what it was to dedicate or apply myself to anything. School was more of a place for me to socialize than it was for me to learn. My daily routine consisted of waking up and calling the surf report, heading to the beach, and if I was lucky making it to school by lunchtime. I had always planned on going to college, but when the time came my parents were not going to foot the bill. How could I blame them after my performance in high school? I played around the summer after graduation and then finally came to the realization that my parents really weren't going to let me waste my time and their money fooling around in college. After doing some serious soul searching I decided to join the Navy. I haggled with my recruiter for weeks, but when it was all said and done I had the G. I. Bill and The Navy College Fund to financially assist me with my educational endeavors.

It is still hard for me to believe, but here I am graduating with all of you tonight. Was it fate, or free will that brought me to this point? Well, as most things in life have a gray area, I believe this one does too. We are at what I believe to be the most crucial turning point of our lives. I have heard a lot of talk about being on easy street now that we have graduated, but I believe just the opposite. Now is the time to make your dreams come true. Don't leave it up to fate. Hawai'i Pacific University has provided us all with the means, but it is up to each and every one of us to make it happen for ourselves. It seems like everyone has a degree these days. That isn't going to be what sets you apart from the rest of your peers. You need to consciously make that decision for yourself. It is about motivation, dedication, persistence, and sacrifice. If you bring those four cards to the table along with a will to succeed, no one can stop you. I am not saying it is going to be easy. In fact, it is probably going to be one of the greatest challenges of our lives, but if there is only one thing I want you to remember when you leave here tonight it is this. If things ever get too bad, you can always, always turn, to Prozac...Just a little psych humor, but all jokes aside, no one is going to hand you anything. You're going to have to work for it. As Thomas Jefferson once said, and I quote, " I'm a firm believer in luck, and I've found the harder I work, the luckier I get".

Thank you.