These programs help us to fulfill our mission of access and embody the life-changing claims that we make to our students. The transformative power of these programs is immense. Thank you to all who make these programs possible and for your lasting impact on the lives of your students. My letter to graduates of the program appears below.
I am writing to congratulate you on your recent completion of the (ESL/GED) program at St. Charles Community College. I am very sorry to have missed the graduation ceremony on Wednesday, June 13. I was returning from work-related travel and, as luck would have it, my flight was delayed, making it impossible for me to be here for the ceremony.
Had I been at the ceremony, I would have told you that I know how much hard work and dedication has gone into your completion of this program. I am sure that you made many sacrifices of your time and attention – and that your family may also have made similar sacrifices – to get you to the point of completion of the program. I am sure that they are as proud of you as I hope you are of yourself for succeeding in the completion of the program.
I have learned many times in my own life that some things are worth sacrificing and working for. I come from a working class family. We did not have a lot of money growing up. No one in my family had ever gone to college. When it came my turn to decide, I swallowed my fears and enrolled in college. It was not always easy. I did not have enough money for books on some occasions. I also did not always succeed in my classes. But in the end I completed the degree and graduated from college, the first in my family ever to accomplish that goal. Like you, I had my family and friends to thank for helping me to reach that goal.
Now here is my challenge to you. Having reached your own important goal I challenge you to keep learning and growing. That might mean enrolling in a college class or two. It might mean taking non-credit classes in continuing education. Or it might simply mean making time every day to try something new – maybe something you’ve always wanted to do but never dared to try. In my case I went on to get two more college degrees and to become a college president, something neither I nor my family would ever have dreamed was possible.
So, keep on reaching. If there is anything at all we at St. Charles Community College can do to help you on your journey, please don’t hesitate to ask us. We are all proud of you and will continue to be there for you.
With deepest admiration,