SOE Commencement: Student Speaker Eduardo Caldera’s remarks

There are always special moments at graduation that particularly touch our faculty and staff and one such moment happened with our student speaker, Eduardo Caldera, a clinical community counseling graduate.

Due to bad weather, the ceremony was moved inside this year and the program was abbreviated.  But since graduation is about the students, it was decided that the student speaker would be the only speaker to read his/her full remarks.  However, Eduardo made the decision not to give his full speech as he didn’t think it was fair to the other speakers or even an abbreviated version because he didn’t want to hold up any of his classmates and their families who wanted to leave after receiving their diplomas. 

We think this says a lot about Eduardo’s character.  Please take a moment to read his speech, which was selected through a competition whereby students present their speech to a panel comprised of faculty and staff.  It comes from the heart – something Eduardo clearly has. 

Welcome Johns Hopkins School of Education graduating class of 2013!  This very special day belongs to you so PLEASE let’s have a round of applause!

Now, I’m here today not just because I’m a proud graduate of our world renowned and prestigious university, but specifically, I’m here because I wanted to speak out to the graduates of this group–my future colleagues.  I have always been particularly drawn to people who choose to seek a higher degree within the school of education.  I’m talking to those of you who had the distinct interest and initiative to specialize in education, special education, school counseling, mental health counseling, and public safety leadership.

Why are we here today?  What drew us to these fields?  Colleagues, I’m convinced that each of you are as committed to the community, to public service, to advocating for the underdog, educating our youth, and fighting for the underprivileged as I am.  I could not be more proud of you, to have learned and practiced beside you, and to know that we will be reengaging with the workforce with added training, more understanding, and heightened focus. As we know, these are professions that are not just for anyone—they draw a special kind of person–a person with patience, determination, empathy, integrity, and heart.

Congratulations on your remarkable achievement this year.  In today’s economy, we are among the very fortunate and select few who can find the time and commitment to pursue a higher degree.  While this diploma we will receive today is a privilege in itself, I take pride in knowing the hard work that went into it–long hours of studying, commuting, and time away from our loved ones.  I can attest that it was no easy feat.  I want to take a moment to stop and thank my friends and family who have been there to support me through my successes and my stalls as I am sure my fellow laureates do for those closest to them.  Another round of applause!

Finally, a round of applause to the first-rate Hopkins staff who gave us their very best, who pushed us to improve upon ours, and who expect the very best of us as we head back out there with our degrees in hand to do what we love.

Today is an exciting day, where we feel revitalized to take on the challenges and responsibilities that lay ahead of us.  I ask you, fellow graduates, that we continue to keep the fire and drive we embrace here today well into the future—So that you will have with you, in those moments of struggle, a reminder of why we chose these careers, and to remember that we are not alone in working towards the changes we want to see in our communities!  Let’s make it happen!

Felicitaciones clase del 2013!  Again, congratulations class of 2013, WE DID IT!!

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