by Mathew Edwards
Welcome ladies, gentlemen, faculty members, and fellow graduates. I’m honored to be here amongst so many believers who became graduate achievers… Have you ever reminisced on you journey through the hands of time?
To think who knew I would make it this far?
Who knew I would survive the struggle and still achieve?
It’s amazing what you can do if you believe…
Who knew this graduation would feature me,
A celebration for all of us to see.
Even in the midst of negativity and despair,
We stare, at men worthy of being praised,
Chins raised, eyes blaze, radiating a positive accomplish glare… My incarceration journey started from a boy to a man,
Which began at age sixteen for 2nd degree murder.
Eighteen years of being con ned has been a tough grind, Weighing heavy on my mind,
Opening my eyes to a world of possibilities
to see if you search knowledge and wisdom you will nd… Some of the best years of my life lost in captivity
for not listening to family and friends’ voices,
And for making bad choices, lled with personal gain, misplaced blame, shame,
Learning to accept responsibility for my actions,
pain I dealt, and pain I felt.
Who knew I would elevate, educate, stimulate my mind,
Only to nd, years later a hard head makes a soft behind.
Who knew the evolution of me at Soledad would get a GED, AA degree, And through this vocational trade
a National certi cation as a customer service specialist,
a network cable specialist in copper and ber based systems. This ber optic trade has giving me vision
to see a life beyond state blues attire,
And a foundation of hope
to know I can independently cope with freedom thrills, Because I have current technology skills to pay the bills… Today you heard me say, who knew this graduation would feature me? Years ago I was a diamond in a rough, I had no glow, my vision was low; My future blurry, I was full of fury.
I couldn’t see the gifts or potential within me.
My journey of doing time was a must.
I was full of lust, distraction, and dust.
I had misplaced my loyalty, values, and trust.
Some struggles in life cut like a knife,
Leaving battle wounds to scar,
Motivating you to go harder, to go farther, to reach above the bar. De ning your character, and teaching how resilient you really are.
It humbles your taste buds if you embrace the bittersweet taste. Day after day different forms of struggle test me,
challenge me, and sometimes stress me,
But it brings the best in me, out of me…
You see if you are never tested by struggle,
how will you know what you can juggle or handle?
Each and every one of us has the power to be the boss of our brain And use positive thoughts with action to do whatever we pursue… So believe in you, love you, be you, forgive, let go,
be of service to others and continue to grow…