By Marco Flores
By Marco Flores
A total of six students were in the running for this year’s commencement speaker for graduation. Riverside City College hosted a competition in the Hall of Fame on April 26 to decide who would have the honor.
This year’s competitors were Joseph Kowalow, Christen Irving, Vernise Dorsey, Joseph Manson, Shannon Luster and Michael Gonzalez.
Students had a total of three minutes to introduce themselves and give a speech.
The speech was an explanation of how college and the student have attained personal aspirations. After every speech, the panel of judges would take four minutes to write notes on the speaker.
“After being a student at RCC, I never would have thought math can be fun and easy,” Kowalow said. ” I began to have an interest in politics that I never thought I had before. I listened to conversations of other students… they were not about iPods, trucks, cars… but rather politics, society, and philosophy.”
Irving was next to speak.
“I started at a Cal State, transferred to two other schools, and then arrived to RCC,” Irving said.
She continued to say that every counselor she met was an inspiration towards her education and she “learned there are no excuses.”
Dorsey was up next and started her speech with a quote: “The mistakes that others make is to treat education as a chore instead of a joy.”
She ended saying “we have learned the joys, the friendships… we have obtained a wealth of knowledge from our instructors here.”
Manson mentioned that he “never really thought of how many steps it would take to get to RCC.”
Manson explained that, despite his six years in the military, he thought everything would be easy. To him, RCC was an encouragement factor.
“Everything here was motivation,” he said.
Like Dorsey, Luster also started with her favorite quote from Winston Churchill: “Never give in-never, never, never, never, in nothing great or small… Never yield to force; never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy.”
Luster continued her speech by saying that students should always pursue their dreams and RCC has enriched her college experience.
The final competitor up was Michael Gonzalez.
“When I was here, I didn’t take it really seriously,” Gonzalez said. He went on, talking about his experiences with jobs he didn’t want for himself.
“I got involved and I realized my ability to succeed,” he said.
He finished off by stating that “the job isn’t done yet; we have to take what RCC has taught us and get our degree.”
After everyone’s speeches ended, there was a 36-minute deliberation.
Everyone in the room looked with anticipation at who would be this year’s commencement speaker.
The announcement was made: Christen Irving.
Irving had to leave early but was contacted later with the good news.