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My 2012 Class Speaker Speech — Daniel Denis
Madam President, your Excellencies, your royal highnesses, our distinguished faculty and staff, our dear parents, fellow graduands, distinguished ladies and gentlemen, good morning to you all. I welcome you to a very special moment in our lives – our graduation.
I want to start by telling you a very short story, the story of a student that walked into AUN four years ago, unable to type his name on a computer or access the internet, to him an e-mail address was a luxury, today this student is an entrepreneur, whose favorite means of communication is via the internet and a co-founder of a community service project. That student is me.
As a freshman, I dreaded Mondays, because I had ITC 101 meaning I had to use my computer which was mostly unused and safely kept in my locker. I always wondered if I will ever be able to use my laptop like other students in my class. I can remember asking a student if he could help me find the alphabet “Q” on my laptop because I spent five minute searching but could not find it. That is my AUN story. But this day is not just about me, but about everyone seated here wearing a robe as a graduant.
Every journey has a beginning and every beginning has an end. Today marks the end of our journey from the enrolment step of ignorance, to the accomplished goalpost of knowledge, abilities and expertise in various fields of human endeavor.
Since every journey is a story and every story has its heroes, ladies and gentle- men may I introduce you all to the heroes of the story we celebrate today—“the class of 2012”. Please give them a round of applause.
Four years ago, AUN opened its doors to our class of 2012, the doors to a life of endless opportunities and knowledge. Many of us thought we wouldn’t make it or we couldn’t survive the struggle. I can remember vividly some of my friends saying “Dan, school is not my thing, to hell with school, I am tired, but today we stand with smiles on our faces ready to take on the world! Congratulations my fellow classmates. I am sure AUN is extremely proud of us on this important day of glory.
Looking round this hall I try to remember the young boys and girls that walked into this school four years ago but my memory fails me.
Instead I meet faces of great leaders in the making; entrepreneurs, young men and women with a drive to excel, a hunger for excellence and a will to make the world a better place by simply making a difference in whatever they do and where ever they find themselves.
Our experiences might differ but our story remains the same- victory.
Yes! I say this because we have been taught, tested, and proven to be absolutely worthy of acclaim. `
The values acquired from community service and helping the less privileged have made us more responsible human beings.
Then I say to myself ‘see what AUN has made of us’? I strongly believe that one day this school will be referred to as a place where legends are made. I hope it comes in our lifetime.
Our dear professors, there were many times we disliked you, probably hated you and even called you names but those times are behind us now.
Now all we feel is a deep sense of appreciation for your commitment and for not giving up on us.
We appreciate you for stretching us beyond limits and taking us to greater heights. You made us stronger and more resilient.
We learned more from you than you could ever imagine, unwillingly we learned the values of hard work and commitment, and perhaps unwillingly, we learned to be honest and punctual. Personally, these are the most important things I learned while in AUN.
To the students we leave behind we have these pieces of advice– It is essential to have fun but paramount to study hard.
Having been here for four years we want to tell you that the only way to reaching your goals is through commitment to your studies.
If you ever had the eye opening, CGPA damaging privilege of being in Dr. Ales Psaker’s physics class then you must have thought of every possible and impossible, way of passing including black magic or juju technology but unfortunately there isn’t . Therefore, the only way out is to study, to study hard and study rigorously.
One last thing; choose your friends wisely and keep away from the pitfalls of negative influences.
I am sure posterity will not forgive me if I step down from this podium without thanking from the depth of my heart, the founder of this great institution, His Excellency Atiku Abubakar for his vision, which is why we all are here today.
In a special way on behalf of all the students in this institution on scholarship I want to thank him for his charity, without which I definitely would not be standing here as a student let alone be the class speaker. You are a blessing to many families—more families than you could ever imagine.
We are grateful to AUN for giving us the most beautiful graduation. We are privileged to be the first class to graduate in a brand new hall not a make shift tent.
Before she left, one of AUN’s inaugural professors Dr. Janette Wallis, told us to pray for a good President or this school will be a shadow of its self. Thank God we didn’t have to pray for too long. President Margee is the best thing that ever happened to AUN.
Many of us didn’t believe this hall would be completed in time for our commencement, but here we are. Personally, I never doubted the president’s ability to deliver.
As our AUN journey ends and a new chapter in our lives begin, I leave you all with one challenge. Let’s make Nigeria a better place, let’s put aside our differences and move this nation forward. Albert Einstein said, “Nations suffer because good people remain silent.’’
So My friends as we part today, I want to thank you for the beautiful times we had and difficult moments we shared.
Life will throw many challenges our way. Let’s accept them, embrace them and convert them into accomplishments.
We leave AUN with three things in our hearts, gratitude, fulfillment and love. I wish you all every bit of the best that life has to offer.
To our dearest beloved parents, words can never express our gratitude for your love and support during these years. I just hope life will keep you long enough for the surprises we have for you in appreciation for all you’ve done for us.
Maybe there wouldn’t be another opportunity for me to stand before such a caliber of people to give a speech.
Therefore before all you good people I want to thank my family for their love and support, being fully mindful of the sacrifices they made without ever complaining to see me through the American University of Nigeria.
Deep in my heart I hope I have made you proud! Thank you all. Thank God and Happy graduation folks!