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* Commencement 2010 rhymes with student success


Angie Carranza smiles and waves as she files out of the 2010 Shoreline Community College Commencement. More photos

More than 500 Shoreline Community College students turned into Shoreline Community College graduates on Sunday, June 6, 2010.

Although participating in Commencement isn't required to graduate, an increasing number of students are choosing to don cap and gown and march down the aisle in an acknowledgement of their achievments.

"Commencement is always an inspiring moment," said SCC President Lee Lambert. "Many of these students overcome great obstacles, show incredible perserverance to attain their goals. When you see what they do to get an education, it just reinforces our resolve to everything we can as a college to help them."

One of those inspiring students was chosen to give the annual student address -- Angela Carranza.

Carranza said that growing up in her Chicago neighborhood, she saw a number of friends die in gang-related violence and going to college was not a given. Carranza, who has been accepted to Seattle University where she will study sociology, told her story in a poem:

I grew up in a neighborhood on Chicago’s South Side

My life planned out for me: find a husband, be a bride

Then become a mother, have a kid or two or three

But changing dirty diapers - man, that wasn’t me

Not a word about college was spoken in our home

My father, the patriarch, ruled from his throne

I was stubborn and opinionated, much to his chagrin

And when we had an argument, I always fought to win

I was a Latina: I should learn to iron, sew and cook

And if I learned all that, then maybe I could read a book

He just didn’t understand the struggle in my heart

He just couldn’t see that our ideas were worlds apart

And even though I loved him, I began to rebel

The more he tried to silence me, the louder I would yell

The world beyond our home loudly called my name

A world where violence ruled and your brutality gained you fame

I was completely fascinated by the chaos of the street

I learned when to stay and fight and when I should retreat

The leader of the gang tried to keep me from harm’s way

He’d ask for my report card, shake his head, and say:

“You’re too smart to stay here; your grades are really good

Mija, go to college. You gotta leave the ‘hood.

Don’t pretend that you’re not smart just to please some stupid guy

You gotta get away from here. Tell me that you’ll try.”

But I just wouldn’t listen, I was stubborn as a mule

And middle of my Senior year, I said good-bye to school

Still he tried to tell me that I had no future there

But by then I’d seen such ugly things that I just didn’t care

So he told his boys to respect me, to watch over me all the time

And even though I didn’t like it, the decision wasn’t mine

One after another, my friends were getting killed

Another funeral to attend, another coffin filled

I was out there doing things that could have gotten me shot

And my poor Mami worried, cried, and prayed a lot

There were many situations I didn’t think I’d survive

But my Mami must have said a rosary, ‘cause Baby, I’m alive

And he kept trying to protect me even when he went to jail

He’d advise me when I visited, sent me letters in the mail

Eventually I left the neighborhood and ended up out here

I wanted to make a difference; I wanted a career

I ended up at Shoreline, a school that I adore

Everyone’s been so supportive, I couldn’t ask for more

The people here at Shoreline have played a vital role

And it’s because of all their help that I’ve achieved my goal

In the Fall I’ll be majoring in Sociology at Seattle U.

I never thought I’d get this far, it’s like a dream come true

My dream is to work with troubled youth who need someone to care

And because it’s so important, there’s a lesson I will share:

It’s not all about you, hard to believe, I know!

But every decision that you make will eventually come to show

That every action affects someone in a positive or negative way

So please be conscious of what you do each and every day

And because of who he was, I can’t say his name out loud

But if he could see and hear me now, I know I’ve made him proud.

Copyright, Angela Carranza

As she finished, the audience and other graduates gave Carranza a standing ovation.

Elizabeth Hanson, a Humanities professor, gave an equally stirring speech during the faculty address. Hanson spoke of the lessons she learned growing up in a family whose talent, she said, was "finding places for people to live."

Also during the ceremonies, five Professor Emeritus awards were given to:

  • Marianne Baker, Dental Hygeine
  • Helen Hancock, Mathematics
  • Nancy Matesy, Music Education
  • Linda Warren, Philosophy
  • Donna Wilde, Health Information Management

SCC/Jim Hills

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