Patricia Caraballo – Salutatorian Speech

Good afternoon everyone.

We are gathered here today to celebrate the graduation ceremony of 2017. My name is Patricia Caraballo, and I am very honored to be here today. First of all, on behalf of the entire classes of 2017, I would like to greet and express our gratitude to the following: Mrs. Regueiro, Ms. Hernandez, Dr. Almonte, Dr. Bullen, Dr. Rodriguez, Mr. Perez, Dr. Coll, Dr. Burgos, Dr. Cesar-Berrouet, the entire staff of Florida National University, and honored guests. Thank you for your dedication, guidance, and patience. We truly, owe you all, our accomplishments. I also want to thank all our parents, family and friends, for their love and constant support.

Our personal stories are a very strong part of this graduation, and I would like to tell you a little bit about mine. An event that happened and encouraged me to reflect on my entire life, my past achievements, as well as my aspirations and dreams that I had not been able to fulfill. It was At that moment, that I realized my commanding need to return to school and execute my goal of being a nurse, something I had always thought was far from my reach, but I decided to investigate how far that possibility would take me in my life.

Driving around from one college to the other, I stopped behind a bus with an advertisement of a university that offered “Opening Doors to the Future”. It was like a ray of light, and as fast as I could I arrived to Florida National University. Then, fears came all over me. There was the barrier of my little domination of the English language that almost paralyzed me. Nonetheless, I took a chance and I did the entrance exam which would take me into the prerequisites.

Now, I must mention and thank Professor Moya, not only did he help me with English, but he also gave me the support and strength I needed to continue. He always told me: “you can do it” and look at me, here I am. Thank you Professor Moya, I did it!

I started my Associate and I studied intensively because I had a race against time, but I knew that my love for being a nurse was stronger and deeper than my age or my fears toward the English language. In 2012, I graduated with an Associate of Science in Nursing, obtaining a Summa Cum Laude grading. So, many educators and professors contributed to my success. Thank you, Dr. and Mrs. Cuervo, and my special gratitude to Dr. Humberto Martinez, among other instructors; you all made possible for me to be successful.

For a short period, I thought I had reached my dream and began my journey into working, but soon enough I realized that I needed to continue to embrace a higher education. Let me tell you, knowledge is an acquisition that never ends; it is almost a ladder without a culmination; it is addictive and rewarding. On the other hand, it can also be painful, requires dedication, time, sacrifices; so many ups and downs which I am sure we all have experienced, and yet, nowadays continuing with your education is a necessity because the future is no longer stable. So, how do we offer more? It is only achievable through more knowledge, and this can only be accomplished through higher education. This was the reason for my Bachelor of Science in Nursing, the source for my presence with all of you celebrating our graduation today. Allow me to one more time thank all the professors we had through our Bachelor classes, without them, we will not be sitting in this wonderful auditorium.

This graduation has revealed to us how gifted we are by fulfilling our goals when we commit ourselves to them. I am optimistic that all of us here today can take this personal victory as an example of how anything is conceivable and how dreams can become reality if we put our minds to it. As we all continue our own journeys into the future, let us tackle each new problem with confidence, knowing that we have reached great heights and are prepared with the require tools to face the challenges in our future. The road that lies ahead will not be easy. There will be moments when we feel we cannot possibly continue, almost feeling isolated and alone with our backs against a wall, but the truth is we are not alone, we are all on this expedition together, and we have the support and strength of our professors, peers, family and friends.

Nothing worthwhile is easy and the more difficult it becomes, the more rewarding it is as we conquered it. Let me share with you all this immense and huge proud feeling. We accomplished our goals! Today, we can look back to days and nights we spent studying while other were out having fun. Well, today we are picking up the reward of our sacrifices and efforts. Yes, we did it! Congratulation to all of us! Let’s give ourselves a big round of applauses. We deserved it!