Commencement 2012


Isaias Garcia '12
Hobart Senior Speech

May 13, 2012

Thank you President Gearan.

Good morning faculty, members of the board, friends, family, and the classes of 2012. Most importantly, good morning mothers -- HAPPY MOTHERS DAY!

Today isn't just a celebration for the graduating senior classes, it is a tribute to our precious Mothers, as well as our families, friends, and mentors for all of their love, support, and commitment to our education.


When I was young, my mom said, "Educate mi hijo porque es importante tener su educacion en este pais." In English: Educate yourself my son, because it is important to have your education in this country. Although we don't like to admit it, our mothers always know best. It is a privilege to have attended and now graduate from a prestigious institution like Hobart and William Smith Colleges.

This beautiful morning, I'd like to share three lessons from my own mother.


Number one: Take advantage of every opportunity- Don't take anything for granted!

When I was in high school, I didn't think college was an option because it's expensive and lets face it, HWS isn't cheap! But my mother wanted to see her only son become a pioneer and graduate from high school and matriculate from college.

There is a quote by a former Harvard president named Derek Bok and he says, "If you think education is expensive, try ignorance!" We attended a great institution that taught us many valuable things inside and outside of the classroom, like how to effectively articulate our thoughts, and understand the world can be ours with the power of an idea. Most importantly, we learned how to become agents of change and live lives of consequence. This is something you don't learn at Harvard.


Number two: Blood is thicker than water, but we need water to survive too!

In other words, our friends become our family and we treasure them dearly. In high school and college, my peers have sustained me and been my support system. It's important to treat people the way you want to be treated and throw the rope down for them to follow. This inspires them to achieve their own self-defined greatness.

Throughout my education career, I have formed many meaningful friendships and I know you have, too. Many of these will last our lifetime. If it weren't for my best friend and his family, I wouldn't be standing here today.

Relationships are priceless assets. My mother always reminded me to stay in the present and cherish our time together. Tomorrow isn't guaranteed.

Number three: strive for success.

I spent my first year of college at Manhattan College because I decided to stay close to home to care of my mom, who was ill at the time. One year later, I transferred to the Colleges, a humbling experience, and the best decision of my life.


My first semester here, I pledged for Kappa Sigma Fraternity and although my mother never gave me a little brother, I found a reliable brotherhood and a strong support system that would make my mother proud.

I wasn't only connected to current brothers. I found a big brother and mentor within the fraternity, Dan Rosensweig, who challenged me to think innovatively. I applied for an internship and earned the opportunity to travel across the nation to work for his company in California.


I was a product of the concrete jungle headed to the Silicon Valley for the first time and I didn't expect the culture shock that hit me. I went to work the first day in my fashionable New York City attire and the other interns were wearing flip-flops, t-shirts and shorts. With any new challenge, we're going to face struggles and surprises. But, as time progresses, we embrace change, become stronger, and grow as individuals. And that, my friends, is what makes us successful.


The day before my 18th birthday, my mom went to the hospital for shortness of breath. Two months and two days later, she passed away. There is not a day that goes by that I don't miss her. But, I knew it was important to her that I educate myself, take advantage of every opportunity, empower others, and strive for success. I hope I made you proud mom because I owe it all to you! (LOOK UP)

There is a poem by Langston Hughes called, Mother to Son. I'd like to share with you.

Well, son, I'll tell you:
Life for me ain't been no crystal stair.
It's had tacks in it,
And splinters,
And boards torn up,
And places with no carpet on the floor --
But all the time
I'se been a-climbin' on,
And reachin' landin's,
And turnin' corners,
And sometimes goin' in the dark
Where there ain't been no light.
So boy, don't you turn back.
Don't you set down on the steps
'Cause you finds it's kinder hard.
Don't you fall now --
For I'se still goin', honey
, I'se still climbin',
And life for me ain't been no crystal stair

This is a time for celebration, but also a time for reflection. Remember where we came from, keep in mind those lessons our mothers taught us, and say thank you. The bottom line is we wouldn't be here to graduate if it weren't for our mothers. Today let your mother know how much you love her. Don't just send her a text message right now. But when you have the chance, run to her and give her a big hug and kiss. I would trade the world to do so. Lastly, thank those who helped you accomplish this milestone. Congratulations!

Thank you.