Almamy Conde '18
Hobart Senior Speech
May 13, 2018
2662 Valentine Ave, Bronx NY. This is where my story began. I grew up living in a low-income impoverished neighborhood. At 13, I lived in my grandma’s small 2-bedroom apartment. We didn’t really have much growing up. On Monday mornings before going to school I was given $15 and told to make it work for the week. So guess what I did, I made it work. While walking to school I remember thinking to myself how would things be if I grew up on the other side of the fence. The side of the fence where the grass was greener and the sun was always shining.
Coming to HWS made me realize that we all have more in common than we think we do. We all go through obstacles. Some of us go through more than others for various reasons. However, we all experience challenges in our lives that test who we are as a person. I used to think growing up with a rich family would resolve all my issues, until I met a close friend at school. We were on opposites sides of the spectrum. We came from very different backgrounds. But what we both had in common was ambition. Over the past 4 years I’ve learned 3 important lessons. Lesson one; there is always more to the story than what we see. Our goal should be to embrace who we are and not shy away from the truth. Sometimes our biggest fear is acknowledging the truth for what it is. We tend not to embrace reality for what it is but for what we would like it to be.
I’ve been lucky enough to have great mentors in my journey here at HWS, including Dean Streeter, Amy Forbes, Craig Talmage, Coach Bachaus, Coach Craig and Coach Hanna. I’m also grateful that I’ve been exposed to like-minded entrepreneurs whether it be through my experience as a finalist in the Stu Lieblien Pitch Contest, working for Tom Bozzuto and his company for a summer or flying out to Las Vegas and helping an alum develop properties. So many people have helped me along the way. But if it wasn’t for ambition, I wouldn’t have got my real estate license at 18 years old and I definitely wouldn’t have got the opportunities I have today.
So lesson two; sometimes the opportunities that we want the most are the ones we have to create ourselves. Growing up poor actually gives you an advantage. You are forced to be entrepreneurial and think outside of the box with the very limited resources you have. Growing up rich also put you at an advantage. The resources and financial assistance allows you to achieve the goals you set for yourself. So regardless of what country, state or zip code you’re from, the opportunities you create determines your success.
Now, We all strive for success. The difference lies in how we measure it. Some measure success through materialistic things, some measure success through happiness and others measure success through their ability to give back. In order to achieve the success that we want, we have to be willing to take calculated risks, remain truthful to ourselves and stay committed to being great.
There will be obstacles in life. There will be people in our lives that we wish we could enjoy every beautiful moment with, there will be people who doubt our abilities and there will be people who prey on our downfall. The reality is, we cannot control every aspect of life.
Lesson three, there are three different types of people in this world. There are people who watch things happen, there are people who make things happen and then there are those who wonder what the hell happened. It will just be easy today to come up here and get your diploma. After all, it is a great accomplishment in our lives, but it’s just the first one. As you head back home with your families I want you all to think about the type of person you want to be.
Someone that goes against the grain and makes things happen for yourself or someone that allows others to define your success.
Remember to have a dream is just a dream, but having a plan with a dream, is a story.
What’s your story?
I also want to say Happy Mother’s day to all the mothers out there and happy birthday to my mom.