Ninety-Eighth Commencement

I can hear the soft sound of the band playing in the distance. As I take a small step forward my heel gets stuck in the grass and slows my step. Today is my day, no time for hesitation. I catch a whiff of a sweet smell, thinking that it is coming from the single red rose I’m grasping, but there is something more in the air than the scent of flowers. I continue walking; the band is getting louder as I approach the large white tent. Then the crowd waiting inside erupts with cheers, family and friends are bursting with excitement. Once under the tent I take my seat among beautiful and talented young women whom I’ve bonded with throughout my four years. Today is our day. The air brushes against my face, this time I notice; it’s saturated, saturated with pride and accomplishment.

The pride I felt five years ago I saw in the eyes of the class of 2010 as they filled that same white tent. Their families and friends were of course there to cheer them on and to celebrate their achievements. Many of the students are first in their family to graduate, creating a whole new level of pride for their families. Looking out at the class of 2010 I saw teachers, lawyers, psychologists, biologists and most of all leaders. Leadership at Pine Manor is not just taught from a book found on a shelf; it is displayed in the classroom, on the field, embodied in the staff and faculty and felt throughout campus.

It was that sense of leadership that drew me to Pine Manor. During my first visit to the campus I could feel the sense of community and support; it was unlike any other college I had visited. To me, Pine Manor was an opportunity to develop my leadership skills, learn to advocate for myself and grow because of the diverse community. I embraced the college experience right away by signing up for clubs and trying out for the softball and volleyball teams. I met many amazing women from all types of backgrounds. I learned a lot about myself and the world around me. I even traveled to Italy with my roommate where she introduced me to her extended family who still lived there. I am who I am today because of the experiences I had at Pine Manor. During my commencement I remember saying this is just the beginning of my journey.

I’ve interacted with many of the graduating students but I have truly bonded with a small handful throughout my three years in admissions. Within them I saw tremendous growth and development of leadership skills. They were able to gain these valuable skills because of their experiences at Pine Manor. Whether it is volunteering at Rosie’s Place, raising money for relief efforts in Haiti, mentoring a Dearborn Middle School student or working with The Second Step, our students are able to foster leadership skills that are inclusive of all people and are directed toward a common good. These young women have developed into strong leaders who will bring their skills into their workplace, home and community. Their education and experiences at Pine Manor has given them a strong foundation to achieve great things in their life. Their journey has just begun…no time for hesitation.