Randall Delaney

June 3, 2013

Spring Semester and Graduation

Filed under: Uncategorized — delaneyr @ 3:36 pm

This has been a hectic semester for me, but also my greatest! First, I visited Lambeau Field during the Business Professionals of America (BPA) State Leadership Conference at the end of February. I was very proud of Gateway’s BPA members as we all competed in different competitions and many of us took home top honors in different categories.

First Trip to Green Bay and Lambeau Field (with Mark Short)!

It was also special when BPA president Mark Short and I went to help out at the Special Olympics Polar Plunge and ran into Green Bay Packers all-time leading rusher Ahman Green. Believe it or not he was dancing to, “Barbie Girl” when we met him. It was a strange, but great moment! We also volunteered as interns and were able to help set up the awards ceremony at Lambeau Field. It was an amazing few days in Green Bay!

Hanging out in Vince Lombardi’s Office in Packers Hall of Fame!

Then, it was time to pack to leave for Germany the next week. After studying abroad in Germany for 2 weeks in March, my outlook on my future has become a little clearer. I always love to travel, but seeing the other side of the world has inspired me to dream bigger. I hope to study abroad again next year and learn as much as possible from these experiences.

Gateway and German students at the Apfelwein Klaus in Frankfurt, Germany on Wed. March 13th!

Another great accomplishment this semester was being inducted into the National Society of Leadership and Success (NSLS) last month. NSLS has helped me tremendously with my outlook on my future. This club has inspired me and filled me with many positive thoughts and goals. I look forward to using many of the skills I learned in NSLS, and I was glad to make many friends as well!

Induction Day for NSLS at Madrigrano Auditorium on Tues. April 23rd!

Finally came graduation day on May 14, 2013. This was my second year in a row graduating, this time with my degree in Accounting. It was a bit more relaxing than last year as I was not speaking at two graduation ceremonies. J Now completing my 5th full year at Gateway it was time for me to finish my time here. However, Gateway has changed my life so much I will now continue my education entering Urban Farming later this month. This is off the path I was on, and I’m glad to get off of the path and explore new adventures.

Spectacular Graduation Day with fellow Accounting students at UW Parkside on Tues. May 14th!

I can’t say thank you enough to so many people who have helped me and inspired me during my 5 years at Gateway. I’ve went from lost and feeling like nothing, to feeling amazing and filled with happiness, purpose, and great ideas over these past 5 years. So for that, I say thank you Gateway Technical College!!!

Receiving Diploma and Proudly showing my family at Graduation!

January 28, 2013

MLK Event, Global Scholar Craft/Vendor Fair, and a New Semester

Filed under: Uncategorized — delaneyr @ 10:25 pm

Happy New Year! As a great year begins, my time at Gateway has become busy and full of excitement. On Martin Luther King, Jr. Day I attended and covered the MLK celebration at the Madrigrano auditorium for Connect student newspaper. Not really knowing what to expect, I was pleased to say I was inspired and moved by the entire event! Listening to music and messages that represented MLK’s dream was amazing. It was also a huge reminder of how important Gateway is to the futures of so many lives. My year began at the Gateway Foundation Scholarship Awards, where I was honored with the General Business and Marketing scholarship. These two events have pushed me to strive for more.

Keynote Speaker Arthel L. Howell, Chief of Police, City of Racine addresses the crowd at MLK Celebration in Kenosha
Me being honored with Gateway Foundation Scholarship by Gateway’s Racine Dean of Campus Affairs Ray Koukari

I have been involved in many activities/events lately and have taken on a workload larger than ever. Our Kenosha BPA chapter has partnered with the Racine chapter and Sustainable Living Club to begin a Denim Drive and have barrels set out in the commons of all 3 campuses. The drive will continue until the end of February. The denim will be re-purposed as insulation in an effort to help the world become more sustainable.

Gateway Denim Drive

Our chapter is also partnered with the Special Olympics and plan on helping them with two of their Polar Plunge events in the next month (the first being on February 9th at the Brat Stop in Kenosha). I also plan on “taking the Plunge” if I can raise the $75 required to be “Freezin’ For A Reason.”

BPA club partners with Special Olympics to help with Polar Plunge Event

We are selling raffle tickets for our BPA chapter to raise club funds to help us with our trip to the State Leadership Conference/Competition in late February. It has been a lot of work to try to sell all 1,000 raffle tickets, but with a great group of members I have faith we will come close to our goal before our drawing on Jan. 31 at the Sustainable Living Center.

Our group of Global Scholars is getting closer to our trip to Germany and will be hosting an amazing Craft/Vendor fair this Sat. February 2nd from 9am-2pm in the Racine Building on the Racine campus. We have booked a very large number of crafters/vendors and plan on a great turnout of eager shoppers as we continue to advertise as much as possible! The fair is free to attend. Please stop in to find great deals on many different unique and handmade items being sold to help us with our trip to study abroad.

I’m pleased to find out today what host family I will be staying with during my 16-day travel in March! To learn how you can study abroad and become a Global Scholar keep an eye out at: http://www.gtc.edu/international-education. Also, there’s an opportunity to become more aware of the environment and be recognized during graduation as a Green Scholar. Find out how to make this possible here: Gateway Green Scholar.

I’m also hoping for a great turnout for the “Be the MatchSM Bone Marrow Registry” on Tuesday, Feb. 12 from 11-7 p.m. in the Kenosha student commons. The event is sponsored by Gateway’s National Society of Leadership and Success. To help by donating your time or for more information, please contact NSLS Vice President Jamy Koepke at koepkej1@mail.gtc.edu. The bone marrow registry is as simple as filling out a health history form and having a cheek swabbed. If you’re a match you could save a life!!!

I had a great time writing about the new Veterans Club that will be meeting district-wide this Thursday, Jan. 31 at 5 p.m. I think the forming of this club is important for students at Gateway that are active military or vets. I also would like to say the BPA club and GAAP Accounting club are currently looking for new members and if interested please contact me at delaneyr6@mail.gtc.edu.

Finally, I’m sad my year as the Kenosha & District Star Ambassador is coming to an end, but I’m intrigued knowing a few deserving students will receive the opportunity I have had over the past year. I hope as many deserving students as possible are nominated before the Jan. 31st deadline. I was nervous filming the promotional video, but felt I did fine with the help of videographer Jim Steinmetz. Check out the video here: 2013 Star Ambassador Nomination.

Nominate a student to represent Gateway as a Star Ambassador by Jan. 31

Enrolled in 18 credits, I thought I had “over-filled my plate.” However, staying focused and receiving reminders from others to take a step back sometimes, I’ve been able to manage everything. I’m grateful for all of the help from others during this time and look forward to a brilliant semester this spring! Let’s be realistic, inspired, and great!!!

December 17, 2012

Volunteering in Community, Dinner with Santa, Clearly You Crystals, and International Education Week

Filed under: Uncategorized — delaneyr @ 7:51 pm
After my fun day interviewing students in Kenosha, Elkhorn, and Racine I had a great time volunteering later that night with fellow BPA members from the Kenosha and Racine chapters at our second community event in as many weeks. We helped serve dinner and clean up at the HALO (Homeless Assistance Leadership Organization) center in Racine (see photo below).

BPA Racine and Kenosha Chapters volunteer at HALO in Racine on Nov. 29
The previous week our two chapters assisted at the Shalom Center Food Pantry in Kenosha by helping take donations, organizing food, and stocking shelves (see photo below). I had a great time interviewing members of the pantry. I think the greatest part of helping at these two events was not just helping in the community, but also bonding as a club. Click here to see a video from our volunteer efforts.

Kenosha and Racine BPA Chapters volunteer at Kenosha Shalom Center Food Pantry
I also had a wonderful time assisting USG with the Dinner with Santa and Clearly You Crystals event held this past week. It was great to help assist children with arts and crafts in Racine with USG Treasurer Mark Short, and serve pizza in Kenosha with USG officer Mando Ortiz and other USG leaders. I couldn’t believe the outcome of the Clearly You Crystals 3D creation I received (see photo). Thank you to everyone who put the event together, it’s truly remarkable the amount of preparation and coordination USG has when using their energy to help unite the Gateway community!

Clear You Crystals 3D Image of Me
During International Education Week in November students going to study abroad in Belize, Germany, and Amsterdam sold food on each campus to raise money for their trips. I helped sell grapes & cheese, chocolate chip cookies, and apple fritter cake to raise funds as I will be blessed to study abroad in Germany (see photo). I will be going in March with five other Gateway students and advisor Jill Buchmann to Hanau, Germany. We are also learning the German language from instructor Tom Kennedy to help us prepare for the trip. I enjoy working with this group as they all bring their unique character to this amazing opportunity! We will be hosting the Global Scholar Craft/Vendor Fair in Racine on Saturday, February 2nd to continue to help raise funds for our trip. Please contact Global Scholar advisor Jill Buchmann at 262-619-6356 or Sherry Bigalke at corndogsmom@hotmail.com if you’re interested in being a vendor at the fair or for more information.

Fundraising during International Education Week with fellow Global Scholar student Rachel Savage

December 10, 2012

Man on the Street

Filed under: Uncategorized — delaneyr @ 4:19 pm

As the holiday man on the street (see photo), I traveled to each Gateway campus to find out about students past experiences and future plans for the holidays. I also asked Christmas trivia questions while giving out prizes from Santa Claus, as I was dressed as an elf. Every story I heard from students I thought was worth sharing, so I’ve decided to post them here. To see the rest of the stories, look for the December edition of Connect on any Gateway campus.

Me after Man on the Street coverage at HALO center in Racine

The holiday story that reached my heart the most were memories from Elkhorn campus student Sharon Paull (see photo). She’s in the Horticulture program and plans to spend the holidays helping with a project at Gateway to help underprivileged children and families receive Christmas gifts where a tree is decorated with ornaments of names of children and their ages. And Gateway staff, students, and people from the community pick an ornament and buy a gift for them and then the Intro to Psychology class she’s in will gift wrap the presents and deliver them.

Horticulture student Sharon Paull on the Elkhorn Campus

The greatest gift she ever received for Christmas was a pair of glasses. Paull says, “My stepfather brought home an aquarium with seaweed and little castles for my sisters and I for Christmas. He took me to the eye doctor when I was 13, I got eye glasses. And when I put them on the first thing I looked at was the aquarium and I saw every little piece of gravel, I saw every fish. Before that it was just kind of a blur, and okay well it’s an aquarium. It was my eyesight. I got my first pair of glasses and didn’t realize all those years I had trouble seeing.”

Paull says her favorite holiday memory was of her first Christmas when she was about 4 or 5 years old. “I didn’t know much about Christmas, and I got up one morning and the sun was streaming in and on the fake fireplace was a bunch of little tiny dime-store gifts,” she says. “It was a miracle, I woke up my mom and said something was happening, and she told me all about Christmas.” She says she looks forward to being with her children and grand-children over the holiday break and hopes Santa brings health to her daughter who is ill.

CNC students Carl Munger & John Burnside Racine Campus

CNC students Carl Munger (photo leftside) and John Burnside (photo rigthside) were on their way to class on the Racine campus when I asked them about their holidays. Munger looks forward to spending time with his family and watching his son open gifts. He hopes Santa brings him a job this Christmas and says the best gift he ever received was, “my freedom.” Burnside looks forward to watching his two daughters open gifts and says his favorite childhood holiday memory was, “getting to open up one present on Christmas Eve.” The gift he would like this year is, “to continue on the right path; going to school, going to work, and taking care of my kids.” The best present Santa brought him was his first remote control race car when he was 9 years old, he says.

Automotive Technology student Miguel Maldonado Elkhorn Campus

I found Automotive Technology student Miguel Maldonado (photo above) on the Elkhorn Campus and he says his favorite childhood holiday memory was when he was 10, “I got to see my dad overseas, he was in the Army.” He plans on graduating from Gateway in May and says his list for Santa this year is, “to get through the next year OK, with a career from Gateway.” His favorite holiday food is tamales. Maldonado says his favorite gift from Santa was an X-box when it first came out. He hopes to take in some sun rays down in Florida over the break. His favorite holiday tradition is Halloween.

Marketing student Nicole Pagan Kenosha Campus
Marketing student Nicole Pagan (photo above) who was on the Kenosha Campus says of her favorite holiday experiences, “When I visited my aunt in Ohio as a child, the entire family was there having fun, and we were playing Donkey Kong Country 2.” The best present Santa ever brought her was, “my Sailor Moon DVD collection,” she says.

Give Yourself a Gift for Christmas

Filed under: Uncategorized — delaneyr @ 4:12 pm

Although the title may imply this, I don’t mean go the store and buy yourself a big screen TV or a new car. I’m talking about the gift of believing in yourself! I recently have been overwhelmed with , meeting many people that believe in me, and I’ve been spending many hours trying to figure out exactly why. And then it hit me like a bat hitting a baseball, more people believe in me as I continue to believe in myself more and more.

It’s very ironic because when I began at Gateway nearly 4 1/2 years ago I rarely even lifted my head when walking by people in the hallways it seems. As time has gone by, I feel more confident than ever. By believing in myself, life has become easier; even though I’m doing more than ever. I’ve also noticed that when I show this same belief in others, it gives them a bit of energy to do more. So as the semester comes to an end, ask yourself, “How much do I believe in me?” If you’re not sure then it’s time to take action by studying harder, helping others, and taking risks. If you’re not sure how to believe in yourself anymore than you do now; then start by helping family members, fellow students, and friends believe in themselves.

If you give it your all these last two weeks of the semester, be proud of yourself. And then take a breather and relax! :) Be grateful and happy these holidays! :)

Merry Christmas, my gift to all of you for your hard work, perseverance, and dedication is this photo of our cat Cookie and her 4 cute little kittens. Enjoy!

My cat Cookie and her 4 baby kittens

Also, those of you graduating at the summer/fall commencement this month, congratulations! It’s an amazing and powerful experience, so enjoy it!

November 9, 2012

Health Care Fair, Artist in Residence, Clubs, and More

Filed under: Uncategorized — delaneyr @ 9:50 pm

As you can see by the title of this blog, the last month for me has been full of excitement at Gateway! I’ve been able to accomplish more tasks in the last month than I have in any other month that I can remember in my life. I’ve been inspired by many events I’ve covered for the November Connect, and also have learned how important working as team is in clubs such as the BPA, GAAP, and NSLS.

On top of that I’ve been able to nearly get hacked by a chain-saw at a haunted house with my mom, watch my daughter trick-or-treat with my family, meet the Milwaukee Bucks players at a luncheon in Milwaukee, and even see the President and Katy Perry with my niece. I think one of the most enjoyable memories of the past month was spending time with the German students as part of the Study Abroad program.

The International Biz Squad class that I’m in for the Study Abroad program has allowed me and 5 fellow classmates to work alongside German students on a business project for two Gateway students beginning a start-up business. We’ve also been able to spend time with the students from Germany outside of class. I enjoyed getting to know them better at a dinner hosted by Gateway’s Executive Vice President/Provost Zina Haywood at her home. I have to say Zina and her family put together a beautiful home-cooked meal for all of us. I look forward to seeing the students again when we head overseas in March.

We will be selling different food items during International Week on Monday, Nov. 12 through Wednesday, Nov. 14 from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. at select campuses to raise money for our Global Scholar trip to Germany (see photo below). We will also be hosting a Vendor/Craft Fair on the Racine Campus on Feb. 2nd from 9-2p.m. to raise money for the trip. Anyone interested in reserving a space or for more information, please contact Jill Buchmann at buchmannj@gtc.edu.

The Health Care Career Fair held at Gateway’s Madrigrano Auditorium was an awesome event to report on. I was able to see the auditorium filled with current students and Gateway graduates as they spoke with different employers from colleges, hospitals, and companies about jobs that are available. I interviewed a few students and others about the importance of the fair, and they all were glad to be there.

Another event I covered recently was the Artist in Residence event on Nov. 7th at the recently remodeled Pike Creek Horticulture Center at the Kenosha campus. This was one of my favorite events I’ve covered for Connect student newspaper to date. I was able to speak and work with great floral artist Dan Kotecki, floral instructors Jane Edwards and Mike Lewis, and students from Gateway’s Floral Design I and III courses. I didn’t plan on staying for the entire three hour event, but I was able to participate in the demonstration and ended up staying for four hours. I was able to conduct interviews, create a beautiful holiday centerpiece (see photo below), help clean up the room, and learn more about Gateway’s SAIFD floral club and the AIFD. It’s amazing how great the floral design business has developed over time and how it’s opened up doors for many inspiring Gateway students.

Creating a Holiday centerpiece during my Artist in Residence event coverage for Connect student newspaper at Pike Creek Horticulture Center at Kenosha Campus

I have had a great time continuing towards my goals with my SNT group members in the NSLS, as well as encouraging them to stay focused and positive even when times become stressful. We’ve been able to hear from speakers such as actress/singer Hilary Duff about leadership and success, and I look forward to improving my leadership skills at the Leadership Training Day later this month.

The BPA Club in Kenosha, which I’m proudly the Vice President of, has finally began to take off due to President Mark Short, Advisor Manoj Babu, and a great group of motivated members. We will be helping out at the Holiday House in the near future and will be preparing to compete at a statewide competition, which will be held in Green Bay next semester. I would like to say thank you to BPA Secretary Annie Fahy for creating a bulletin for the club for the month of November (see photo below).

Kenosha BPA Club’s November Bulletin Post by Annie Fahy

I’m excited and look forward to “ringing the bell” for the Salvation Army as our inspired GAAP Club will be donating our time to help out the community next month.

If anyone in any type of Business/IT related program at Gateway is interested in joining either the BPA Club in Kenosha or the district-wide GAAP Accounting Club, please email President Mark Short at shortm2@mail.gtc.edu. Come join us at our next BPA Club meeting on Wednesday, Nov. 14th at 3 p.m. in the Bioscience building on the Kenosha campus, or our next GAAP Club meeting in Racine, Elkhorn, or Kenosha on Wednesday, Nov. 28th at 4 p.m.

I would like to say thank you to all the members of the USG for their great efforts to help the Gateway community in many ways, and I look forward to attending the next meeting on Dec. 14th at noon. Please attend the meeting with me or contact USG at usg@gtc.edu for more information. All students are encouraged to attend any USG meeting.

October 10, 2012

Join a Club at Gateway

Filed under: Uncategorized — delaneyr @ 9:53 pm

This semester has been full of inspiration and opportunities. As freezing temperatures threaten at night, my gardening adventure is soon to be dormant. However, as one good thing has come to a temporary end, many opportunities have been presented, and I will be taking advantage of them. Never being involved in an official club in my life, I hope to be a member of three clubs by the end of next week. These are the NSLS (National Society of Leadership and Success), GAAP (Gateway Association of Accounting Professionals), and the BPA (Business Professionals of America).

All three of these clubs are different but should help me to socialize better in a face-to-face and a group setting scenario. As a member of each club, I will gain more leadership skills, work as a team to help the community, and meet some new people with some of the same interests as me.

Anyone in the Accounting program may join the GAAP, which has been able to successfully join all three campuses together via video-conference. The first meeting has passed but it’s not too late to join. The next meeting is scheduled for this Wednesday, Oct. 10th at 4 p.m. on each campus. For more information contact GAAP President Mark Short at shortm2@mail.gtc.edu.

Although you have to be invited to join the NSLS, if you maintain good grades, you’ll most likely receive a letter down the road asking you to join (if you haven’t already). My advice is to join; this is an opportunity to take advantage of. So far, the NSLS has met twice and the first speaker, Vernice “Flygirl” Armour left me with great inspiration and motivation to achieve the goals I’ve set for myself.

Also, I have had the opportunity to meet with a SNT (Success Networking Team) to discuss a goal we each set, and we all hold each other to the goal. My goal is to create a foundation to help qualifying NSLS members pay for the club’s membership fees. I hope to do this since some potential members may not have the financial resources to join, but have the will to accept their invitation to join.

Finally, a BPA club looks to be forming fast at Gateway and I will be joining this club due to curiosity and the possibility of competing in different subjects at a state and national level representing Gateway. The club’s first meeting is set for this Tuesday, Oct. 9th at 3 p.m. in the Bioscience Building on the Kenosha campus. For more information contact Mark Short at shortm2@mail.gtc.edu or BPA advisor Manoj Babu at babum@gtc.edu.

Even though, this all seemed nerve wrecking and overwhelming at first thought, I’ve been able to embrace it and have stayed in control of any fears. I’m ready for some new beginnings and I hope all Gateway students join one of the many clubs Gateway offers.

September 4, 2012

Urban Farming for my Family

Filed under: Uncategorized — delaneyr @ 1:54 pm

This summer I took it upon myself to begin a hobby great for the environment and my family. I began a little later than most, but I began my 60 square foot garden. I was given a gift card for Stein’s for being a Green Scholar and put it to good use. I bought a plant starter kit for a few dollars, a few bags of dirt, a variety of seeds, a flower pot, and a grape vine.

Already early June, I got to work preparing the garden by planting more than enough corn, cucumber, pea, tomato, and watermelon seeds in my starter kit on a table in the backyard (see pic below). I didn’t have great expectations but enough passion that I was dedicated to produce something. I watered the plants every day and within days I had my first plants sprouting up .

Planter kit I used to begin growing vegetables.

After a couple of weeks I had to get the actual garden ready to transplant the plants into. I prepared a garden bed that was 10’ x 6’ using nothing but a garden spade to dig up stubborn grass and dirt. I added a black dirt/compost mixture on the top of the old dirt and then measured the area and made rows of mounds so the plants would have good drainage. I also transplanted my grape vine and later my flowers next to the garden bed.

I had more than enough plants for transplanting so I actually had to eliminate many plants, sadly. I did more and more research to help me decide what plants I was going to plant where. I planted them, watered them daily, gave them plant food twice a month, and added compost to the dirt weekly. To my excitement, my plants began growing towards the sky! I then built a trellis out of materials lying around the house to support the cucumbers (see pic below), and used my daughter’s broken gates for the peas to climb onto.

Cucumber vines growing up the trellis.

I’ve attempted to do my own pruning and tampering and for the most part have had nothing but success. My passion for this kind of work began when I covered my first story for Connect last year. I interviewed Horticulture student, Charis Mitchell, and her passion for urban farming planted a seed inside of me that has helped me accomplish great things this summer. Along with a new hobby and passion, I definitely feel closer to Earth and the environment (see pic below).

Me proudly standing next to my garden.

Everything about creating this garden has been awesome. It’s like watching your children grow up (but extremely fast). I’ve been able to go outside and eat some fresh peas (see first pic), watch my tomatoes grow over 6 ft. tall, see my watermelon vines take over my yard (see third pic), watch corn on the cob appear (see second pic), and attempt to keep up with my cucumbers as they try to climb like Jack’s bean stalk into the clouds.

Peas growing inside pods

Corn on the cob

Watermelon vines

Student Welcome Night

Filed under: Uncategorized — delaneyr @ 1:52 pm

As the Kenosha Star Ambassador I was kindly asked to speak at Gateway’s Welcome Night to help the transition for students entering or returning to college. It was great to see many students show up on the evening of August 28th at the Madrigrano Auditorium in Kenosha. It was an honor to address students on different ways to be successful during their college experience.

Many activities and food were set up for students throughout the campus. Gift cards were given to lucky students and many booths were set up in the commons/cafeteria for students to learn and ask questions. Members of Gateway’s United Student Government and I took groups of students for a tour of the campus showing them places such as the student book store, student services, the library, and the computer lab. Unfortunately, our group wasn’t able to finish our tour in time because so much great information was being given to us.

Next, the students were able to choose from a number of workshops. These consisted of many different learning activities that helped answer more questions that almost all students seem to have. By attending the event the students were then entered into another drawing and two of them will win a $500 Gateway Scholarship.

I think it’s amazing how far Gateway goes to help students. It was great for me to learn things, from faculty and staff, which I didn’t even know about Gateway! Although it was a long night, I’m sure these students will have a jump start on things when they begin school soon. The only problem I found throughout the night was…I wish I would have attended an event like this before I started college! :)

May 24, 2012

Graduation Day

Filed under: Uncategorized — delaneyr @ 9:14 pm

On Tuesday, May 15th I woke and got dressed to go to the rehearsal of one of the greatest events of my life. That day I knew I was going to make my family proud when I became a college graduate. I went to the rehearsal at 1 p.m. to test the microphones, since I was to speak at the Adult High School Graduation Ceremony and later the College Commencement. I wasn’t nearly as nervous as I thought I would be. I felt great and more confident than ever. I was given the honor to speak at my graduation, which was a dream of mine.

The greatness began a couple of weeks before this though, when I went out West with my two uncles to look for inspiration. I found great inspiration driving through the Rocky Mountains, visiting Crater Lake, and writing my speech for graduation while a huge pelican swooped over my head. I found out my Great-uncle Garland graduated college after the age of 70, and I couldn’t have asked for more inspiration than that.

At 3:45 p.m. I showed up at UW-Parkside with my cap and gown on and ready to speak at the Adult High School Graduation when I found out I wasn’t to wear my cap and gown. Oops! I quickly had a wardrobe change and then walked with President Albrecht and the Board of Directors to the stage to address the graduates. I had a wonderful time and was received well by the crowd. I knew I would be ready to give my speech to my fellow graduates later on that night.

So, at 6:15 p.m. (I was supposed to be there at 6 p.m. Oops again!) I arrived back at UW-Parkside and waited with hundreds of graduates in a hot and steamy hallway. I was able to chat with a few of them and then we all marched to the auditorium together. Before I knew it, it was time for me to enter the stage and speak. I was a little nervous but quickly turned the nerves into motivation. I spoke to the crowd from my heart and was even able to watch my dad lift my daughter in the air when I mentioned her name. It was truly a great moment. I returned to my seat after speaking and then waited as it was time for me to become a Gateway graduate. I waited and finally had my name called and felt blessed and accomplished as I walked proudly across the stage. After all I’ve been through in my life; it was truly amazing what I accomplished.

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