Nine years? My VALEDICTORIAN memories
Text by: Gintarė Žarkova
Image by: HPU Hawai'i Pacific University TODAY, Winter 2011-2012
May 21, 2020    |    3 min read

recall truly very vividly the time when I was applying for my second master’s degree in the USA. It was the time when the 44th President-to-be Barack Obama was running for the office. I was writing/ polishing up my first master thesis to graduate from the Mykolas Romeris university and at the same time I was already submitting documents for my American dream education. So Barack was kind of running for the office for HIS dream while I was running for MY dream. And I recall that around the same time we got into OUR DREAMS OF YES I CAN. The first inauguration of Barack Obama as the 44th President of the United States took place on Tuesday, January 20, 2009, at the West Front of the United States Capitol in Washington, D.C. I received the CONGRATULATIONS Letter of Acceptance into the Hawai’i Pacific University Master of Arts in Diplomacy and Military Studies on the 28th of January, 2009 in a winterly Lithuania. Till this very day, many years later, I feel like it was yesterday. So my journey to pursue my American dream education began. That was THE best time of my studying life, my new experiences, my new horizons, my new ME. Since the first day I stepped into the program, I knew, I wanted to do my best. And I did. I wanted to graduate as valedictorian - the best of the graduate course - and I did. The valedictory speech I gave to the 3000 students, their parents (my Mommy came from Lithuania to my graduation ceremony), and all the people gathered was something I treasure till this very day. And I cannot really believe it is already 9 years since that spectacular day I got my second master’s degree. NINE YEARS since my speech. And everytime I hear Obama giving the commencement speeches for the graduate classes, I reminiscent immensely with whole beautiful moments my own time of when I stood up at the podium with my fancy gown and cap in Waikiki and inspired the whole graduate class of 2011. And I hope for the 10th anniversary of my valedictorian experience and graduation I will try to find the video, so you can hear what I had to say that magical day. 

To sum it up, I just read the speech my favorite USA president said at the commencement of the class OFGraduate Together: America Honors the High School Class of 2020 just 5 days ago. He said a lot of crucial inspiring elements but this captured my wholesome attention and heartbeats that “All those adults that you used to think were in charge and KNEW what they were doing? Turns out they don’t have all the answers. A lot of them aren’t even asking the right questions. So, if the world's going to get better, it going to be up to you."

Yes, indeed, it is always up to YOU how the world will turn tomorrow. So I will repeat myself again and again - always had your dream, go forward, believe in yourself because YES YOU CAN and everything is truly possible. For you and for me. Never doubt yourselves. Stay safe and healthy.


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Quote to inspire

“Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.” ― Dr. Seuss

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