by Speaker Judi Won Pat
Hafa Adai My Dear Graduates:
Our island, our region, and the rest of the world for that matter is better off today because thousands of our island residents have progressed in their educational journey towards becoming a more informed member of our society.
Someone in our family or in our workplace has rejoiced in their child, relative, or friend having met the requirements for promotion or graduation. Just imagine - well over 40,000 students from grades pre-k on through college level training at GCC or UOG, have either been promoted to the next grade level or topped-off the year as a newly minted graduate!
Be encouraged by the fact that as a pacific island community we continue to persevere despite the challenges that face us economically, socially, and politically. We persevere because we know that whatever the situation, whatever the time, and whoever the persons in positions to effectuate change, we know that it will be better.
Today is a great day because at the end of this academic year, many have emerged with having met the requirements for advancement. Today is great because we know that for all who have chosen to embrace education, it is the great equalizer. It is, in fact, the key that levels the field and unlocks all doors - those leading to personal or financial prosperity, and for many - religious fulfillment. It is the same key that releases us of our very own ignorance and of any form of oppression, if we will it to be.
What good is the mark of having met the requirements of graduation or promotion if we do not apply ourselves? The journey we take in receiving that diploma or college degree demonstrates to all that we are capable of communicating effectively and thinking critically about those questions put before us; albeit a question about math or science or those more closely related to the humanities.
But the challenge, "the question" I pose to all of you today is not a rhetorical one. It is a question that requires active research and application - today, and everyday hereafter until you feel the question has been answered to your satisfaction.
Ask yourself - where do I want to be in the future and how do I get there? You may modify the time frame, even the context.
Where do you want to be in your job, in your school, or as a community?
And how do you suppose you¹ll get there?
Every day your lawmakers in the Guam Legislature wrestle with these questions but in the context of our island community. The questions we deal with are the same ones I challenged you to answer for yourselves.
Where do we need to be as a People and how do we get there?
Where do we want to be in order to best provide for those
who¹ve retired and those who continue to serve?
For those who¹ve graduated from high school and those who¹ve received their college certificates and degrees, the island is your classroom. For all intents and purposes, you are "students of life" so continue to apply the skills and knowledge you acquired over the years and continue to distinguish yourself as an educated member of our society by looking at all the factors and then make an informed decision.
The final test in life is determining to what extent you¹ve answered that question of fulfillment. All I ask, on behalf of all those who¹ve made this island paradise their home, is that you keep Guam in mind. If you leave the island to further your education, find your way home and help make the island a better place because Guam is your home. Give back to the community that has given so much to you.
Your time to lead and change the world in which you live has arrived so be mindful and remember to pay tribute to those who¹ve made your journey and successes along the way possible. For those who¹ve reached that educational milestone this year, as a former public school administrator and teacher, as a mother and grandmother, and as a fellow student for - and of life - I commend you on a job well done.
Likewise, to those who continue to hold up our institutions of education, the family unit, and those who continue to hold up those who are on their path towards becoming more educated members of our society, I thank you for all you¹ve done.
Hasso I tano-ta. Hasso I taotao-ta.
Si Yu'os Ma'ase