UW-Rock grads get good advice at commencement
JANESVILLE For graduates at UW-Rock County, it was a night of advice, beginning with last-minute instructions for what to do during their commencement ceremony.
“Smile, smile, smile! It will be hot as Hades up on the stage. Smile anyway,” said Karen Greenler, student services coordinator, just before the students marched into the Kirk Denmark Theatre.
“You guys have done great. You’ve earned this. … Just enjoy it,” Greenler added.
“I encourage you to go on from here and get as much education as possible,” was the advice from librarian and educator Laurie Bartz, who was named UW-Rock’s Distinguished Alumna for 2013.
UW Colleges Chancellor Ray Cross’s speech was about his “Ray’s Rules for Life.” The rules:
- Refuse to grow up.
- If somebody hands you a breath mint, take it, because you might need it. The same goes for criticism.
- You have to get in the game if you want to play, so be ready when the opportunity presents itself.
- Dream, but don’t sleep while you’re dreaming.
Among the graduates who listened or dreamed during the speeches were stories of determination, hard work and overcoming obstacles. They included these:
- Tammy Davies, who, like many of the graduates, owed thanks to the college faculty and staff but also to her family.
Davies, who gave one of the speeches, told of giving birth to a daughter just a week before the 2012 spring semester began. She never missed a class, thanks to her family.
“They provided me the help I needed, no questions asked,” she said.
- Ami Christophersen, who has landed herself an internship in the office of Sen. Tammy Baldwin, D-Wis., in Washington, D.C., this summer before heading to UW-Oshkosh to get a degree in political science.
“I want to create change,” she said when asked about her choice of majors.
- Brenda Aranda of Delavan, who is the first in her family to go to college. She will continue her studies in accounting, as so many of her fellow grads, at nearby UW-Whitewater.
“They’re very proud of me,” she said of her family, who surrounded her after the ceremony.
- Rocio Aburto of Edgerton, the mother of three girls and one boy, ages 4-15, who will attend UW-Whitewater.
Aburto said she decided to try college and become a teacher because of her experiences as a Sunday school teacher and a bilingual assistant in the Edgerton School District.
“I never thought I was going to get through this, but with the help of my family, professors, I was able to,” she said.
“Thanks to God, all is possible,” she added.