A large and excited part of the Esperanza family gathered at the Esperanza Center last Friday, May 25, for the Commencement ceremony of the 2018 Esperanza College of Eastern University graduates. 42 students received their Associate’s Degrees in the areas of Accounting, Business Administration, Community & Human Services, Criminal Justice, Early Childhood Education, Health Sciences, Mathematics, Medical Assisting, and Natural Sciences, and 10 students earned a place in the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society for their academic excellence.
“This is our best time, because we get to see what the journey has brought you, and it has brought you victory,” Rev. Dean Elizabeth Conde-Frazier told the graduates. Dean David Hurtado noted that many of them have already committed to pursuing their education even further, and looked forward to two years from now when they would be graduating with their Bachelor’s Degrees. He encouraged the graduates to believe in their own academic potential and follow the example of the seven Esperanza College alumni who recently earned their Master’s Degrees. He also recognized 14 alumni of Esperanza Academy Charter High School who were graduating from Esperanza College.
“I plan to be a nurse anesthetist. The college’s name means “Hope” and that is exactly what Esperanza College has given me, hope to have a better future. I have loved every hour I’ve spent at Esperanza and I couldn’t be prouder to be a graduate from such a great school.” -Leandra Janet Rios
Taisha Ortiz, the valedictorian, addressed her classmates and encouraged them to consider the impact they can now have on their neighborhoods as college graduates. “We are now assets to our community,” she said.
“Esperanza College has been a liberating experience. I would have never thought that I would get my degree, but thanks to Esperanza I have achieved so much. Not only will I move up in my career but I’ve also become a role model and resource to my family and friends.” -Angélica Rivera
The keynote speaker, Rev. Dr. Rodney DeWitt Robinson-Rogers, touched on a similar theme, emphasizing the values of togetherness and community. “It’s not just about getting a job; it’s about adding value to your community. That sounds sacrificial, and it is,” he said. “What we’re talking about is identifying yourself as an agent of change. We need you to think transformationally and identify yourself as an agent of change.”
We are so proud of our graduates in the class of 2018, and we are excited to watch you continue to grow and help transform our communities!