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David De Jesus Student Commencement Speaker

David De Jesús Student Commencement Speech Saturday, May 18, 2013

President Glenn, Board of Trustees, faculty, administration, guests, and fellow graduates:
Thank you for selecting me to represent you as the student commencement speaker today. This is
a privilege I never expected to receive, and I feel beyond elated that you’ve honored me with this

In preparation for this speech, the one common piece of advice I received was “just be
yourself, and speak from the heart.” Therefore, before anything I must give honor and glory to
my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Without Him, none of this would be possible for me. Now, as I
stand here today and look out at this amazing view of the graduating class, I realize that many of
you know nothing about me. Well, that’s easy to solve because there’s not much to know. I’m
just an average guy from Lawrence who loves God, loves his wife, and loves music! I’m an
ordinary guy with extraordinary dreams.

It’s those very dreams that brought me back to school. After graduating from Greater
Lawrence Technical High School in 1996, I decided to try my hand at Mechanical Engineering at
UMASS-Lowell. Well, let’s just say that my first year at UML was an epic failure. Although
there were many factors, the biggest reason I failed was that I simply had no passion for
engineering. I hold the profession in high regard, but it just wasn’t for me. See, I believe that
whatever you do in life, you have to love it. If you don’t love what you do, then it becomes just
another boring, mundane job. Anyway, after that horrific first year of college, I joined the
workforce, and struggled through the next thirteen years, alternating between dead-end jobs and

All the while, I prayed that if I got a second chance at college, I would only go back to
study music, since I realized this is my true calling in life. That second chance finally arrived in
David De Jesús Student Commencement Speech Saturday, May 18, 2013

2010. During the spring semester, I scheduled individual meetings with nearly all the music
department faculty in hopes of determining whether or not the music program at Northern Essex
would meet my needs. Although my ultimate goal was always Berklee College of Music, I
needed to rebuild confidence in my own abilities, especially after my epic failure at UML. I
needed a school that would give me the college experience on a slightly smaller scale, and a
music program that would prepare me effectively for the next level of college music studies.

After much deliberation, I committed to the music program here at Northern Essex.
I entered in the fall of 2010, and quickly realized how difficult pursuing my dream would
be. Juggling school, a full-time job, as well as home and church commitments was no easy task. I
have to thank God for an employer that allowed me to work at night, which meant I could take
all my music classes during the day. I am also especially grateful for the ability to take classes
online. Having the ability to turn in assignments at any time on the due date was a huge blessing.
Of course, I won’t miss giving up my Saturday nights to do homework when I could have been
jamming with some musician friends, or enjoying a night on the town with my wife. Still,
without the distance learning division of Northern Essex, I definitely would not be graduating

I came to Northern Essex simply looking to regain my academic confidence, expand my
musical knowledge, and prepare for life as a student in a major college music program. What I
leave with today is so much more than I could ever ask for. I can honestly say that I thank God
for my coming to Northern Essex. Not only have I gained the confidence and skills I was looking
for, but I’ve also gained a family of faculty, staff, and administrators that have given me valuable
assistance, and helped make my time at Northern Essex a great success. And now, as I get ready
to continue my music education at Berklee College of Music, I’d like to express my sincerest
thanks to Dr. Langer, and the entire Northern Essex music department faculty, for showing me
that I still have much to learn about music. I’d also like to extend my appreciation to Karen
Mitchell and the entire PACE staff, for providing me with useful tools and information on my
path towards academic and career excellence.

Finally, to my fellow graduates: Each and every one of you has overcome many obstacles
to get here today, but you’ve made it! This is not a moment that many people get to experience.
Whether your academic journey ends here, or if you plan to continue beyond this point, be proud
of what you’ve accomplished. But don’t let it stop here. Use the skills and knowledge you’ve
learned here, and go make a positive difference in the world. Always keep moving forward! And
as you continue to work towards a better life for yourself and your loved ones, don’t forget to
contribute to make this world a better place. And remember what the Scriptures say, “And let us
not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.”

Congratulations graduating class of 2013. I wish you all the best in everything you do, and may
God bless you all! Thank you.