Each year a student is selected to address his or her fellow graduates. This year that student is Mr. Chad young. Chad is graduating with an Associate in Science degree. while a student at Kishwaukee, Chad has been the president of the Business Club, Treasurer of the National Society for Leadership and Success and member of Phi Theta Kappa International Honor Society Chad will be transferring to Northern Illinois University in January to continue his education in Accounting. Please join me in welcoming Mr. Chad Young to the podium. Thank you and good morning Dr. Borowicz, Bob Johnson, Board of Trustees, faculty, administration, staff, alumni, friends, family, and fellow graduating class of 2017. When I heard I was asked to speak at graduation, I wasn’t sure how to fit everything about Kish into only a few minutes. Kish has played a major part in our lives, so I want to shed light on the impact Kish had and continues to have on its students. I faced a few challenges during my first round of college, so when I came to Kish as a non-traditional student I understood the apprehension people feel about going back to school. Whether starting college for the first time, or going back after a break, college can be challenging. Thankfully, Kish provides an easy transition into higher education, due to the encouragement and support of caring faculty and staff. During my time here, I’ve learned that the two best ways to succeed are to take advantage of resources and actively participate in your education. When starting out, it’s good to get to know your instructors, and find someone to help guide you down the right path. As an accounting major, I was fortunate enough to learn from Everett Westmeyer. It’s hard to put in the words everything West has done for me and countless others over my past 2 years here. He encouraged me to step out of my comfort zone and take on new challenges. But more importantly, he encouraged me to become a tutor and get more involved on campus. That’s when I realized how much support Kish provides for its students. Services like TRiO, academic advising, and our Testing and Tutoring Center help students stay on track. Faculty and administrators at Kish listen to their students and work to make our feedback about campus a reality. New additions like the speech lab and updated Kish Café happened because faculty and administrators value our opinions. It’s important to recognize the effort faculty and staff put into motivating us to succeed. I’d also like to take this time to thank all of the friends and family in attendance here today, for everything you’ve done to encourage us to go farther. It’s because of your constant encouragement and support that we have developed both as students and as people. In addition to support, Kish has provided us with opportunities to get involved both on and off campus that have allowed us to grow in a myriad of ways. We learned how to balance school, work, and activities, found classes and subjects we love, and the school became a place we looked forward to coming to every day. We had the opportunity to participate in organizations like NSLS, Business Club, Phi Theta Kappa and so many others, which helped us become leaders in the campus community. Because Kish prioritizes experience and hands-on learning, I made contacts in the accounting profession by participating in the Mary T. Washington Wiley internship program. For many of you, Kish provided real-world experience and training in areas such as nursing, radiology, automotive technology, horticulture, computer programming, and so many others. But beyond just providing opportunities on campus, what really makes Kish shine is its focus on giving back to the local community. Efforts like the Green Team’s clean-up of local ponds, or faculty participation in Dekalb’s annual Kish Fest, demonstrate Kish’s emphasis on the community aspect of our “community college.” Kish has provided a lifetime worth of memories, as well as opportunities that will continue to guide us as we transition into our future careers and academic endeavors. As with any college experience, there were times that were tough, times we didn’t get enough (or any) sleep, and challenges that we had to overcome on the path to graduation. But with the support of our friends, family, fellow students, and instructors, our time at Kishwaukee proved to be an asset that is truly worth the investment. Congratulations Class of 2017!