EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Merrimack Valley

May 19, 2013

'It's never too late to pursue your dreams'


Glenn talked about a few graduates, including Letoya “Apollo” Mburu, a Kenyan native who graduated with high honors and a degree in nursing.

“Apollo has discovered that health care is his calling,” Glenn said.

Some graduates faced personal challenges, Glenn said, such as Zachary Rice of Derry, N.H., who graduated with a lab science degree with high honors and from the college’s rigorous Honors Program. Rice, 30, had a job making countertops, then in 2009 he suffered an injury that forced him to make a career change.

“Zach now calls his tragedy ‘the best thing that ever happened to me,’” Glenn said.

Rice plans to continue his education this fall at the University of New Hampshire and study environmental science or chemistry.

“The amount of attention I got from my advisers and professors was incredible,” Rice told The Eagle-Tribune. “They were always uplifting and always there for me.”

In his student commencement speech, David DeJesus referred to himself as “just an average guy from Lawrence who love God, loves his wife and loves music.”

DeJesus, a talented guitarist who graduated with an associate degree in General Studies, Music Option, with high honors, said dreams of a better life led him to Northern Essex after struggling in the workforce for 13 years, “alternating between dead-end jobs and unemployment.”

DeJesus, who plans to continue his education at Berklee College of Music, told his class “it’s never too late to pursue your dreams.”

“Use the skills and knowledge you’ve learned here and go make a positive difference in the world,” DeJesus said. “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 to live.”

Yesterday’s featured speaker, Carmen Ortiz, the U.S. Attorney for the District of Massachusetts, told graduates they were blazing a trail and creating a legacy that will be an inspiration to friends and family. Ortiz, the first woman and the first Hispanic U.S. Attorney in Massachusetts, said that when she applied for the job she had doubts and wondered if she could overcome the odds against her being chosen.

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