Pictured above: Students of the Moving Ahead Program listen to their Instructor, Chris, give his speech during their Graduation Ceremony on June 23rd, 2017. Photo by Tony Irving.
On Friday, June 23rd the Moving Ahead Program graduated their 165th Class.
Graduation is an important part of each student’s journey. The ceremony signifies the end to the program but the beginning of new possibilities for their lives. It also means entry into an Alumni network of over 1,500 others who have been through many of the same experiences, a valuable piece as our students continue to explore their career paths more.
During the ceremony each student confidently took their spot at the podium, sharing with those in attendance what the program meant for them and what their hopes for the future were. Their Instructors stood by their side, just as they have for the last 14 weeks, helping the graduates get one moment closer to that better future. In their own speeches, our Instructors emphasized that while they have been there to support the students throughout the program, their success really comes down to one thing: Making the choice to succeed, or not to.
MAP’s Senior Instructor, Chris, elaborated on this idea in his speech to the graduates:
“The greatest strength a human has is the ability to make choices. Most of us do not realize how much personal power we freely give away to others to decide the course of our lives.
For the last 70 days you made the choice to do something in a particular way, influence your own behavior, and do something positive with your personal energy.”
He goes on to list all of the ways in which the students of this class have consistently made the sometimes difficult, but necessary decisions to continue moving on a positive path, and recounting the amount of work they had to do in order to get to this day.
The seven graduates have sat through nearly 336 hours of classroom instruction, over 100 hours of computer training, created 20 or more drafts of cover letters, resumes, and thank you letters and performed countless presentations. They’ve sent hundreds of applications out, managed competing priorities and practiced time management in order to make it to interviews on top of class requirements and personal obligations.
Beyond the classroom work, these students have been overcoming their own personal obstacles, many for the very first time- from sorting out long abandoned legal issues, collecting their vital documents, and solidifying their personal and family relationships- in order to set their paths straight.
To those who tell them they are lucky to have had this opportunity, Chris quotes Nadia Sahari: “It is by choice, and not by chances, that we change our circumstances.”