Here I am at 30 finally a bachelor, lol. My wife was the unsteady hand on the camera, you try getting a clear shot with a wiggling 2-year-old on your lap. It was a great day, August 25th, and a great place to have a graduation ceremony, the Unitarian Church on Franklin and Geary. I had a speech prepared, it was open mic, but I left it in Sadie's diaper bag, so I didn't get to use it. I hope that you enjoy it as much as I enjoyed writing it.
OPEN MIC SPEECH
New College of California has a special place in my heart today. When I told my friends that I would be speaking at an open mic graduation ceremony, they would look at me and say "How very New College." I have to say that this college is one of the most unique university experiences I have ever had. And to say that my cohort was a unique one would be a gross understatement. I truly got to study with some of the most interesting people that I have ever met.
Alcina, a mother of two with a passion for conflict resolution. Kd, a personal chef with a deep love of indigenous food culture. Letha, a mother from Mariposa with a heart of gold and a love for mapping the cultural exchange of the Silk Road. Noel, a poet whose words flowed like milk and honey, with a passion for Aikido and nonviolence. Fran, a Universal Sufi Minister with the divine mission to bring enlightenment to all. Gilbert, the actor with the goal of cataloging the Roxy Film Archive. Chris, the young man from Santa Cruz who got his kicks with permaculture. Marion, whose true love of the theater was as amazing as her ability with Dreamweaver. Young Hee, the critical mind who kept everyone on their toes, seeking something more that scaling half dome could give her. Michelle, the Texan who flew out every other weekend to grace us with her presence, whose deep devotion to G-d was evident in her every breath. And Sandy, the mother of us all with her Wacky Science experiments and beautiful presence.
Along the way we lost some, Letha and Chris graduated before most of us, and gained some, Michelle and Fran came to us in the last semester. However, the bond between us is still strong, we keep in touch with our Yahoo! Group, Cohort Alchemy. The name in itself is pretty self explanatory, we were a complex group of people with many different interconnected aspects and turned ourselves into a cohort. Though, it is much more than that, through much gnashing of teeth and pulling of hair we painstakingly turned ourselves into a cohort no matter where people went after the experience. A group of friends who will make it their life's work to keep in touch and update each-other on their joys, like Kd's recent wedding, and sorrows, like Michelle's fight to come out here for this graduation.
Through it all, we have remained individuals and true to ourselves, while still becoming part of a whole. I know that I will take this experience with me into the world on the other side of college, over the rainbow as it were. And move through the world with a purpose that encompasses not only my values but those of my friends, my cohort, my college.
How very New College, indeed.