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WGU Graduate Speaker, Elaine Pacoy, Summer 2012

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WGU Graduate Speaker, Elaine Pacoy, Summer 2012
Western Governors University
<p>Elaine Pacoy of Van Nuys, California, and graduated with her B.S. in Nursing (BSN) from online university Western Governors University. She spoke at WGU's 23rd commencement ceremony in Salt Lake City on July 14, 2012, where more than 3,300 graduates were celebrated.</p> <p>Elaine moved with her family to the United States from the Philippines when she was 18 years old, as her parents saw here the opportunity for Elaine and her brother to earn a better college education and a brighter future. Elaine started her first American job just a few days after arriving in the States and has worked full time ever since, including while attending community college to become a registered nurse and while earning her BSN at WGU. The Los Angeles hospital where Elaine works recommended WGU for her continued education, and earning her BSN helped her earn a raise. She plans to continue to advance at work, applying what she learned at WGU, and to return for her M.S. in Nursing degree soon.</p> <p>Transcription of video:</p> <p>Good morning to all my fellow graduates, esteemed mentors, staff and faculty of Western Governors University, as well as to all the friends and family who are here to support their respective graduates.</p> <p>First of all, I would like to express my gratitude to everyone who made WGU possible. To have a university whose mission is to expand access to higher education by allowing students to fit education into their lives and not the other way around is indeed, such a blessing.</p> <p>I had been a registered nurse for over three years when I came across WGU. The thought of going back to a brick and mortar school to pursue my RN to BSN degree would mean altering schedules at work and at home for the next two years. This was and I believe still is the biggest reason why many nurses do not pursue higher education. But WGU changed everything. WGU's competency-based system has motivated me to pursue my bachelor's in nursing as I'm sure it has motivated others to pursue higher education in their fields as well.</p> <p>I am grateful that the school allows students to set their own pace in completing their degrees. For me, it meant that I could put in extra effort and complete my program quickly, so that I could get back to my life. Was it easy? Of course, not. Who are we kidding, right? It took extreme hard work and dedication. There were definitely a lot of sleepless nights as I'm sure all the graduates here can attest to, but in the end it was all worth it.</p> <p>Just to share a little background about me, my parents came to America from the Philippines ten years ago in hopes of a better future for me and my brother. My brother and I who then followed two years later. When we got reunited, I finally asked them why they didn't take us with them when they first arrived in Los Angeles. Little did I know, that my parents literally started from scratch when they first came and did not know a single soul who could help them with the transition. And therefore, had a very challenging life that they did not want for me or my brother to experience.</p> <p>My parents would call us from the Philippines every single weekend and we would always talk for an hour or so. This had become routine for us as we did this for two years straight. Little did I know that my mom was using a pay phone every time she called us, since they could not afford to pay for a home phone or a cell phone at that time. I can't even begin to imagine the scorching summer heat or the very cold winter that they had to bear just so they could talk to my brother and me.</p> <p>Now, thinking back to all those phone calls, not once did I ever hear them make a complaint. Instead, they were always just cheerful and have only shared good news. In life, there always heroes that we look up to. It could be someone close to us such as a family member. It could be a friend, a teacher, or a certain someone who has given us the inspiration and motivation to push us to where we are now. For me, it would be my parents. To say that they struggled just to give me and my brother the best education is an understatement and for that, I would like to take this opportunity to honor them today. Mom and Dad, you have indeed taught me the true meaning of perseverance and because of that you are my heroes. [Applause]</p> <p>There is this quote by Napoleon Hill that my parents always use. It says, "Whatever the mind can conceive and believe, it can achieve." Achieving a bachelor's degree so quickly, not only made me realize that, yes, anything is possible, but now, I constantly challenge myself to a higher goal.</p> <p>I know that for most of us earning a new degree means a new promotion or maybe a new career and the journey ahead could already prove to be challenging, but I urge you my fellow graduates, and everyone who are here that if you are not already doing so, challenge your minds, and I promise you, you will be surprised to where it will take you. Congratulations to all the graduates.</p> <p>[Applause]</p>
Western Governors University
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Original Format: 
Commencement Video
Digital Format: 
MP4 (Moving Picture Experts Group)