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WGU Graduate Speaker, Jozelda Porter, Winter 2011

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WGU Graduate Speaker, Jozelda Porter, Winter 2011
Western Governors University
<p>Jozelda Porter was selected as a student speaker for Western Governors University's 2011 Winter Commencement Ceremony. Jozelda is a teacher from Jackson, Tennessee.</p> <p>Jozelda Porter earned a Master of Science, Educational Leadership degree.</p> <p>Transcription of video:</p> <p>Good morning. Today is a momentous day because it is the culmination of many months of hard work and determination. Our global society requires that we develop our skills as new and better processes develop. Technology provides an opportunity to complete training that we might not normally get to complete for various reasons.</p> <p>There are hundreds of online universities that promise to take you to the next level. But being a researcher by nature, I began my quest of finding the best online university. After carefully comparing the available choices, I found an awesome university called Western Governors. As an older student, I was apprehensive about being able to complete my assignments and get them submitted correctly, and meeting with my mentor or talking with him. Many of my friends have gone to online universities, and some of the horror stories had me a little spooked. </p> <p>However, to my delight, WGU was everything that these others were not. Everyone, from the enrollment counselor to the bursar, were very helpful. I was blessed with an amazing mentor who guided me through a very trying and difficult emotional time. I sincerely believe that had it not been for the kindness and compassion of the WGU faculty and staff, this day would not be happening for me.</p> <p>I started this journey in August 2009, and soon after my personal life began a downward spiral. First, because of restructuring in my district, I was moved to a different position, and this move cost me financially. So I began to worry if I could be able to complete it. But God worked it through for me.</p> <p>Not long after that, I suffered another blow. My mother was diagnosed with cancer, and the long battle began. I struggled with a hectic work schedule, a sick parent, and my coursework. The plus in all of this was that I could assess my schoolwork at any time of the day or night. So when I would normally have sleepless nights, I was able to complete my coursework. The professors were very helpful, and they always gathered me quickly in the right direction.</p> <p>The weekly calls from my mentor kept me focused and on track. I felt like I had my own personal team to motivate me to succeed. Each time I spoke with my mentor, he always told me I could make it. He was very supportive, and always worked to answer any problems that arose. The encouraging emails, the calls and all kept me pumped up enough to go on when I felt I could go no further.</p> <p>In December 2009, I watched as my mother lost her battle to cancer. Many days were spent between my home, the hospital, and work, but I grabbed every available moment to work on my task. I was very fortunate in that I spent my mother's last night with her. And I can remember in the hospital room her asking me what I was working on, and I expressed my concern that I might not be able to finish my program. She looked at me very sternly, even though she was very weak, and she said to me, "You will finish on time, because I didn't raise quitters." [Laughter]</p> <p>This was one of the darkest periods in my life, but my WGU family stuck beside me and encouraged me to run the race. On every hand, there was someone checking on me to assure I was where I needed to be. I felt like I was the only student that WGU had, and they were all pulling for me. When my mother passed, I really wanted to give up, but my amazing children, Erica, Tyrese, and Katie, refused to let me slip into an abyss. They were my strongest supporters. Not a day went by that they did not ask if I had logged into WGU, or if I had checked Taskstream to see what my evaluations where. [Laughter] My granddaughter, Katie, even made it a competition to see which of us would score the highest each week.</p> <p>The flexibility of WGU afforded me an opportunity to make a lifelong dream a reality. As the new year approached, I dove into my work with renewed determination, only to be faced with more setbacks. My daughter found out that she was expecting her second child, however, she was facing a life-threatening experience that could make her lose her life, as well as the baby's. But prayer saw us through it, and now I expect to see my new granddaughter, Addison, in April.</p> <p>Following this harrowing experience, yet more trouble found my address. My 25-year-old son was diagnosed with cancer. Needless to say, I was devastated, and I felt like the wind had been knocked out of me. I knew then that there was no way I would graduate, because I was consumed with grief and anxiety over my son. I called my mentor to explain what was going on, and he immediately began the process of getting me the help I needed. I felt like he went above and beyond what his job required. And I want to personally take this opportunity say to Alberto Flores, you are one of a kind and the best mentor that WGU has. Your compassion was unbelievable. [Applause]</p> <p>The amazing thing about WGU is that they make you feel like you're the most important thing in their day. You have unlimited resources, flexibility, and a group of people whose main goal is to help you succeed.</p> <p>Another outstanding faculty member, Dr. Lee Brown, was just as amazing as my mentor. From the very start, his advice was invaluable as I completed my capstone. At WGU, I found the courses to be challenging and relevant to today's educational issues. The course taught how to improve our educational system. WGU taught me how to be the best educational leader that I could be. Relevant situations enable me to see firsthand what my WGU training could do for me. Many times, I found myself in actual situations as they were presented in class. </p> <p>WGU is an awesome university that addresses the whole student. My training has opened many new doors for career improvement. I will be able to be a principle, a supervisor, or even a superintendent. Over the next few months, I will be deciding which position I want to accept.</p> <p>To my amazing children, my pastor and first lady, Abbott and Susan Simmons, to all of my brothers and sisters, and to my WGU family, I say a heartfelt thank you for making my dream a reality. I dedicate this moment to my mom, but most of all, I give all praise and glory to God. Thank you.</p> <p>[Applause]</p>
Western Governors University
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Original Format: 
Commencement Video
Digital Format: 
MP4 (Moving Picture Experts Group)