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WGU Graduate Speaker, Salomon Torrescano

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WGU Graduate Speaker, Salomon Torrescano
Western Governors University
<p>Saturday, June 8, 2019 WGU Commencement in Anaheim, California. Salomon Torrescano was a graduate speaker. Salomon Torrescano earned a Master of Business Administration, Healthcare Management degree.</p> <p>Transcription of video:</p> <p>Spencer Stewart: And now we have the privilege of hearing from two graduates. They are Kathleen Satumbaga, Master of Science Nursing Leadership and Management from San Antonio, Texas. And Salomon Torrescano [cheers] yes, Master of Business Administration Healthcare Management, right here from Palm Springs, California. [Applause] </p> <p>Salomon Torrescano: Good morning everyone. There's so many of you. [Chuckles] Let me start off by saying that I never thought I would be standing here today. Like many of you, there were many days that I thought I would never make it to this point. But with hope and perseverance, and the support of so many, I was able to get past many difficult moments. </p> <p>Hope and perseverance are why I decided to share my story with all of you. The thought of opening up so publicly about my life was really nerve wracking and filled with second thoughts. In those times of doubt, I remembered the words of my friend, Jay, "All of us have a story worth sharing, you never know who you may touch." </p> <p>My story began in 1986 in a barrio of East Los Angeles, California. I was born to a beautiful, hard working Mexican immigrant woman who at the time hardly spoke a word of English. Despite being a single mom, she always gave me enough love for two. She worked hard to give me her all, and I'm forever grateful. </p> <p>In my early teenage years I realized that I was different from many of my friends. I couldn't really put my finger on it until I saw an episode of "The Maury Povich Show." [Laughter] And no, I didn't get a paternity test. [Chuckles] </p> <p>The episode was about a guy who came out to his parents as gay. When he told his parents, they gave him a hug and accepted him. Seeing this made me realize that I wanted that. I want the most important woman in my life to accept me for who I am. So I figured I would tell my mom. My reasoning was that she would react just like that guy's parents did on the show. </p> <p>Well, it didn't quite work out that way for me. I came out to my mom at the age of 13. Unfortunately, she was not as open as she is today, and I was completely heartbroken. This caused many arguments between us, my life turned completely upside down, and I spiraled into self destructive behavior, eventually landing in the foster care system. </p> <p>While I was in the system, I bounced around between different homes, group homes, and institutions. Being in foster care was a mixed bag of good and bad experiences. By the age of 15, I had developed a substance abuse problem, and hit my lowest point. Around this time I found the support that I was missing through my two counselors, best friends, and mentors: Bob and Orlando; two of the most wonderful people I know. </p> <p>With their help, I emancipated from the foster care system, got clean and sober, and was able to start fresh. They encouraged me to pursue a career in health care leadership, which eventually brought me to WGU. </p> <p>As a working student, WGU's flexible model allowed me to succeed. The support of my mentors Michelle and Christina helped me throughout the whole process. Without them, I don't know if I would've made it this far. </p> <p>I'm grateful for WGU. This is now my second degree with the university, and I've found that from my mentors, my course instructors, pretty much everyone at WGU has supported me. </p> <p>Throughout my journey, the importance of support has been instrumental and given me the confidence to change my life. I have even felt the support of love once more no longer with us, such as my friend Jay. </p> <p>I met Jay in my teens while I was in foster care. He was a kind spirit, always encouraging me to speak up and believe in myself. Unfortunately, he wasn't as lucky as I was and didn't make it past his addiction. I know he kept an eye out for me, and helped put me on the path that led me here today. </p> <p>Today, things are very different. My mother has grown to accept me for who I am. She still struggles, but I believe the love of her son has allowed her to move past that. [Applause] </p> <p>She's actually here with us today. Where is she? Hello, Mama. [Applause] There she is. [Chuckles] She knew I was graduating but didn't know I was actually going to speak today, much less what I was going to say, so I may be in trouble after this, I'm not sure. [Laughter] And she definitely understands now, so. </p> <p>Bob and Orlando, my partner Fabio, and several close friends are also here today. Whether you can relate to the depth of my story or not, we've all had our struggles. But we have also seen the fruit of our hope and perseverance. I enrolled in WGU because I want to make a difference. I want to make a difference in someone's life as others have done for me. </p> <p>As we celebrate today, let us remember how we got here. Let us reaffirm why we did it. And finally, let's aim to make a difference. You never how your life may impact another's no matter how small you think your action is. </p> <p>One thing that I want to say to you as we move on to the next stage of our lives is this: You are worth it. Never give up. Always have hope. And pay it forward. You are the difference that can change the world. Congratulations on graduating today, class of 2019, it's an honor. [Cheers and applause] </p> <p>Today is your day so thank you everyone. [Cheers and applause] </p>
Western Governors University
© 2019 Western Governors University – WGU. All Rights Reserved.
Original Format: 
Commencement Video
Digital Format: 
MP4 (Moving Picture Experts Group)