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WGU Graduate Speaker, Wynn Hall, Summer 2011

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WGU Graduate Speaker, Wynn Hall, Summer 2011
Western Governors University
<p>Wynn Hall was selected as a student speaker for WGU's 2011 Summer Commencement Ceremony. Wynn is from Phoenix, Arizona, and graduated with a B.A. in Science, Biology.</p> <p>Transcription of video:</p> <p>To me, today is such an emotional day…[Crying] as you can tell, because it means so much more than just getting a degree. It represents the end of many chapters of my life, and the opening for others. I have been working on my degree of and on since the year 2000, and I've been actively working with WGU for the last three years. </p> <p>The past 11 years since I began my question for a higher education, I have lived a lot of life, felt a lot of heartache and pain, yet never have I once thought about giving up my dreams to be a teacher; the inspiration for our future. I have always set goals for myself, and while those goals may have been postponed due to the trials and tribulations of life, I can say today that I have reached my first major goal, and look forward to the many more I hold within my heart.</p> <p>From the day I was born, my life has been tumultuous and has pushed me to become a stronger person. I was born just three months premature, weighing two pounds with just a five percent chance to live. My family didn't even name me for ten days, but when they did, they named me Wynn, which stands [Crying] -- which stands for "winner." Because I am a fighter, and I was not willing to give up on living before being able to lead a great life and inspire and encourage others.</p> <p>For most of my childhood, I suffered from emotional problems that ended up being both debilitating and life-threatening. It was a very difficult time for me and my family, but through extensive therapy, the love of my family, teachers that never gave up on me, and relentless determination, I decided I would be someone. It was then that I realized if I could be such a powerful affliction, that I can do anything. I've never given up on that belief, and it fuels me daily.</p> <p>Through tireless effort, I was able to graduate from high school on time. Walking down the stage that day meant I am alive and I will succeed. I decided soon after that that I wanted to become a high school teacher so that I could help students to realize that they are capable of anything, no matter what life throws their way. I decided I wanted to be that teacher, the teacher that all students remember because of her caring and respect, her high aspirations and expectations for them, and because she never gave up on them.</p> <p>Because I had grown up a very troubled youth, I knew I wanted to make a difference in the lives of children and give them the tools to blossom as I did. I knew I wanted to work with secondary students because this represents a time in their lives where they are finding their identity, shaping their future, and deciding what affect they would like to have upon their world.</p> <p>I became unexpectedly pregnant during my first semester in college right when I had decided I wanted to travel the world doing study abroad programs. I would have my doctorate by the time I was 25. Boy, did I have a lot to learn about how life can change. Within the next four years, I had married and had two more boys, and continued to work slowly on my degree.</p> <p>A few years later, I became a single mother with three boys to raise and dreams to catch. After struggling to create a balance between work, school, and my children, I decided to find an online program. I was elated to find that WGU offered a highly accredited degree program in secondary science education, my passion. In the midst of my degree program, I got married to the love of my life, whom also happens to have three children. Before I knew it, we became the Brady Bunch. [Laughter]</p> <p>We were ecstatic to buy our own house that all eight of us could comfortably live in, however, just two weeks after moving in we lost about half of our income and were forced to give up our home and lose pretty much everything. Finally, during the last 12 months of my degree program, I had to have three surgeries, the final operation being brain surgery. This was a very difficult time for my whole family, as they almost lost me several times. I spent 23 days in intensive care because of complications, and was forced to spend about another four weeks in bed.</p> <p>Yet even with all of life's complications, I managed to complete two years worth of coursework during the final nine months, and have maintained 100 percent academic success throughout my entire program. [Applause]</p> <p>I had a burning determination to finish my degree program by May so that I could begin teaching this upcoming August. Even though at 19 during my first semester in college, though I had it all figured out and would have my doctorate's by 25, now at 29 I couldn't be more proud – [Crying] sorry -- to be receiving my first bachelor's degree.</p> <p>Therefore, today celebrates never giving up hope, never releasing my dreams to the wind. Today means that I will be able to instill the same determination to succeed in my students. Today commemorates my unending strength to become something better. Today is a day for my six children to watch me walk down the stage to see that all my hard work has paid off, and that they can look forward to the same success. Today, my mother and father can be proud that a daughter they once thought would not live to graduate high school has triumphed against all odds because they never gave up hope. Today is a day to recognize that we are all powerful, that we are all masters of our own success, our own destiny, and our own affect upon the lives of others.</p> <p>I want to thank WGU for creating such a wonderful program that has helped us all succeed, and has genuinely prepared us for our careers. I would also like to thank my mentor, Leon [Inaudible], for always being available, providing me guidance, and always helping me to push on.</p> <p>I want to thank my family for having faith in me, especially my mother and my father, who are my heroes. Most importantly, I want to thank my husband for supporting me emotionally and financially towards my goals, and putting up with all the seemingly endless nights of staring at the back of my head buried in computer or books.</p> <p>And to end, a favorite quote of mine by Rabbi Hillel which signifies my life: "I get up. I walk. I fall down. Meanwhile, I keep dancing." [Applause]</p> <p>[Applause]</p>
Western Governors University
© 2017 Western Governors University – WGU. All Rights Reserved.
Original Format: 
Commencement Video
Digital Format: 
MP4 (Moving Picture Experts Group)