Wheaton College Norton, Massachusetts
Wheaton College
Commencement Reunion

Greetings to the class

From Aaron Wajsgras

Vice President, Class of 2010:

Thank you, President Crutcher, Ms. Curry, and to all of our distinguished guests. And to everyone, friends, family and others, who came out to support our graduating class today. This turnout is incredible, and I am extremely honored to be up here.

Class of 2010, you know you've been congratulated a thousand times already today. But we worked pretty hard to get here, so one more time couldn't hurt.

Congratulations. We did it.

I was told a few weeks ago that I would be doing our graduation speech. I will admit, I was pretty anxious. I tried to think of different themes that might be interesting. I tried to think of funny punch lines. But trying to sum up our time at Wheaton in one short speech is an impossible task because there are so many great things that could be said.

A few days ago I ran into one of you, and you gave me some pretty good words of advice: "Aaron, just speak from the heart." So that's exactly what I will be doing.

It's now about four years since our freshman orientation. We were over at Haas that day and it was beyond hot. I am pretty sure it was a few degrees away from boiling. Even as uncomfortable as that moment was, we really recognized at that point everything our parents had tried to tell us. High school is officially over. We all had reservations that morning. Some were legitimate. Am I going to like this place? Did I make the right decision coming here? Will I make new friends? Are people going to like me? Some were not. I learned pretty quickly that clothes don't fold themselves.

Now, here we are again. Four years older and presumably four years wiser, about to start the next chapter of our lives. Some of us may be starting our first real job. Some of us may be going on to grad school, extending the inevitable for a few more years. Some of us may be taking some well-deserved time off, thanks to the economy.

But no matter which path we pursue, we can take comfort in knowing that we are as prepared as we can be as a result of the education that we received here at Wheaton. We are fortunate enough to be graduating from one of the finest institutions in the country, where our professors know us by name and not by number. Where our classmates became our friends, and where we were taught to be better students, better citizens and better people.

We came to Wheaton in 2006 as 400 individuals, and now we leave here together as a group, forever connected by our time here. We are now ready to face our challenges ahead. Wheaton instilled in us the process of how to think, the ability to apply concepts, and the power to put them both to good use. The professors at Wheaton have achieved their collective purpose. They taught us to ask questions and to think for ourselves.

Today is the manifestation of each of our individual accomplishments over these last four years. What we have had the privilege to experience in such a short time is something that many people in this country, and around the world, will never even have the opportunity to do. And we should consider it more than a privilege to say that we were a part of this school, where we have been given the confidence to always be at our best.

I am very humbled to say I have many family members in the audience with us today who have all given me great advice, including my grandfather Harry, who has always said, "Aaron, success starts from within. No one can hold you back when you are determined to succeed." And he should know. As someone who escaped Nazi Germany and went on to become one of the leading engineers on the Hubble telescope, I will never take his advice for granted.

As I conclude, I want to take this last opportunity to thank you, Wheaton College, on behalf of the graduating Class of 2010, for everything you have done for us over these past four years. Because of you we are prepared to succeed.

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