CSUN 2012 Commencement: Michael D. Eisner College of Education

Uploaded by CSUNSDIP on 15.06.2012

>> Good afternoon. Please welcome to the stage
students from the college of education deaf studies
department. To sign our national anthem.
They are led by faculty coordinator Allisun Kale,
our lead student signers are Leah Bornstein and Patrick Weeks.
Our student signers this evening are Lauren Barbosa,
Lucy Capurro, Rebecca Contreras, Christie Fryan, Esteban Gomez,
Jessica Huntzinger, Theresa Kolkebeck, Denise Mammen, Kristin Martinez,
Natalie Megerdichian, Micah Perez, Monique Schumann, Rebecca Schulze,
Patti Schafer, Stephanie Smart, Michelle Swanson, Heather Urban,
Candice Williams and Martha Yasuda.
>> Please remain standing while the California State University
Northridge Jazz "A" Band under the direction of professor Matt
Harris plays the national anthem.
Allison Kale and the graduates from the deaf studies department
will be signing accompanied by Ameena Khawhaja.
[Singing of National Anthem]
>> Please be seated.
>>For the deaf studies graduates as well as all the graduates.
Congratulations. You did it.
Good evening, I welcome you
to the 2012 commencement exercises for the
Michael D. Eisner College of Education.
Commencement is a significant occasion for all of us
especially in a year when one of our very own has been named the
national teacher of the year.
We are honored to have our
students, their families and friends join with us in today's
celebration. It was a privilege to have you
as students and we thank you for studying with us.
I'm confident you are well prepared to work in our schools
and agencies. Celebrating this occasion with
us today are university officials and distinguished
guests. I would like to introduce those
who are on the platform. Interim president Harry Hellenbrand.
The 2012 national teacher of the year, Rebecca Mieliwocki.
And our campus leadership, department chairs,
and honored guests. I thank all of our colleagues
and guests for being with us.
As we begin we remind you that the aisles must be kept open and
you stay until the end of the ceremony.
I'm pleased to recognize at this time Dr. Harry Hellenbrand,
interim president of California State University Northridge who
brings greetings.
>> Consider these numbers.
They tell you much about what you have achieved and the
challenges that you face ahead. In the large cities of America
these days for every 10 students who begin high school, 7
graduate. Those 7 who graduate, 4 go on to
do advanced work at the college, technical college or community
college level. Those 4, 1 will graduate with a
BA or BS. And of that 1, .33 will get an
advanced degree. So first I want to assure you
that we are deeply proud of the work you've achieved and you
deserve a round of applause for beating the odds so
>> But in that achievement and in that pride,
there's reason for great humility.
Few of us would be here today had an ancestor not made the
dark and troubling voyage to this new world and this golden
state. Few of us would be here today
had a parent, a brother, a sister, an uncle, an aunt not work
an extra shift, taking an extra job, picking an extra bushel.
Few of us would be here had a friend not held out a hand and
said follow me or had another friend who not held out an arm
and said, don't be like me. Few of us would be here today
were it not for a teacher who showed us how to do the work.
Few of us would not be here today if not for a coach
who said I know you can do it. Go ahead and try.
This is an era where we become expert at splicing our DNA and
chasing our genetic origins but we forgot our intercultural and
social indebtedness to one another.
And that is an important thing for us to remember.
I close by reminding us all of what we have achieved.
Reminding us all that when we look at ourselves individually
in the mirror, we each seem to be an continent and individual
isolation but when we step back and look at ourselves from afar,
we see that each one of us is actually an Archipelago of
islands of influence by others who have shaped us over a period
of time. You stand here today before us
individually who has achieved individually in one sense but in
another sense each one of us here today is a microcosm of we
the people and when we graduate you, we are celebrating we the
people and the support that has made you what you are.
So as you go forward, I ask you to continue to achieve and to
work with others so that you could expand your circles of
influence and improve those odds that I mentioned before so out
of those 10 students who begin high school, 10 graduate as we
perfect education in United States of America.
God be with you and God bless you today.
>> As I shared at the beginning of the ceremony, one of our very
own, Ms. Rebecca Mieliwocki, has been chosen as the 2012 national
teacher of the year. Many of you have witnessed the
wonderful job she did in accepting an award from
President Obama. She represents everything that
is right about teaching and teachers in America, most
importantly she exemplifies a caring professional who puts
kids and families first. Without further ado, it is my
great pleasure to introduce Rebecca Mieliwocki.
>> I've been to these things before.
they usually take about 16 hours.
I thought I'd have a few hours before I was on, but I guess
not. Thank you, president, interim
president Hellenbrand, thank you dean Spagna, thank you the class
of 2012 for inviting me to be here with you today.
It's my great honor. This is my first commencement
address. I know, right?
I would think it's appropriate to start this with a
moment of silence. During which you would be wise
to lower your expectations.
[Moment of silence]
That about does it. Good.
All right. So like I said this is my first
commencement address and it caps off a really thrilling week of
communication with young people, and I want you to know your
place in this important and hallowed week so I thought I
would share my week with you. You see I teach seventh grade.
Today was my last day and it's maturity week in middle school
and in case you don't know what that means, it means in the
science class there's some really special lessons going on.
>> Those lessons generate more questions than they answer and
being the good team teacher that I am I seek to help Mr. Lundy
answer some of the deep -- I won't say probing it's
inappropriate -- questions that have kids have a so this week I
got to talk about why do I have so much hair down there.
And why is it so small. And…
And Rebecca Mieliwocki, what is a booty call?
>> On Tuesday I got to explain
to poor Jasmine why she won't be getting a passing grade on her
renaissance research paper because one, it's ripped entirely from that
August font of wisdom, Wikipedia and, two, I'm pretty certain
that Michelangelo did not paint the ceiling of the 16th chapel.
I check Yes net, it was the 17th. Get your facts right Jasmine.
On Wednesday I got to call Mrs. Jackson and say that it
appeared that her daughter came to school without pants on only to find
out that, no indeed that 4 inch, little scrap of fabric covering that
12-year-old's pelvis was the skirt she was sent out the door in.
Awkward. And today, Thursday here I am
with you expected to deliver some profound and motivational
words of wisdom as you go on your journey.
And I just want to say that for your sake and mine, I hope it
goes a lot better than the rest of my week has.
So seeing this is my first address, I did a lot of research.
You've been doing a lot of research.
I did a lot of research and I YouTubed a whole bunch of
commencement addresses and I found out that in
addition to being motivational and wonderful and inspiring,
they all had one thing in common.
They were all 20 minutes. Steve Jobs, God rest his soul,
20 minutes. Maria Shriver's last week, 20
minutes, Barak Obama's, Mitt Romney's, Will Ferrell's,
Conan O' Brien's… everyone's 20 minutes.
And yet in every pre-commencement conversation with dean Spagna he
reiterated that I would have 10 minutes, 10. Not 11, not 12,
10, 9 actually, 8 would be preferable… 10.
And at first I tried not to be offended.
I mean, my God I'm not a celebrity or anything and then
it dawned on me, I'm so glad I work in education.
I'm used to getting the results everyone gets with half the
[Cheers, Applause]
But I've already wasted two of my 8 minutes so I'm going to
go ahead and go on. I was recently named the
national teacher of the year at the White House by our
president, President Obama. What a moment!
Oh, my gosh!
>> Girls, he's everything you imagine him to be, he's tall,
handsome, gentlemen, he was genuine, real, authentic
and he was a nice man. Also reelectable, I believe.
And… He was so generous to invite me to his house, our
house really to receive that honor, one that I share with
millions of amazing teachers across this nation and that day
was a highlight. But I have to tell you, 15 years
ago when I walked off this campus, with my credential and
into my classroom, that felt like home.
Being in my classroom is home for me.
You see, the central truth of my life and probably yours is that
I'm a teacher. It's my passion.
It's my calling. It's what I am supposed to be
doing. It is a deeply challenging and
ultimately so satisfying swirl. Speaking of swirls, teaching is
in many ways the educational and emotional equivalent of White
Water rafting. Periods of calm are occasionally
interrupted with frantic bursts of turbulence,
boredom mixes with excitement beauty and reflection mixed with
doubt, disappointment, hesitation.
There are moments of exhilaration followed by
near-death encounters. Some days you're going to
confidently navigate the treacherous rapids but others,
the entire boat capsizes. I mean, you go into it, right,
well prepared, excited, dry. You endure 1,000 different
challenges each one different from the next and you gather
skill and confidence along the way.
And you are going to get tossed and tumbled by that experience.
The river, well, it spits you out at the end, exhausted,
crawling on your hands and knees up that shore kissing every
blessed rock along the way. And realizing that you're so
thankful to be alive and you swear to yourself, I'm never
going to do that again. But you know what?
The next day dawns and it's fresh and filled with promise
and possibility and you say, anything that's really that good
or any good at all deserves another go.
And so you go back to the river. This is teaching.
To be more specific, that's the first day of teaching.
Yeah. But despite all the turmoil, all
the thrills and chills there's glory there.
Real glory and you will be blessed and honored to return to
that river day after day. As an English teacher, I have
spent my fair share of time in metaphor junction so if you'll
permit I'm going to run with this whole White Water rafting
with you not to be glib, no because when you work in
education it ends up being a pretty apt metaphor.
You're about to take a trip on the lifetime and you've already
took so many steps for your journey. Look at you here you are degree
nearly in hand. This is such a proud moment for
you, for your families and for this university,
But before you go, there are
a few things I'd like you to consider.
No matter where in education you begin your journey, you're going
to be in the same boat with lots of like-minded individuals who
want to do what you want to do. And they've chosen to go on the
same journey with you. Make sure you honor their
compassion, their commitment and their dedication just as much as
you do your own. A friendly smile, an
outstretched hand, a warm genuine welcome to all who climb
aboard are an absolute must. Whatever you do, once you shove
off, you all got to row in the same direction or you're not
going to get anywhere very fast. Identify your goals, create a
vision of success, and then cooperate and collaborate until
you get there. Talk to one another, help your
colleagues, learn from them, teach them, listen to them,
speak the truth to them even when doing so is uncomfortable.
Make each other look good. Because if you do, you're going
to get exactly where you meant to go and you're going to look
good doing it. It helps on this journey if you
bring an experienced guide, someone who has gone down this
river before. Someone who has the wisdom and
the wherewithal to share with you that wisdom at the moment
that it can do you the most good.
Find them. They're waiting for you.
I wish I could say they're in the faculty lunchroom but they
probably aren't. These people are busy.
They're in their classrooms working on their lessons,
they're in their classrooms at lunch helping kids.
They're out on campus making their school the best school it
can be. They're busy people but find
them. They're out there waiting for
you. They will help you become the
you you're supposed to be and they'll help you guide there
expertly so please find them. You got to have a cooler.
You got to have a cooler. And it's got to be full of
things that nourish and sustain you and I think some of you have
already taken my advice as I look out in the stands.
So that's a good thing. Eat well.
Exercise. Read.
Travel, do all the things that make you an amazing person and
an incredible teacher to have. Whatever you do, do not become
the job. Let the job become a beautiful
reflection of the unique person that you are.
You're going to encounter dangerous rapids, you're going
to hit some rocks. The boat's going to tip over and
you're going to fall overboard. It happens.
It's not going to kill you. You've got to -- you will be
embarrassed by your mistakes. You'll be humbled and even
humiliated. You might lose your job.
You're going to -- it will be okay.
Learn from your mistakes. Get better.
That's all we can ask of anybody.
Learn from your mistakes. And when you've come up for air,
reach back to the boat because you'll see dozens of
outstretched arms waiting to pull you back to safety.
It's happened to all of us. We've all been there.
You'll be okay. But most importantly, remember
from time to time, to look up from what you're doing, your
life's work and see the beauty that surrounds you.
Really see it. Take time to look at what it is
you're doing. See the hope, the pride, the
expectation in the faces of the children you'll teach, and the
colleagues with whom you'll do your life's work and in the
parents whose children's futures you shape.
Take it in. Really marvel at the beauty, the
power, the responsibility that you have as an educator.
It is an amazing thing. Each child, each lesson, each
day that you spend in the service of educating another
human being is your opportunity to change the world, to create
the better world we all want to live in.
And to form the futures we leave our children and theirs.
Take time to look up and see the work you're doing.
This is your life's work. This is the river you return to.
Now, I'm not certain if my metaphor held up and I suppose
if it didn't, then I can only leave you with this.
That in my foolish attempts to paint a bigger picture for you,
what it all boils down to is essentially very, very simple.
Work hard, stay curious, get better at your job every day.
Surround yourself with great people, respect every person you
teach but please love them even more.
Ennoble this professions with your efforts and be kind to
everyone but by God have fun. You are about to go on a ride of
a lifetime. Congratulations for all you have
done to get this far in your journey and my great good luck
to you as you travel on. Thank you so much.
>> So the committee chose well, Rebecca.
Congratulations! And since you graduated from
CSUN, you might not be aware that we've had several motion
pictures filmed here. One a couple of years ago and it
was "Star Trek." And actually this very place --
this location was the location of the star fleet academy.
So I'm sorry it break the news, Rebecca, you not only have
a responsibility to our nation but you have an intergalactic
responsibility now and as a matter of fact, I heard recently
that the Romulans are doing things in the neutral zone and
their kids need help. So…
Congratulations and another hand for Rebecca Mieliwocki.
We would also like to recognize at this time the
recipients of the Blenda J. Wilson Diversity in Education
Award given in honor of a past president of the university.
The award is presented to a full-time faculty member from
the college of education who has made a significant impact on the
education of students in the college through a commitment to
enhanced awareness of multicultural and gender issues
through recruitment, teaching and ongoing professional
development and research. Dr. Gregory Knotts, will you
come up to the podium?
The 2012 Blenda J. Wilson Award is presented to Dr. Gregory Knotts
for all of his efforts and wonderful work in
the Michael D. Eisner College of Education.
Congratulations, Dr. Knotts.
We would like to make special mention of those students who
have demonstrated outstanding scholarship while at the
university. These students may be identified
by the award medallions they are wearing.
Will those students who are graduating with special honors
rise and be recognized?
Thank you.
Also, we would like to make special mention of those
students who recently have been initiated into Phi Lambda Theta
and Phi Kappa Phi honor societies.
Will those students who belong to this education honor societies
rise and be recognized as well
Please be seated.
And now the Michael D. Eisner College of Education wishes to
recognize the achievements of our doctoral candidates.
The second such class at Cal State Northridge.
Will all the candidates for the doctoral degree please rise.
Dr. Hellenbrand, I present the candidates for the
educational doctorate degrees. These candidates have completed
the requirements for the doctoral degrees as prescribed
by the state of California and the trustees of the California
state university and they've been recommended by the faculty
of California State University Northridge.
Please continue standing as Dr. Hellenbrand confers the
doctoral degree upon you.
>> Candidates for the doctoral
degree, you've heard the recommendation of the faculty of
California State University Northridge.
By the authority vested in me as interim president, I confer upon
you the degree of doctor of education with all the rights,
honors and opportunities appertaining thereto.
Will you please be seated?
>> Dr. Hellenbrand and I will now offer our congratulations to
our graduates.
Dr. Beverly Cabello will announce the names, director of
doctoral studies, Dr. Richard Gregory will offer a
congratulatory handshake to our graduates after they have
descended the center. Graduates, please join us.
[Graduate names being called]
And now the Michael D. Eisner College of Education wishes to
recognize the achievements of our masters candidates.
Will all the candidates for the masters degree please rise.
[Cheering and Applause]
Dr. Hellenbrand, I present the candidates for the Master of
Arts and Master of Science degrees.
These candidates have completed the requirements for the masters
degree as prescribed by the state of California of trustees
of the California State University and they have been
recommended by the faculty of the California State University
Northridge. Please continue standing as
Dr. Hellenbrand confers the masters degree upon you.
>> Candidates for the masters degree, you have heard the
recommendation of the faculty of the California State University
Northridge. By the authority vested in me as
interim president, I confer upon you the degree of Master of Arts
or mastersof science, with all the rights, honors and
opportunities appertaining thereto.
Will you please be seated.
>> President Hellenbrand and I will now offer our
congratulations to our graduates.
On the left side of the platform, Dr. Irene Cota will
announce the names of special education, elementary education,
secondary education and education leadership and policy
studies. On the right side of the
platform, Dr. David Moguel will announce the names of the
educational psychology and counseling and education
leadership and policy studies departments.
Department chairs will join us for a congratulatory handshake
to our graduates as they have descended the center.
>> Okay. We're going to begin with the
department of special education graduates.
[Graduate names being called]
>> So now we want you to remain because the best is coming up.
The Michael D. Eisner College of Education wishes to recognize
the achievements of our Baccalaureate candidates.
I will call upon department chair, Flavia Fleischer,
Dr. Flavia Fleischer, will you please introduce the candidates
of the Baccalaureate degree from the department of deaf studies.
>> Will the candidates for the Baccalaureate degree from the
department of deaf studies, please rise and remain standing.
Ladies and gentlemen, distinguished guests and
faculty, I request that you now join me in recognition of these
degree candidates from the department of deaf studies.
>> So one more time for all of you as you see these graduates after
the ceremony, congratulations. You did it!
>> Dr. Hellenbrand, I present to you the undergraduate class of
2012 from the Michael D. Eisner College of Education.
These candidates have completed requirements for the
Baccalaureate degree as prescribed by the state of California and the
trustees of California State University and they've been
recommended for their degrees by the faculty of the California
State University Northridge.
>> You have heard the recommendation of the faculty of the California
State University Northridge. By the authority vested in me as
interim president, I confer upon you the degree of Bachelor of
Arts with all the rights, honors and opportunities
appertaining thereto.
>> Dr. Hellenbrand and I will now offer our congratulations to
our new college graduates. Would these degree candidates
please come to the platform as directed by the marshals to
receive our personal congratulations.
[Graduate names being called]
[Cheering, whistling]
>> Will the recipients of the Baccalaureate degree please rise.
They've already risen. An academic tradition the
student who has not yet earned a degree wears a tassel of the
mortarboard on the right side when the degree is conferred the
scholar moves the tassel to the left and joins the select
company. In recognition of your new
status will all recipients of the Baccalaureate degree move
the tassel to the left.
[Applause, cheering]
And please be seated.
>> At this time, please welcome Dr. Giovanni Trivino, who will
be offering congratulations from the alumni association.
>> Good evening. On behalf of over 200,000
alumni, and under the authority of the board of directors of Cal
State Northridge alumni association, I'm pleased to
formally welcome you as alumni of our great university.
>> This is your day. You have worked long and hard to
reach this moment. We are honored to join with you,
your family and friends to celebrate the joy of your
achievement. The word commencement is defined
as a time of a beginning. In that context, this ceremony
marks the beginning of a new and enduring relationship between
you and Cal State Northridge. And now it is my pleasure to
inform you that you may add the title of alumnus or alumna to
your name as you're eligible for membership in the Cal State
Northridge alumni association. Congratulations!
>> All of us here owe a debt to parents, spouses, children and
other significant individuals who have encouraged and in many
cases sacrificed to make it possible for these graduates to
come to this university. We salute them and ask them to
stand for a well deserved round of applause.
Please be seated. I would like to recognize our
university commencement band under the direction of professor
Matt Harris for their inspiring performance this evening.
I would also like to thank Allisun Kale and the deaf
studies students who accompanied the university commencement band
in the national anthem. And finally and very importantly
I want to thank the interpreters from the national center on
deafness who have made commencement a meaningful experience
for our deaf and hard of hearing faculty, students and guests.
Will you please join me in expressing our appreciation.
>> A university, especially a university like Cal State
Northridge is only as strong as its faculty.
We here at California State University Northridge are very
fortunate to have an exceptional faculty for teaching, advising,
mentoring and research. I ask all of our faculty to
please stand and allow students to express their appreciation.
>> As I share with our national teacher of the year, we have
some spirit here. Now, I would like to take
time to recognize our interim president Dr. Harry Hellenbrand
who from the day he stepped foot on this campus championed our
work in the college of education.
Without him, we would not be able to do half of what we do.
If we could have an expression of appreciation for Dr. Hellenbrand.
>> I thank you all for being with us here today.
Once again, congratulations to the graduates.
Please join us in singing the alma mater for those you who
haven't memorized it yet. It's at the back of your program.
So please stand for the alma mater.
[Singing of "Hail to the Matadors"]
>> Please be seated. The CSUN band will now play the
recessional. Will the audience please remain
seated until the recessional is completed.