There is no day more important to everyone here at Minnesota School of Business-Richfield than graduation. Lucky for us, we have four graduations each year to get our fix! On Friday, March 22, 2013, we celebrated our 38 Winter Quarter 2013 graduates. The MSB-Richfield graduates, joined by their online counterparts, proudly took their place on the stage at the Richfield High School Auditorium.
Heather Dragstra, who is graduating with her bachelor’s degree in business management with highest honors, was chosen to be this year’s student speaker. Her powerful speech discussed some of the trials she faced as a student, including cancer and the loss of her mother, and how she was able to overcome them with the support of her family and the faculty and staff at MSB.
“I wasn’t going to let cancer ruin my life,” Heather said. “I was determined to fight cancer and get my bachelor’s degree. We’ve all faced obstacles, but through perseverance, we all made it here today.”
Rachna Talwar, the paralegal program chair, was selected to be the faculty speaker. She shared some stories from her own life, telling the story of her father who moved to the United States with $12 and began college.
“In my house, there was a premium value on education,” Rachna said. “Education is the single most important asset you can obtain – no one can take it away from you.”
Rachna also offered some tips for graduates:
- Do not be scared to fail. You have to put yourself out there to fail…or succeed.
- Remember who you are and embody these values in all you choose to do.
- Make a living you are proud of. But in doing so, do not forget to make a life.
The keynote speaker was Chanda Smith Baker from the Pillsbury United Communities, a nonprofit organization working to create choice, change and connection for people from all walks of life. Chanda spoke to the graduates about finding herself in a tough situation –young, divorced mother of three – and having to figure out how to support her family. Working all day, and studying all night and throughout the weekends, Chanda said, “there were nights full of tears, and I wondered, is it worth it? I am here to tell you – It is worth it.”
She continued, “What I learned on this journey was that there were people watching me – people I didn’t realize were watching me – people I could be an inspiration to.”
She offered the graduates a couple of pieces of advice:
- Use your network. “Your classmates are your network. I think of all the people who helped me and who I would help in return. The most successful people ask for help.
- Personal branding: In an age of social media, take note of how you portray yourself. Create an image and a personal brand that you are proud of.
To watch as our students accomplish such an impressive feat, we can’t help but be awed and amazed at their successes. All the staff and faculty share in the pride and happiness our students feel that day. We are grateful to have been part of each and every one of their journeys, and we can’t wait to hear where they go next!
Like Chanda said: “There’s something about learning that just feels good.”