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"My own story began in China when I was just a baby," Cashman said in her address. "My mom flew around the world to China to adopt me, bring me to the United States and raise me while being a single parent. As a child, I didn't feel like I had a place to fit in. I didn't see myself as Chinese, nor did I understand why others thought it was weird that I didn't look like my mom."
"Students and faculty alike set up a chain reaction of truth, knowledge, ambition, creativity and passion, passing it on to one another until we are all consumed with the desire to strive for our absolute best," she said. "This energy is what makes MCC truly special."
"Believe in yourself," he told the graduates. "Set no boundaries, and don't be afraid to take a risk, because in order to achieve any level of success, your thirst for success must be greater than your fear of failing."
"My injury forced me into medical retirement and a serious career change," McDonald said. "I left the Army with very few marketable skills in the civilian world. To put it bluntly, I had poked at bombs with sticks for a living not the best skill set for the civilian world. Luckily, Middlesex has been there for Burberry Phone Case Note 3
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Lowell Mayor Rodney Elliott shared a similar message.
The 1,410 member Class of 2014 is the largest graduating class in Middlesex history, according to the school.
LOWELL More than 1,400 Middlesex Community College students received their degrees and certificates Thursday morning in a ceremony in which they were reminded not to let fear hold them back.
Commencement speaker Hill Harper, an actor who has starred in the TV shows "CSI: NY" and "Covert Prada Wallet Money Clip Affairs," told graduates inside Lowell Memorial Auditorium that "fear" stands for "False Evidence Appearing Real."
Cashman said Middlesex became a community for her, too.
During his time at Middlesex, McDonald said he always found help when he needed it. He provided it, too, as a peer tutor at the Bedford campus's Math Center.
McDonald now plans to become an accountant and is transferring to UMass Lowell to continue his studies.
Harper encouraged the graduates to take risks and look to the future with energy, critical thinking and courage.
MCC put 'community' into community college
"The future does not belong to people who are afraid of being bold, imaginative or creative."
"I have been able to see my fellow students find and foster a learning style that works for them," he said.
Stephen McDonald of Chelmsford, who was injured while serving in Iraq, graduated Thursday and was one of the student speakers. I left the Army with very few marketable skills in the civilian world. To put it bluntly, I had poked at bombs with sticks for a living not the best skill set for the civilian world. Burberry Iphone 5 Case Replica
The other student speaker was Miranda Cashman of Concord. Today, she's boarding a flight to China with eight other Middlesex students, as part of the MCC Foundation's International Education Fellowship program.
"So many people try to project their agenda onto you," Harper said. "Don't allow their fear to take you off your path."
A total of 84 veterans graduated Thursday, making up 6 percent of the class. One was Stephen McDonald of Chelmsford, who told his fellow graduates that he found a safe and supportive community at Middlesex after he was injured in Iraq.
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