College Quarterly
Spring 2006 - Volume 9 Number 2
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Valedictorian Address

by Rita Kasab

Members of the Board of Governors, Mister President, Members of the Platform Party, Graduates, Honored Guests, Parents and Friends, it is my great honor and privilege to address you on behalf of the graduating class in this ceremony.

This formal ceremony is the culmination of years of hard work, sleepless nights and thousands of kilometers riding on buses and trains. We have all come here to celebrate our achievements. Our life goals may be different, but while at Seneca we took the same path and we are here to say to our teachers, parents and loved ones, “together we made it”.

Our different goals converge into an ultimate aim of having a better life for ourselves, our families, and our communities. The road to achieve our aim was through barrages of quizzes, reading assignments, team projects, and exams. These were the fuel that powered our way to celebrate our achievements in this beautiful ceremony. For me, the convergence started on the day I was accepted as a student at Seneca. On that day, I said to myself as the song says, “Tomorrow, tomorrow, I love you tomorrow” and I added, “You are only 6 semesters away”. For me, as I am sure for many others, acceptance at Seneca was a turning point in my professional life.

I am sure most of us graduating here today had doubts at the beginning. As for me, I still remember when I introduced myself in the first class in my first semester. I said, “I am scared, I don’t know if I am in the right place.” I was full of potential. I registered to be a software developer, yet I had no computer knowledge. And then the professors came and things started to make sense. It was so easy in the classroom and so hard at home. I had tons of questions that needed to be answered. I went to every teacher I could find, whether they taught my class or not. I went to their offices, stopped them in the hallways and asked them through e-mails. They were generous with their answers and with their time. I think we are all forever grateful to the faculty of this great college for your generosity, your patience and above all your humanity. You released and directed our potential and replaced our doubt with belief. You made our time at SENECA not just educational but a professional adventure.

Now, I want to take this opportunity to talk about the big picture, our country. As you can tell easily from my accent, I am a new immigrant. I landed in this country just over three years ago. I have a completely different native language and culture. My goal was to assimilate quickly into the country and become a Canadian. In this highly technical society, education must be an integral part of life’s goals. Because of my background, I had not only to establish my educational goal; I had to plot the process to achieve it. The goal was for this day to happen and the process was to work a bit harder to overcome my handicapped background. I could not achieve my dream in my native country. In fact I would not be able to achieve my dream in most countries. I was able to attend language school free of charge. I was able to secure a student loan from OSAP each semester. I was awarded scholarships. I was accepted in the Coop program. I was given a Coop job at SENECA. I was treated as an equal Canadian. Based on our awesome Coop Coordinator Ms. Harper recommendation, I am working now in my first full time job in my profession. My current bosses are right here and I thank all of them for taking the time to share with me this dream day. This can happen only in Canada, the land of immigrants and the land of the free. Thank you OSAP, Thank you COOP, Thank you Seneca… as you can see that I have a long list of organizations and literally hundreds of professionals to thank, thank you Canada; my new country.

This presentation will not be complete without thanking my mother who traveled over ten thousands kilometers to be here with me on this dream day. I would like to also thank my father. Without his support and encouragement, I would not be able to stand here.

After this ceremony, we will go our separate ways following new dreams, bigger dreams. However, we will never forget the hard work and sacrifice. We will never forget the beautiful inner feeling of learning and discovery. We will never forget our accomplishments and the pride we feel right now in this ceremony. Goodbye my friends, my teachers, and my colleagues. I am sure we will meet again in our journey on the highway of life. God bless each and every one of you. Thank you.



Rita Kasab graduated from the Computer Programming and Analysis diploma program at Seneca College. Currently, she is working for Cetaris, a software company that develops fleet assistant software. She can be reached at (416)985-0953 or ritabaladi@hotmail.com.

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2006 - The College Quarterly, Seneca College of Applied Arts and Technology