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Students Say It Best

Students often say it best. The following remarks were given by Laura Duran, recipient of the SUNY Chancellor's Award for Student Excellence at the Award Ceremony. Laura will attend Smith College in the fall.

Good afternoon and congratulations to all of you.

My name is Laura Duran and I am honored to speak on behalf of my hardworking peers and on the importance of being involved.

To begin, I have to thank everyone here for making my experience at RCC, a most gratifying one. Your diligence has helped cultivate a vibrant culture on this campus; a culture that reminds all of us that we are just as much of a college as a four year institution. Every club, organization, and individual in this room has positively affected the growth and development of the RCC community. Again, I thank you.

Two years ago I entered Rockland Community College relatively lost in my life. It wasn’t until late in my first semester that I made an important decision. I decided that I didn’t want to be lost. To me, that meant not letting RCC pass me by and to make something of my time here.

Laura Duran
SUNY Chancellor Nancy Zimpher, Chancellor Awardee Laura Duran and SUNY RCC Pres. Cliff L. Wood

In short, it meant to be present. It is so easy to trivialize certain times in our lives. To say, oh this isn’t my real job, or I just go to RCC - constantly focusing on some day rather than to-day.

It is especially easy for us two year commuter college students to fall victim to this way of thinking. Our entire time here we are working toward transferring or getting into the next program which can make us not want to be as involved and to just focus on getting to our “real schools” or our “real jobs.” Although RCC will be a stepping stone to the next chapter of my life, right now and for the last two years it is my life. Reaching this understanding has motivated me to get involved and to take in all that this school has to offer.

My involvement introduced me to friends that I will know for the rest of my life. My involvement taught me about different cultures and different ways of thinking. My involvement took me to new places and challenged me. My involvement made a difference in the lives of teenagers suffering from bullying. My involvement gave a loud voice to an amazing and understated community. My involvement has empowered me to excel not only outside of the classroom, but inside too. It is because of my involvement that I can say that I have made the absolute most of my time at Rockland Community College.

I am sure my experience resonates in some way with each and every one of you. I commend you for not looking to simply fluff your resumes and for caring about this school- for going above and beyond to contribute to the culture of RCC. I commend you for being present and most of all; I commend you for being outstanding students.

It is my absolute and distinct pleasure to introduce John Marra. This person is another gift that RCC has given me. In him I found a friend, a mentor, and a second father. I know that most of you also share similar feelings toward John. It is because of people like him, Diane Swick, and Debra Balestra, that we grow as people and not only as students in our time here.

Thank you.

SUNY Chancellor Awardees

Kimberlyn Frost
Kimberlyn Frost

Mario Francone III
Mario Francone III

Vanessah Raymond
Vanessah Raymond


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