By Gina Martinez
Queensborough Community College held its 56th Commencement ceremony Friday in Bayside, sending some 2,600 graduates out into the world with messages of resilience and confidence.
The graduation ceremony was presided over by College President Diane Call and featured a speech from state Sen. Toby Ann Stavisky (D- Flushing) and Farbod Hadizadeh Moghadam, the student government president.
Graduates gathered on the campus lawn to receive their associate degrees in Arts, Science and Applied Science. Call said graduation was a stepping stone and that many students will move on to four-year colleges, including CUNY schools York, John Jay and Queens College.
Hadizadeh Moghadam, president of the Queensborough Student Government, encouraged the graduates to not fear failure.
“Graduation is an accomplishment that not everyone achieves,” he said. “Graduation demonstrates competence, you have been judged by the faculty and they have acknowledged that you are competent enough to receive a degree today. Yet you will meet many competent and talented people who will never reach their goals. Yet what can distinguish success is your ability to pursue goals without the fear of failure. Robert F. Kennedy once said, ‘Only those who dare to fail greatly ever achieve greatly.’ My message to all the graduates here today is: ‘Do not be afraid to fail.’ ”
Stavisky congratulated the graduates for their achievements.
“Abraham Lincoln once said, ‘If I have eight hours to chop down a tree, I’d spend six hours sharpening my axe’ and that’s what you’ve been doing for two years,” she said. “You’ve been sharpening your skills, you’ve been learning and now you’re ready to chop down that tree. Many of you came to Queensborough from all over the world, you came to the United States, the land of opportunity, and you are not alone. We are a nation, we are a borough of immigrants who share a vision and a commitment, and when you leave here today, you can proudly say ‘I am a proud graduate of Queensborough Community College who took advantage of the opportunity given to me.’
Fatima Faisal received The Martin Luther King Jr. Award for demonstrating exceptional leadership in promoting racial harmony and appreciation of cultural diversity. Haris Khan and Farbod Hadizadeh Moghadam were given the John F. Kennedy Memorial Award for demonstrating outstanding college and community leadership.
Reach Gina Martinez by e-mail at gmart