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Webster Rose walks across stage at Pima's Commencement 2022

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2022 Commencement Speaker Webster Rose: Take deliberate steps to make positive change

Webster Rose, an online student from Tampa, Florida and Fall 2021 graduate with an Associate of Applied Science Degree in Health Information Technology, was selected as Commencement Speaker for Pima Community College’s 2022 Graduation Ceremony.

He flew in to speak during the May 18 ceremony to several hundred classmates and thousands of their family members and loved ones at Kino Veterans Memorial Stadium.

Pima had 3,330 candidates for graduation and expected to award 4,669 degrees and certificates to those students, many of whom earned more than one degree or certificate.

For his online academic achievement in the fall, Rose was honored as the 2021 Instructional Technology Council (ITC) Outstanding eLearning student. Pearson Accelerated Pathways interviewed Rose about the award.

Rose is the proud son of Angela and George Rose, and was born and grew up in Jamaica. Rose moved to Florida in 2006. He has worked at Humana Insurance Company, a Fortune 500 company, for 13 years and is now a supervisor. He has been a PimaOnline student since 2018.

The journey of a million miles begins with a single step — then you must keep going.~ Webster Rose

“Growing up in Jamaica, I was taught never to settle, but always aim for higher and better,” he wrote in his Commencement Speaker Application. “Jamaica is a small country but known all over the world. I am like Jamaica, a symbol of one but a force to be reckoned with in this world.”

Acknowledging the challenges of studying through a pandemic, Rose commended his cohort’s perseverance and tenacity while encouraging the class of 2022 to be the change they want to see. Here are some key thoughts from his commencement speech:

Persevere: “The journey of a million miles begins with a single step — then you must keep going.”

COVID-19 made us tenacious, diligent and resilient: “Despite the difficulties we experienced, learning how to use the online platform, meeting what sometimes felt like impossible deadlines for assignments, staying awake to complete assignments, we were able to push forward. And, just when the ride got smoother, the world came to a crashing halt when the COVID-19 pandemic hit! . . . Many of us suffered great losses due to the pandemic. . . . It is an absolute miracle that many of us are still alive today. I would like to therefore commend my fellow graduates for their tenacity, diligence and resilience.”

Webster Rose stands in a Cap and Gown
Webster Rose

Help your community, help the world: “As leaders and world changers, let us use the knowledge, skills and competencies garnered throughout this period to make a meaningful contribution in our communities, whether it is at our jobs, in our families, at church or even in our neighborhoods. In our world today there are many challenges. It is sometimes easier to stand by and do nothing when faced with a great challenge. But let us do the best we can to positively impact the lives of those around us. . . . Let us ensure that our footprints throughout our individual journeys leave an unforgettable mark on our world.”

Embrace change: “Everywhere we go we hear of the ‘new normal’ that has been birthed by the pandemic. Indeed, technology has been an ally to many of us during this program. From taking our classes on our phone, to collaborating during Zoom sessions, we found our computers and the Internet were like air and water. It is therefore important for us to embrace this change and build on it. While we will not become slaves to technology, let us capitalize on all of the new opportunities that technology has afforded us. . . . I am confident that sitting amongst us today are our future professors, thought leaders, authors, consultants, specialists and other career experts.”

Be your best you: “To each graduate, my greatest hope is that you will fulfill your full potential. Let us ensure that every step on our individual journeys is deliberate in being the change we wish to see in this world. . . . Remember it is only impossible until it is done.”

Final words: “As we say in Jamaica, BIG UP and One Love! Anything is possible once you believe and consistently pursue your dreams.”

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