‘My motivation to continue is my children. They are watching’ says afternoon student commencement speaker

Student speaker Adan Cordova speaks at the spring 2024 UW-Green Bay commencement ceremony.

Adan Cordova, the student speaker at UW-Green Bay’s afternoon Commencement ceremony had a full row of family and friends attending the ceremony. But four guests in particular were top of mind and in his heart while he shared remarks with the Class of 2024.

My inspiration to attend college has been my mother. I saw her trying to get a higher education back home (in Honduras) while being a single mother to three children. My motivation to continue is my children. They are watching me make every decision and seeing the sacrifices I am making to be a good father, while also moving our family forward by getting a college education.”

The First Generation college graduate and his family have much to be proud of, including earning a bachelor of science in Human Biology on Saturday, May 11, 2024, Cordova has his sights set on becoming a medical doctor. After taking a short break, his next step is preparing for the MCAT (Medical College Admission Test)—a key component of medical school applications for anyone who aspires to attend medical school.

As he continues to pursue his dream, we’re sure his young children will be watching, providing the motivation Cordova needs to keep rising.

Watch Cordova’s remarks at timestamp 13:10.Read Cordova’s full speech here:

“Hello, my name is Adan Cordova, I am from Honduras, and I am a first-generation bilingual non-traditional student. 

I want to congratulate everyone in the class of 2024. We are finally here after working so hard over the last 4 years. After years of meticulous planning, diligent preparation, unwavering commitment, and experiencing a pandemic, the time has finally come to rejoice and commemorate this achievement. I am deeply grateful and filled with a profound sense of pride as we gather to commemorate our achievements. I matured while entering the halls because I completed my roles and responsibilities as a parent and a full-time employee and student. I managed my time and faced challenges with a commitment to overcome them in five years, which helped me to grow and achieve my goals.  

I was 20 years old when my siblings and I came to the United States in 2012 to live with our father. When I arrived in the United States, I was able to get a High School diploma and then I began to work. For seven years, I worked in various factory jobs. Finally, I decided to enroll at NWTC in 2019. My inspiration to attend college has been my mother. I saw her trying to get a higher education back home while being a single mother to three children. My motivation to continue is my children. They are watching me make every decision and seeing the sacrifices I am making to be a good father, while also moving our family forward by getting a college education. 

Being a first-generation, I did not know anything about college. I didn’t know about the variety of campus resources such as academic advisors to help choose classes or who to ask for help. 

I faced many problems during my educational journey because English was not my first language. I had to learn the language since I only knew the basics such as “Hi, hello, and how are you?” Coming from a background where family responsibilities are the priority, and everyone expects you to be a great family person, my desire to attend college became my life’s last goal.  

Nevertheless, I stood up and decided to take a leap of faith. I enrolled in a one-year program to find inspiration and motivate myself. Despite all my efforts I did not feel happy with that program, I had something missing. I knew I could achieve more: my long-time objective was to be a medical doctor.  

However, despite imposter syndrome, I pushed myself and never lost hope in my ambition. I confidently identified my inner strength and moved toward my objective, such as changing my program of study three times at NWTC and ultimately transferring to UW-Green Bay and changing my major once. Through every obstacle I faced, I grew more resilient and relentless. Confidence in myself was the most surprising thing I discovered on this journey., I belonged among my fellow students despite the fears and uncertainties that had previously dogged me. We are all worthy of success, happiness, and accomplished goals. 

I surmounted every challenge due to my unwavering commitment to providing a superior existence for my loved ones and myself. I have focused my academic pursuits on my degree in human biology with an emphasis on health science. To further my preparation for a medical profession, I have capitalized on the opportunity to pursue minors in chemistry and psychology, augmenting my educational background. My employment as a nursing assistant at HSHS St. Vincent Hospital has given me a firsthand appreciation of the impact healthcare professionals can have on individuals’ well-being. This experience has strengthened my determination to pursue a career as a pediatric psychiatrist.  

The outcome of my college journey is my personal improvement and growth. I grew as a parent and in every role, including a responsible citizen. The responsibilities in my personal life matured and helped me in college. I highly appreciate my professors, who trust me despite my many weaknesses. Your support and confidence in my abilities, Drs. Pott, Grubisha, Nelson, Brusich, Merkel, Heyrman, Smith, and Christian have played a crucial role in propelling my achievements up to this point. You have provided me with information and instilled a strong confidence and purpose to guide me in all my future endeavors.  

I profoundly appreciate my family, who have consistently provided unwavering support and served as my steadfast foundation. I also want to thank the Multicultural Resource Center staff and especially Cindy Johnson, you have consistently supported me and demonstrated that I can conquer any challenge.  

As we begin this new phase, let us recall the individuals we have encountered, those who have supported us during this journey, the knowledge we have acquired, and the aspirations and objectives that have directed us. Have confidence in yourself, have faith in your ambitions, and have the conviction that you are worthy of achievement; these are the powerful convictions that we must always have in focus. 

Because of the support of others, I can proudly say at the end of this ceremony, I am a first-generation college graduate. Let us confront the future with courage, certainty, and an unwavering belief in limitless possibilities. Perhaps some class theories will have faded from our memories in ten years, but the love we felt here will remain.  

Quiero agradecer a todos los padres y madres que están aquí con sus hijos y los que no pudieron estar aquí pero apoyaron a sus hijos en todas las maneras posible para poder graduarse el día de hoy. Les puedo asegurar que su apoyo a sido muy importante para que ellos puedan seguir sus sueños. 

I want to thank all the parents who were able to attend and those who were not but they all supported their children in many possible ways so they can graduate today. Your support has been important for your children to follow their dreams. 

Dear Class of 2024: You put in the hard work and made it to this great life accomplishment. I am certain that we will continue to achieve greater levels of success in the future. I challenge you to find ways to continue paving the way for those who are following you.  

Congratulations Class 2024, we did it! 

Felicidades clase 2024 lo hicimos!”

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