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'Prepared to conquer the unimaginable'
by Christina Rowland
May 17, 2012 | 2591 views | 0 0 comments | 12 12 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Christina Rowland photo 
Tamara Williams was the keynote speaker for the morning commencement ceremony for Coastal Bend College last week. She graduated with an associate of science degree and plans to pursue  a degree in microbiology from UTSA in the fall. This year is the first year the college has used students as keynote speakers.
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“All of us here today are unique individuals with different backgrounds and with different dreams, but we have much in common: We are courageous for dreaming big and facing our fears to make those dreams come true,” a slightly timid Tamara Jo Williams said during her keynote speech at the Coastal Bend College spring commencement ceremony on Friday morning, May 11.

Williams was one of two students speakers to talk at this year’s graduation exercises. There was one speaker for the morning (herself) and one speaker (Terilyn Zengerle) for the afternoon.

This is the first year the college has chosen students to give the keynote speeches. Williams said she almost did not apply because of her fear of public speaking.

“But some of my friends and instructors pushed me to at least apply, and I have to say I am glad they did,” she said in her speech. “I am honored to be one of Coastal Bend College’s first student commencement speakers.”

The speakers were chosen from a pool of applicants who had written an essay, filled out an application and received a teacher recommendation. The competition was stiff but student speaker selection committee was able to choose two students who had truly inspiring stories.

Williams herself started college at age 16 after finishing high school as a home schooled student. She made a commitment to continuing her education and demonstrated that commitment every day when she drove from Gonzales to the CBC Pleasanton campus to attend classes.

Her hard work and dedication paid off when she was handed her associate science degree on Friday. She will continue her education in the fall at UTSA where she wants to purse a bachelor’s in microbiology.

Getting to where she is today has not been an easy road for Williams. She comes from a divorced household and moved a lot as a child. She was home schooled and had not spent a lot of time in an actual classroom until attending CBC.

“I was amazed at how friendly most people were and how the entire faculty sincerely cared about each student’s well-being,” she said during her speech. “They (the class instructors) wanted to see us excel in class and succeed in life. Each instructor took a special interest in their student’s lives and was willing to help us in any way possible. They saw our potential and pushed us to do better than we even imagined we could. It is because of their faith in us that we have faith in ourselves and dare to attempt our dreams.”

Williams, like many others seated in the audience, had a dream come true on Friday morning; they received a degree.

She ended her speech by reminding everyone, “We are determined because we don’t give up when things get rough. We are optimistic that our hard work will be worth it in the end. And, most importantly, we are graduates, prepared to conquer the unimaginable.”

She was one of more than 200 students from the four Coastal Bend College campuses who received an associates degree or certification in one of the many programs offered by the college.

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