It provides us with an occasion in the calendar to observe the significance of what it means to be a first-generation graduate – as many within the VLS community know first-hand. Most visibly, it represents promise and achievement for those who have taken a step that was not available to those that came before them. For this reason, it showcases hope, progress, and the example of someone that inspires as well as opens doors for others that follow.
But today is much more than a day about one person. For many graduates, it is a moment to acknowledge the sacrifice made by their families, friends, and teachers. It is a celebration of communities – personal, professional, and intellectual – that have supported, sustained, encouraged, and pushed students to reach milestones that others within their communities could not.
Our new affinity organization – Opening Statement – is a testament to the essential place of first-generation students at VLS, blazing a trail for themselves, their families, friends, and communities, while embodying the hard work, grit, tenacity, and talent it takes to overcome hurdles and pursue their dreams of higher education.
We are so proud of our first-generation graduates throughout the VLS community. We honor and celebrate their promise and aspire to be a school that represents a place of warm welcome, striving to always open doors wider toward the continuing fulfillment of individual and community ambitions.