The Page Cannot Be Found
Albert Bararwandika
Below is an excerpt of the student speaker at the 2010 Scholarship Tribute Dinner

“While searching for a theme for my speech, I came across a quote by Alfred Whitehead. He said, “No one who achieves success does so without the help from others. The wise and confident acknowledges this help with gratitude.” I think this quote is emblematic of the Mount.

The truth is, there are so many success stories at the College that would not be told if it were not for each and every one of you. Your generosity opens windows of opportunity for those who otherwise would  not have a chance for a good and strong education.

Due to the infamous genocide, civil war, and instability in the Great Lakes region of Africa, one of my best friends, Robert, and I left our country, friends, and family with dreams and the hope that one day, somehow, we would get a good education and dedicate our lives to serving others. He always wanted to become a lawyer, while I prefer stethoscopes and syringes in an Emergency Room. However, when I got to New York, the reality settled in. College was far more than I could afford. Fortunately, I had the chance to meet Sr. Mary Donagher, who in turn introduced me to Mr. Tom Moran, one of our honorees tonight. After I explained my predicament to him, he sympathized with me. He in turn introduced  me to President Charles Flynn. It all still seems like yesterday in my mind.

When I got to the Mount, everyone was eager to help me. I remember passing a whole morning in the financial aid office while they helped me fill out all the paper work.

In my personal experience, everyone talks about how beautiful the campus is, which is true, but it is also remarkable how lovely the people on campus are. I am sure my professors Schellenberg and Miroshnikov could come out with a mathematical model  to account for that effect.

Given that we are honoring Sr. Tracey, I have to tell you all how she ruined my life. Let me explain, when I came to the College, I was torn between majoring in chemistry or biology. While I understood the importance of biology for a future medical doctor, chemistry, mathematics, and physics came a lot easier to me. I wanted to take chemistry and leave the complex biological processes to my fellow students Ana, Alex, and David, who are here tonight. However, when I went to talk to Sr. Tracey about my conflict, she called in Dr. Fabrizio, who is now the Chair of the Science department. Their verdict was, “Try to balance both chemistry and biology, and then, you can decide in your junior year what you really want to do.” I took their advice, which was probably a big mistake, and I got hooked on both. Before I knew it, I was majoring in both, and graduating with enough credits  for two people. Let me rephrase, Sr. Tracey enriched my life, as she pressured, I mean encouraged, me to work hard! Now I can appreciate how it will help in the long run.

Now all of this is in the past, and after four years I stand here before you, ready to graduate with a degree in biochemistry. I am ready for the next challenge, which is to start medical school this fall. This would have never been possible, if it weren’t for my professors Drs. Fabrizio, Kerrigan, Ribiero, Rollins, Visviki and Dr. Z, just to name a few. They have been impeccable sharing their knowledge, and challenging us to do more than we thought we could do. They are great professors and friends  to us students.

The Mount Saint Vincent administration is the same way. Except for the fact that they did not accept our
suggestions to get rid of exams, or instruct Dr. Rollins to make Organic Chemistry a bit less torturous, they are extremely accessible and open to other constructive suggestions on how to make our lives better at the college. You might be wondering why I mentioned my friend Robert earlier in my speech. While he graduated ranking first in our high school class in Kenya, he was not as fortunate as I am. Today, he is still waiting to get the required documents to start college studies in Norway, where he lives now.

My point being, even with dreams, intelligence, and talent, just as he possesses, one still has to get opportunities to achieve his/her goals. Due to the high cost of education, they are numerous minds being lost.

We, at the College of Mount Saint Vincent, realize how lucky we are to have you supporting us. And we thank you for your continuous generosity. Once Mr. Moran told me, “Many immigrants came to America because it was the only place where a son of a farmer could become a corporate CEO. And that is the American dream.” For those of you who are wondering, I asked and he was not talking about himself.

Everyone has a dream. In these tough times, your dedication to the College of Mount Saint Vincent
gives many of us a fair shot to attain that dream.

And since my English professor will not read this, I authorized myself to use a second quote without a works cited page. “One can pay back the loan of gold, but one dies forever in debt to those who are kind.”