Ashley Brightharp-Burnett

Class of
"Cambridge College has prepared us for the journey that awaits us. Now, it is our responsibility to apply the knowledge and skills that we possess to our careers."

It seems like only a short while ago that we arrived at Cambridge College anticipating everything that was in store for us. I still remember sitting in a room of eager educators listening to the many tasks that were before us. We traveled from near and far in hopes that our lifelong commitment to learning and developing professionally would lead us to improving the lives of our students. When we were asked what we hoped to gain from this experience, as well as what we looked forward to, many of us stated that we looked forward to growing professionally, networking with others, and becoming better educators. We were excited to meet our new professors, eager to begin our course studies, and we were all eager, yet a little nervous, to begin our Action Research Papers and Independent Learning Projects.

The Cambridge College experience is one that I am sure we will never forget. No matter what area you specialized in at Cambridge, whether it was Educational Leadership, Special Education, or Guidance, there is no doubt that now you possess the necessary skills to go forth and do great things in your field. Cambridge provided us with the tools and professors that we needed to have a successful learning experience. As any graduate student would, we tried to scope out our professors from the beginning. Sure, we crept through the doors on Saturday mornings, dreaded the long hours of class, and wondered what our friends and family members were doing on the outside, but every bit of that was worth it. Somehow, our professors managed to keep us engaged, made us think critically and remember why we chose to become educators, and they also made us become better advocates for our students.

Our professors also taught us how to approach problems respectfully. There was not one instance in which my classmates or I brought an issue to our professors that we did not leave our weekend class knowing how to solve. In each professor here, there is such a great wealth of knowledge. There were times when I sat back and wondered how they knew so much and I look at each of them as a mentor who I have gained such a positive experience from.

Finally, I must speak about the friendships that we have developed here at Cambridge. On our first day here, it almost felt like the first day of elementary school again. We were introducing ourselves to each other, creating carpools, and exchanging phone numbers. Who knew that what we thought was networking with others would turn into lifelong friendships? Who knew that my Cambridge College experience would lead meeting someone who I passed in the hallways, and who I now call my best friend and husband? Now, that is worth talking about!

I think that we can all agree that, ultimately, success means a great deal to us. Wilfred Peterson stated, “Success is focusing the full power of all you are on what you have a burning desire to achieve.” Some of us have the desire to become Directors of Guidance, School Administrators, Special Education Directors, and yes, District and possibly State, Superintendents. These dreams are embedded within us; I am a firm believer that life will not take you in any direction that you will not learn something from. Cambridge College has prepared us for the journey that awaits us. Now, it is our responsibility to apply the knowledge and skills that we possess to our careers.

Fellow classmates, exert your talents and the skills that you have learned here at Cambridge to become better. Graduation ceremonies are referred to as commencement exercises for a good reason; this is not the end, this is the very beginning of something great!