By Tina L. Cook, CSC Marketing Coordinator
CHADRON – Nearly 230 Chadron State College graduates were honored in two commencement ceremonies Friday.
Dr. Beth Wentworth, Mathematics Professor, spoke at the graduate exercises. Siphosenkosi Mpofu of Bulawayo, Zimbabwe, gave the opening moment of reflection and Katelyn Strode of Centennial, Colorado, offered the closing moment of reflection.
Adolfo Daniel Reynaga, a 2014 CSC alumnus, spoke at the undergraduate exercises. Morgan Cullan of Chadron gave the opening moment of reflection and Carlos Calle of Clermont, Florida, gave the closing moment of reflection. Calle was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the US Army and will be a branching quartermaster attending training at Fort Lee, Virginia.
In her remarks, Wentworth extolled three virtues of leadership, the first being the ability to inspire others.
“This is probably the most difficult job for a leader. This can only be possible if you inspire your colleagues and others by setting a good example. As a leader, think positive and this approach should be visible to others through your actions,” she said.
She went on to emphasize the importance of effective communication.
“A good communicator can be a good leader. Words have the power to motivate people and make them do the unthinkable. If you use words effectively, you can also achieve better results,” Wentworth said.
The third aspect of leadership she discussed was vision and purpose.
“Leaders not only visualize the future themselves but also share their vision with their followers. Great leaders go above and beyond and explain why they are moving in the direction they are moving and share the strategy and action plan to achieve that goal,” Wentworth said. “Start with these qualities and add others as you continue in your journey towards leadership.”
Reynaga, an attorney for Legal Aid of Nebraska in Scottsbluff, shared advice with the graduates drawn from his recent law school experience. He compared law school to a marathon.
“There were times when it felt like it was never going to end, and I questioned whether I could or even wanted to keep going. But let me tell you, when I was finally able to help my first client get out of an abusive situation, it suddenly was all worth it,” Reynaga said.
Reynaga advised the graduates to roll up their sleeves, and go to work. He quoted his pastor, advocating for “long obedience in the same direction.” He shared the biblical story of Joshua marching around the city walks of Jericho for seven days as an example of endurance.
“Life is a lot like that. A lot of times, we don’t know how long the pain is going to last,” Reynaga said. “When we think about where we want to be in five years, in 10, 15, or 20 years, we often overlook the fact that legacies are often built on longevity. The things that require a lot of work are typically worth it.”
He encouraged the graduates to face challenges to personal or professional growth that are intimidating or even frightening and shared examples from his life, including a moment as an intern for former Senator Mike Johanns as a CSC student.
As he sat in a room in the Capitol waiting for an appearance by Steven Colbert, the rows of people reminded him of the rows of sugar beets his family, as Mexican migrant workers, had come to western Nebraska to tend. He marveled he was sitting in the halls of power after a humble beginning.
“The greatest stories in life will not be written in the ink of fear and self-doubt, but rather in that of confidence and bold determination. You are capable of much more than you think you are. And you are capable of much more than you think your circumstances will allow,” Reynaga said.