Edward Carbone '17 spoke to his classmates at the College's 66th Commencement, offering words of thanks and optimism for the future. Read his full remarks below:
Greetings Class of 2017! Believe it or not, we did it. We conquered a feat not many can say they have, eating Sodexo for four years. In all seriousness, graduating college is a milestone few get the opportunity to complete, and even less - reach this very moment. For most of us, we’ve been learning and studying in school since 2000. And if you think I did the math to figure that out, c’mon…let’s be serious, I’m a communications major. Instead I did what most people do, I asked my mom.
Mom’s actually know just about everything and are some of the greatest people on this planet. And for most of us, we went through that phase of being an immature teenager acting disrespectful to our parents for no reason. And yet, my mom still loved me unconditionally every-single-day. It wasn’t until coming to Stonehill that I realized how strong and brave she really was.
In sixth grade, my family and I moved to a new town. It was just 15 minutes from where we used to live, but something was different. Despite being only 12-years old, most of the students were catty and clicky. It was not normal. I ignored it, but soon became an easy target because I was not in (air quotes) “one of the those groups.” I was bullied, called names, beaten up, even thrown in a trash can once. Life was lonely.
In 2013, I accepted to Stonehill College. It was just far enough away from home to be away from my family. On move in day, I met a few people, but it seemed a lot like high school. The only difference………..the building was a lot warmer. I set up my room like every other freshman. My bed was adjacent to the window overlooking the path from the Sem - to the rest of campus. It was a nice room, but it didn’t feel like home. Not in the slightest.
On the first night, I woke up, in a way none of you have ever woken up before. My right leg and part of my lower torso was hanging out the window. In my sleep, I had somehow kicked out the window screen and I dangled half out my window like a stuffed animal about to fall off a bed. I felt worthless and alone. Dropped off at a new school, to start a new chapter. Why would this place be any different? For a brief second, I thought about falling. But I couldn’t justify any reason why. What about my mom and dad, I thought. I told myself I would make the next four years memorable…..and they would be.
Freshman year ended up being a very exciting year for me. I had lots of friends, I didn’t mind the food, at the time, and I even got to go to a few Red Sox games.
The one Red Sox game that sticks out is April 22, 2014 against the Cleveland Indians. It was a Tuesday, late-afternoon, and my family and I had just hoped into our car to drive to Fenway Park. As we got to a red light, the car ride became silent and my parents began talking to my brother and I in a serious tone. Not a common thing for my family.
My parents said that my father had been to the doctors earlier in the week. Before the conversation continued, blue lights flashed behind us. We were pulled over. The officer informed my family that my dad’s license and the car registration was expired. He was not allowed to drive the car and it had to be driven with someone who had a valid license. I stepped up to the plate and took the wheel.
On that ride, my brother and I learned my dad had cancer. He would have surgery two months later. The two-hour procedure to remove the tumor, lasted 13. My mom was a mess, calling me throughout the day asking me questions I didn’t have any answers for. (sarcastic) Mom I’m a comm major, not a scientist. I didn’t tell her that though, I told her everything would be okay.
The last three years have been anything, but normal. I’ve made life long friends. I’ve received an education I am proud to have earned. I have a cool job. And I’ve become closer to God, thanks to Father Jim Lies and Father Richard Gribble. And for many of you, I know you share at least some of these things in common with me.
These three years have also consisted of my father in and out of hospitals, and my mom working through some difficult times. But, I am very proud to say my father is almost three-years cancer free and in the audience today with my mom today. In life we’re going to face difficulties. In a sense, it’s like a baseball pitcher throwing us curve balls whenever he feels like it. It’s all in your approach that will determine your succeed or fall. Life through my family a curve ball, and my dad hit it over the green monster.
Today, we say so long to Stonehill College. But we leave with a Stonehill mindset; one few get the opportunity to have. When applying to colleges, I knew I would get a good education from almost anywhere, but I did not expect to become a changed person. One for the better. Stonehill is founded on the belief of the inherent dignity of each person. And after four years, I understand how important that really is. Everyday people flash a smile or say hello on campus and that got me through things. But that’s not as common in the real world. People are going through a variety of problems in their personal lives you’re unaware of. This world is full of crime, hate and discrimination. And then there is us. About 650 Stonehill graduates with the ability to change the world. Stonehill graduates are always told by the faculty we’re too nice, but I think that’s what makes us so unique. No matter where we came from we are all caring, compassionate, and accepting of each other. Commuters, athletes, honors students, even you and me all treat each other in the way we were told in kindergarten. Treat others the way you want to be treated. As we leave this campus today, remember to be outspoken in the world about the things you believe in. Be passionate about the many great things that exist in this world. And most importantly…be you. It may change someone’s life.