Michelle Tineo '12 Speech - 51st Annual President's Dinner
June 03, 2011
My name is Michelle Tineo, and I am a member of Stonehill's Class of 2012. As Fran Dillon mentioned, I am an International Business Major from Boston, MA, and I am pleased and honored to stand before you today as a Stonehill student, as a student who a year from today will be a Stonehill alumnae. But, how did I get here? How has Stonehill shaped who I am today as a student, a woman, and a leader in our community?
I need to be honest. I actually did not like Stonehill when I first arrived. I felt different, alone, isolated, lost, and out of place. As a first generation college student from a Dominican background, I stood out at Stonehill. And, while I love attention, this wasn't the kind of attention I was ready for as a 17-year old. I wanted to come to college and blend in, but my dark skin, big hair, and Dominican attitude made me stand out. While I was discouraged and heartbroken by these challenges early in my Stonehill career, I realize now that they simply were the foundation for my strength, leadership and confidence today.
Getting involved with the many leadership opportunities at Stonehill, meeting mentors, friends, and people who inspire me daily are the reasons why I did not transfer my freshman year. They are the reasons why I choose to lead. Their interest in me is why I believe in "paying it forward."
Being a leader at Stonehill means that I choose to create a better place for all students, particularly students who have felt alone, discouraged, or isolated. I make a choice to be a leader in this community - in our Stonehill community - because I believe in what we can do together.
Because I have great support system at Stonehill, I took the risk and left my close knit family and spent three and a half months in Rome, Italy.
Because I have a great support system at Stonehill, I did not get lost in translation or become a student who fell through the cracks. And, certainly, because I had a great support system, I did not transfer. I stayed. Staying here, taking full advantage of all that Stonehill has to offer, and transforming from an unsure first generation college student to an empowered, self-confident, mature, educated Latina woman, I realize that staying at Stonehill was one of the best decisions I have made in my life. It certainly was frustrating and challenging at times, but in just 10 months, I will graduate from Stonehill College.
As I enter into my last year at Stonehill, I can reflect and realize that I have changed for the better. And Stonehill has changed, too. We are all part of a community that believes in transforming lives. We are all part of a community that believes in providing opportunities for excellence, leadership and growth. Together -- all of us in this room -- we make Stonehill a better place. Together, we make a difference. Thank you for your leadership, for transforming lives, and for making change possible.
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