MONTGOMERY - District 3 Montgomery County Commissioner Ronda Walker on Tuesday encouraged graduates at Troy University Montgomery to pursue their passion and continue to prepare for the opportunities that lay ahead.
Speaking to the nearly 150 students who received diplomas during the ceremony inside the Davis Theatre for the Performing Arts, Walker, a TROY alumna, told graduates to take action on their goals and dreams.
"What are the goals and ideas that motivate you? Go and do them," Walker said. "If you can utilize the skills you have developed during your time at TROY and couple those skills with the work that you are passionate about, you will discover a satisfaction and success beyond what most people ever achieve in their lifetimes."
Walker, a Montgomery native who earned a bachelor's degree in history and political science from TROY, told those gathered that graduation is but one step along the journey to success.
"Throughout the course of every human life, we experience several significant moments, moments that are life-changing and that define who we are and where we are headed. Graduates, today is one of your moments," Walker said. "Securing this degree is a critical step of preparation, but it does not end tonight. You must daily seek to increase your knowledge, challenge your expectations and expand your borders. When great opportunities avail themselves to you, and they will, they will not become yours through luck. They will only become yours through preparation. Overnight successes are years in the making."
Using her personal battle with breast cancer as an example, Walker challenged graduates to persevere in the midst of struggles. Diagnosed in December 2014 with stage three breast cancer, Walker noted her year-long fight to become cancer-free was a daily struggle, but through her strong faith, support of family and friends and the work of her medical team, she persevered.
"You are a Troy University graduate and you are a Trojan warrior, but even the most prepared warrior will face battles," she said. "Even the toughest warrior will struggle in the midst of those battles. The question is not will you struggle but how you will handle that struggle. A warrior is persistent, and a warrior learns, grows and improves through each battle. Experience and wisdom teach us that our failures can propel us to greater heights if we own them, we acknowledge them and we move on from them. True warriors dust themselves off and try again. They live to fight another day. As you embark on this new chapter of your life, press forward without fear. Prepare your mind, body and spirit. Seize opportunities that come your way."