Inspiring Valedictory Speech at the 1st session of the 11th Congregation ceremony of UPSA by Ms. Sandra Akweley Martey

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Valedictorian -UPSA, Ms. Sandra Akweley Martey

Below is the full transcribed valedictory address by Miss Sandra Akweley Martey of UPSA, Accra which will not only inspire you but will challenge you never to give up no matter what.  These are words that will surely change your life coming from a fighter who went through tough unimaginable times and chased her degree for ten years. Read the full speech below.

Your Excellency, the President of the Republic of Ghana, Chairman of the University Council, Vice-Chancellor, Honorable ministers of state and members of parliament present. Members of the University council, Pro-Vice-Chancellor, Vice-chancellors, and rectors of sister universities, Registrar and registrars of sister universities. Nii Mer, Naa mer, Nananom, Members of convocation, Senior and Junior Staffs of UPSA, Alumina of UPSA, Members of the media, Graduating students, Distinguish invited guest, ladies, and Gentlemen. On behalf of the graduating class, of the University of Professional Studies, I extend a hearty welcome to you all present here today.

Today marks a great milestone in our lives. It is the combination of the hard work, sacrifices and dedication of grandaunts and all who contributed immensely to our academic journey. I do not take this opportunity to be the mouthpiece of the graduating class for granted.

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I am indeed humbled. Today, I welcome you all to the most surreal moment of my life. The Psalm 126: 1 says “When the Lord turned the captivity of Zion we were like them that dream.”

Today I am like they that dreamt. Today, I am grateful beyond words, first to the almighty God for indeed I now clearly understand Habakuk saying that the vision is yet for an appointed time.

Slowly, steadily surely the time approaches when the vision will be fulfilled. If it’s slow, wait patiently for it will surely take place and surely it has and ending beautifully in praise.

To the school administration, lecturers, non-teaching and supporting staff I will take this opportunity to express my heartfelt gratitude on behalf of the 2019 graduating class for your selfless dedication in molding us become scholars with professionalism.

Can we ever repay your good work? We will continuously show our appreciation by becoming the best expressions of ourselves, flying the banners of UPSA higher and higher where ever we may find ourselves.

To our dear parents, family, guardians, and friends whose unending sacrifices have brought us to this day. I ask again, can we ever repay you? Matthew L. Jacobson said Behind every young child who believes in himself is a parent who believed first. I great man ones said to me, I know who you are and I will continuously remind you of it.

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I say a big thank you to all the fathers, all the mothers, aunties, uncles, brothers, sisters, friends, and well-wishers, for your faith in us. This achievement is as much yours as it is ours. All the sacrifices and all the upliftment have not been for not.

Today, we too have made you proud. Over the years of my growth and development, I have come to understand that no one is indeed self-made.

One is a collection of the seen and unseen multiple sacrifices of people, institutions and the society at large and to this, all here present I also say thank you. When I first had the opportunity to pursue a degree, I was full of life and hope until the failures of my academic program overwhelmed me.

Valedictorian for the 1st Session of the 11th Congregation.
Ms Sandra Akweley Martey shaking hands with President Nana Addo of Ghana

I struggled through the four years to keep my head above water. I become a shadow of myself, stripped of hope, stripped of my confidence and striped of the person I used to be.

Your Excellency, permit me to bias for today I carry a burden to speak to the non-grandaunts and to all who have come to the end of themselves. I speak to you who is not here today because you could not meet the requirement. I speak to you who have hit rock bottom who fells all odds are against you and to you who is at this moment is soaking your billows with tears wondering if this is not your end. No this is not your end, I employ you to please listen to me for I deeply understand, why, how? Because I have been there.

The Chinese have a proverb that “Failure is not in the falling down but the refusal to get back up”, so get up, lift your drooping hand, strengthen your feeble limbs and move on.

Martin Luther King said and I say also that “If you cannot fly then you run, if you cannot run then you walk, if you cannot walk, then crawl, but by all means, you keep moving.

Please keep moving forward. Janet Fitch said, “The phoenix must burn to emerge.” So burn off the inferiority complex, burn off the failure, burn off the mockery, the shame, the never good enough mindset and cry if the pain is excruciating because I tell you it will be and when you are done crying, and when you are done burning, you better emerge.

When the going gets too tough and you forget all that I have said today, remember, just remember that a young free-spirited girl begun this journey in 2009, failed a thousand times over only to get up and fail a thousand times more.

And then she walked out of the University of Professional Studies ten years later and in that journey, in that journey she became a budding fashion entrepreneur, a stage performer with Rovaman productions, a prosperity assistant with the British High Commissioner, and a top it all a valedictorian.

Believe me when I tell you this that the lights will fall on to you in pleasant places, and you will have a good heritage, just do not give up. Just do not throw in the towel because you are tenacious and you will make it.

You may not be here today but I am convinced without an iota of doubt that this message of hope will get to you. To my fellow grandaunts here today who are disappointed with their lowest and their uppers because you know you could have done better, it doesn’t matter anymore, forget the could have been, forget the should have been and certainly forget the would have been.

Hold firmly the gift you have been blessed with and be proud of your achievements for others weren’t so lucky. I am proud of each and every grandaunt seated here today.

Proud of the mother of four who is seated here today, proud of colleagues who carried their nine months pregnancies through lectures and examinations.

Proud of the workers who do not allow their audios works stop them, and proud of all who were just determined to make it and deed have. I may not know your stories but through it all, you have each made it here today. I humbly ask you to proudly own your story and your success today, own it. Your success today has nothing to do with you but everything to do with the one it lifts up and blesses tomorrow.

As you walk out thinking of tom morrow, remember, remember that you are not just an individual, you are a thousand generations to come and the decisions you make today, will ripple on and on when you are light years gone.

Class of 2019, I may not have started this journey with you, but I am proud to finally end it with you.

Whether it has been six, four, three or two years, the journey has still been long accompanied with many dark nights but today, the breaking of dawn has come. So as the good book puts it. Arise with me class of 2019 and square up your shoulders; let your bright lights shine for all the nations to see. For the glory of the Lord is risen upon us.

Thank you.

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