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Dear ALC Class of 2020,

You know what perseverance looks like. You know that achievements are more than a trophy on a shelf. You know hard work isn’t always noticed by others, but is rewarding in itself. You know all these things and so much more not only because of the COVID-19 Pandemic but also because you are graduates of Alice Lloyd College.

The last four years has tested your knowledge, endurance, and passion for your chosen field. You have walked the Purpose Road debating whether or not you have enough courage, interest, action, duty, or consecration to use your degree in a lifetime of service. Some of you have even changed your degree and career path multiple times. You’ve called your parents with tears of frustration, sat for hours with your most beloved professor or faculty member seeking their wise advice, and stayed up late just wanting to study a little bit more. In those moments you asked yourself, “Is it worth it?” Then you pictured yourself walking across the stage in your cap and gown reaching towards your diploma and you answered, “Yes!”

While your graduation ceremony has been moved to a later date, your question and answer is still valid. You have worked hard and accomplished a great task. For some, you are the first person in your family to further your education through college while others have followed in the footsteps of their mothers and fathers. No matter what background you possess, the class of 2020 has taken a giant step to further their dreams and serve the Appalachian community. All Alice Lloyd College has done is provide you with the tools necessary to accomplish your goals. You have picked those tools up, used them, and made them into your own.

With the tools provided by ALC, you have overcome many obstacles and challenges throughout your college years. Your outcome can be summed up by the poem “If-”by Rudyard Kipling. The poem hangs in the Hunger Din, and you probably learned in British literature that it is written from a father to his son advising him on how to face the different challenges he will experience in life. He writes in the second stanza:

If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;

If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim;

If you can meet with triumph and disaste

And treat those two impostors just the same;

If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken

Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,

Or watch the things you gave your life to broken,

And stoop and build ’em up with wornout tools;

The poem ends on a positive premise towards the fact that if a person can overcome all of life’s obstacles then “Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it / And –which is more – you’ll be a Man, my son!”

Class of 2020, yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it. You have overcome obstacle after obstacle to the point where you were strong enough and determined to not let the COVID-19 Pandemic stop you from reaching your goal. You know all of life is an obstacle that must be faced with as much knowledge, courage, and aspiration one can muster. From classes to convocations to work study you have been given the tools for your future, taught how to better use your skills, and how to live a life of service.

So throw your caps high and take a confident step forward.

Congratulations ALC Class of 2020!!

Talon, ALC Mascot