Roadmap to Success: Gov. Kay Ivey speaks at AIDB Baccalaureate
The Daily Home
'A Roadmap to Sucess'
Gov. Ivey offers words of encouragement to AIDB 2019 graduates
Aricle by Laci Braswell, Daily Home staff writer. Photography by Bob Crisp.
Gov. Kay Ivey told AIDB graduates Thursday that they should take pride in planning their futures.
“Make a plan, work a plan, rework the plan — and if you need to, start again. Don’t let a roadblock get in your way,” Gov. Ivey said. “You are the one that's in charge of your life and only you can know what it is that you want to do.”
Ivey was the keynote speaker for the Alabama Institute for Deaf and Blind’s baccalaureate service on Thursday. The ceremony recognized the 2019 graduates of the Alabama School for the Blind, Alabama School for the Deaf and Helen Keller School.
AIDB officials, faculty, staff, parents, alumni, and city and community leaders gathered inside AIDB’s Hawkins Chapel to honor the 27 seniors — and to hear from the governor.
In addition to planning, Ivey advised the students to embrace serving others and their communities.
“Enter, or you’ll be excluded,” she said. “You must offer yourself to serve, or you’ll never get the chance to see the blessing that comes from helping others.”
Lastly, Ivey offered a simple pathway to success.
“Once you’re given the chance to lead, do it,” Ivey said. “A lot of people call themselves leaders because they like the power and fame that comes with the position. Not a single person is a leader unless someone is willing to follow.”
Ivey suggested that “leadership requires a willingness to work hard and make sacrifices. True leadership requires you to act.”
The governor also advised graduates not to be afraid of telling their own unique story.
“The beauty of our nation is that all people can make a difference if they try. So get out there and chase your dreams!”
When asked about the significance of AIDB and the impact the Alabama Industries for the Blind has on our state, Ivey replied, “The work they do is very comprehensive and inspiring. I was certainly inspired here today. It’s also always important when a person can learn a skill or trade and make money to support themselves. AIDB does a phenomenal job at preparing our students and we’re grateful for that.”
AIDB President John Mascia also addressed the 2019 graduates on Thursday.
“I don’t even have the proper words to express how truly proud I am of every single one of you,” he said. “Each graduate has written their own limitless story and has the potential to make a difference with this state, country and the world.”
Mascia continued, “The late Steve Jobs once said, ‘Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do.’ We all love what we do, but most importantly, we love each and every one of you. We want you to be able to have a future doing what you love.”
Also during the program, the AIDB ensemble performed a rendition of “This is Me.” The group consists of ASB, ASD and HKS students.
Additionally, ASB students Geordon Carter and Chase Lowe, along with ASD students Zachary Beaver and Dar’Janae Neal offered reflections on their time at AIDB.
Jimmy Carter, a former student of the Alabama School for the Negro Deaf and Blind and the only original surviving member of the Blind Boys of Alabama, was also presented an honorary degree during Thursday’s ceremony.
“I’m at a loss for words,” he said. “This is not something I was ever expecting, but I want to thank everyone involved who helped make it possible.”
Carter also shared a message to the 2019 graduating class.
“You are stepping out of a life of school and into the school of life,” he said. “Stay strong in what you believe, and you can and will make a difference!”
The AIDB 2019 graduating classes are:
ASB: Cedric Maurice Brown Jr.; Nathan Alexander Cappalletti; Geordon Maurice Carter; Kennedy Taylor Dockery, valedictorian; Alyssa Madison Green; Chase Alexander Lowe, salutatorian; Antonia Kiara Tinniehill; Tamaia Nikole Tinniehill; and Trent Williams.
ASD: Zachary Beaver, Salutatorian; Gabriel Bridges, valedictorian; Santasia Crittenden; Jasmine Culpepper; Shania Davidson; Jacob Johnson; Alex Ledbetter; Quindarius Millhouse; Dar’Janae Neal; Maria Alejandra Rivera; Angelo Simon, Jr.; Jocelyn Smooth; Noah Stanford; Edmund Wilkins, Jr.; and Vitroni Williams.
Helen Keller School: Taneshia Shawnta Jackson; Denzel LarMar Robinson; and Jordian Alexis Smith.