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Go Forth!

Student stories light up annual convocation ceremony

Story Series
News Feature

The goal is to send Bears out into the world to teach in Tanzania, intern at Vertex or State Street, build houses in Belize, break track records, and pursue individual ambitions, whatever they might be.

To accomplish such things, President Frederick W. Clark advised incoming freshman, during Tuesday’s convocation ceremony, to take advantage of the many resources and opportunities Bridgewater State University offers. 

“You will find people here who will encourage you, challenge you, guide you and support you,” President Clark said during the ceremony, which was held under a tent in University Park. “Know, too, that your success is our highest priority. That’s why you’ve come here and everyone at this university is dedicated to help you achieve your goals and fulfill your dreams.”

The remarks of student speakers were once again the highlight of convocation. They shared stories about the challenges they’ve faced during their time at Bridgewater, but added that for those willing to get involved, anything is possible.

Sometimes it’s as simple as “showing up” said Bridget Burke, ’19.

“Showing up and walking through the door is the key to college,” she said. “You have to have courage and confidence to walk up to the door and knock. Because guess what? There is always someone on the other side who answers.”

Sophie Scrimgeour, ’21, admits her road to BSU was a bumpy one. In eighth grade she was diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome and often bullied in high school.

Upon arriving on campus she found the atmosphere to be “non-judgmental,” with people in place who inspired her. 

“The resources and opportunities here at Bridgewater have given me the courage to challenge myself and immerse myself in finding my passion, which is to help people with disabilities,” Sophie said.

For two years, Alexis Monteiro, ’20, who hails from Cape Verde, struggled to speak and understand English. He found himself thrown into a world where the language, food and culture were mysteries to him. 

“I was a sailor in an unknown sea,” he said. 

Instead of giving up, he sought out help and received it. 

“There are people here who can really help bring out your best self,” Alexis said.

The other student speakers provided tips for members of the class of 2022, as well.

Embrace your story, said Bridget Buckley, ’19. 

Surround yourself with those who inspire, not drain you, advised Tom Gentile, ’20. 

Push yourself even if you’re uncomfortable, added Mouctar Diakite, ’21. 

Sophie added one last nugget of advice. 

“Make sure to try the pickle pizza in Tillinghast Hall.” (Story by Heather Michonski Harris, University News; photos by Drew Cambra, ’19)

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