Patton Hunt of Dalton graduated Friday, May 11 with a bachelor’s degree in History with Education Certification. In his time at Dalton State, Patton learned, among other things, that sometimes it’s best to embrace what you have rather than look for something you think might be better.
Many of you might be able to relate to my story at Dalton State College. My first two years at Dalton State I did not want to be here, and I had no clue what I wanted to do with my life yet.
I was born in Dalton and spent my entire life in Dalton. I just wanted out. During my sophomore year at Dalton State, I applied to the University of Georgia. Then one day, while I was waiting on my acceptance letter from UGA, I received a fateful email encouraging me to apply as an orientation leader with the Office of Student Life. I decided maybe instead of running away I should become more involved at Dalton State and maybe my “great escape” was not what was truly best for me. Instead of abandoning someplace, I could help make it better, so other students would want to make Dalton State their “great escape.” I realized that I could have better opportunities and create more change here.
I honestly believe not transferring from Dalton State was one of the best decisions I have made in my life to this day. During my time as an orientation leader, I became involved in student government. In 2009 I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to study in China for a semester. Eventually I became Student Body President. As president, I helped to revive the roadrunner we now know as “Rage.” In addition, I helped the College get crosswalks and curb cuts along “The Loop” on College Drive for our students.
I am amazed at how much Dalton State has changed since I started just a few years ago. Dalton State now has 15 four-year programs; including nursing that was approved this year. Currently it has more than 5,000 students with about 300 of them being International Students. Dalton State boasts a redesigned roadrunner mascot. Also new to campus this year is the revival of roadrunner athletics. As Bob Dylan once said, “The times, they are a-changin’” and exciting times are upon us in the Roadrunner Nation.
After graduation, I plan to pursue a career in education. This means that I have spent most of my time this semester away from campus at Dalton Middle School, but I will tell you the same things I would say to my students, a few things to remember as you make your way through life:
- Never let anyone tell you that you cannot do something because your beliefs are different from theirs.
- Ladies, never let anyone tell you that you cannot do something because you are a woman.
- Never let anyone tell you that you cannot do anything because you are just simply too young.
- Finally, never, never, never let anyone tell you that you cannot do something because of the color of your skin.
Anyone who tries to make you believe any of these things is wrong. I want to warn you about those people. They are called “dream stealers” and for whatever reasons they do not want you to achieve your dreams. There is a good chance someone stole theirs at one point in time. So they became bitter in some way and will try to steal yours.
Do not let people steal your dreams, but be careful not to steal other people’s dreams either. Unfortunately, sometimes teachers can be the worst offenders of them all. To my fellow education majors, please be careful not to become a dream stealer to one of your students. Finally, I would like you to remember to be careful how you treat every living soul because we do not know the trials and tribulations that someone has had to overcome in their lifetime.
I want to share a quote; it is from the last few pages of my favorite Dr. Suess book Oh, the Places You’ll Go!, and I plan on reading it to my students on the last day of class for the next 30 or so years:
“You’ll get mixed up, of course, as you already know. You’ll get mixed up with many strange birds as you go. So be sure when you step. Step with care and great tact and remember that Life’s a Great Balancing Act. Just never forget to be dexterous and deft. And never mix up your right foot with your left. And will you succeed? Yes! You will indeed! (98 and ¾ percent guaranteed.) KID, YOU’LL MOVE MOUNTAINS! So… be you name Bauxbaum or Bixby or Bray or Mordecai Ali Van Allen O’Shea, you’re off to Great Places! Today is your day! Your mountain is waiting. So… get on your way!”
I wish the best to all my fellow 2012 Dalton State graduates. May the odds be ever in our favor!