We’re pleased to share with you Jovilisi Kila’s commencement address from our recent 2022 graduation ceremony for medical assisting with phlebotomy students. We think you’ll find what Jovilisi had to say on the day, uplifting and inspiring. (Text has been edited slightly.)
“Today is a milestone. Congratulations, we’ve made it through the pandemic where covid testing is the new normal, and wearing a mask has become fashionable; the endless hours of zoom classes and social distancing. Determination, resilience, and hard work have finally paid off. You’ve all earned your place in the future, and I salute you.
A big thank you to the CEO of BAMA, Simonida Cvejic, the teaching staff, and school administration for your continuous hard work making sure everyone was safe following protocols, through testing and masking. A big shout-out to Ms. Molly Joliff. Having worked closely with her, I have nothing but the greatest respect for her. Her leadership and approach to de-escalating and working through conflicts are something I will take with me wherever I go.
Dr. Danial. Where can I start? You’re one of our favorite instructors, nick-named the “Walking Computer.” Your ability to teach with kindness and respect is simply beyond compare. As you all know, most of the students in my class worked during the day and attended classes in the evening via Zoom. Franz, Cat, James, Joyce, Lucy, Mary, Bianca, Sabrina, Miranda, Susan…and the list goes on. We all had each other’s back; we made sure everyone attended class and handed our assignments in on time. To Dr. Danial’s evening class, thank you! To Dr. Danial, our most sincere and heartfelt appreciation; to the phlebotomy team, Tracy, Serena, and countless others thank you; to my fellow externship crew at Zuckerberg San Francisco 1-M clinic, Cristian, Sequoia, and Daralynn thank you for making learning fun and not stressful. Celeste, thank you for being my study partner. To all those working behind the scenes, your hard work, tenacity, support, and dedication and support do not go unnoticed. To Tanya, Ana Paula, Mike, Shien, Renee, and Sue; a big thank you. Graduates, can we all give them a round of applause?
From my very humble beginning on an island in the South Pacific, my parents were right to instill in me that education will take you far in life. While there, I taught briefly at the School for the Blind and volunteered my time working with the disabled. Upon coming to America and landing in Seattle, I took some nursing classes and worked in patient care as a nursing assistant with the elderly, serving as their advocate when needed. But my time with BAMA has shown me someone else; someone whom I did not even know existed, within myself.
I’m going to be succinct and briefly summarize the key points for us to move on from here.
Graduates, I’ll leave you with 3 key ideas that have been helpful for me.
1. Be grateful and appreciative of everything you encounter in life even when it might not be going your way, make it a teaching moment. Our experiences at BAMA have been filled with teaching moments.
2. BAMA has also ignited a light within us. As Maya Angelo once said, “Nothing can dim the light which shines from within.” Honesty and integrity are essential within the medical profession. May you carry that torch with honor and pride.
3. I’ll leave you with Dr. Martin Luther King’s words, which have long inspired me. “If a man is called to be a street sweeper, he should sweep streets even as Michelangelo painted, Beethoven composed music, or Shakespeare wrote poetry. He should sweep streets so well, that all the hosts of Heaven and Earth may pause to say, “Here lived a great street sweeper who did his job well.”
Graduates, as you move forward in your careers and in your lives, give it your best, sincerely from your heart.
Thank you all, and thank you BAMA.”