Graduation speaker aims to inspire

SHAWN McCREA | The Ranger

Commencement ceremony to take place Dec. 17



As graduation nears, Amarillo College officials have chosen one student to speak at the 2021 commencement ceremony Dec.17 at the Amarillo Civic Center.

“We look for a student who has been impacted by the college or a student who has an uplifting story and is interested in sharing their story with other students,” Bob Austin, vice president of enrollment management, said. “I think the real value in having students speak at the commencement is all of the people in that coliseum who haven’t been to college, who might be thinking about college, who have children that want to go to college, is that they will all hear the passion in the voice of a student who is graduating from Amarillo College and feel inspired,” Austin said. 

Lucerito Gallardo, a social work major, will speak at the graduation ceremony at 7 p.m. “I want to inspire students and give them hope with my own testimony,” Gallardo said. “I want to address the high school students or even the 60-year-old dad in the stands who both have always dreamed of coming to college but felt like they were never good enough because they had bad academics in high school or middle school,” she said. “Just sharing my testimony of how I struggled and me now. I want to speak life into them,” Gallardo said. 

Gallardo’s parents were only 14 and 17 when she was born. She said they did all that they could to support her despite being so young. “I want to break those chains in my family,” Gallardo said. “I had my son in 2015 and he pushed me to be the best person I can be. I want to be an example for him and give him a head start in life,” she said. 

Gallardo said she has been impacted by several of her professors. She also credits The Writers’ Corner for always helping her. Cassie Montgomery, director of outreach services, taught Gallardo’s speech class. “Lucerito embodies everything we know about our students at Amarillo College,” Montgomery said. “She’s incredibly driven, she’s passionate about learning and her reason for being here is something bigger than herself. She came to AC to be a driving force for her son to realize that college is a viable option for him, and as a result, she has proven since day one that she belongs here too.” 

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