Hidden Reminder Exposed During Keene State College Graduation in New Hampshire
Editor's note: This article was written by a Townsquare Media Northern New England contributor and may contain the individual's views, opinions, or personal experiences.
Keene State College 2023 Graduation
This past Saturday, May 6, Keene State College, according to its official website, graduated over 650 members of the Class of 2023. The two-and-a-half-hour ceremony held in the Quad saw degrees dished out in arts, fine arts, education, and more on a beautiful, cloudless day.
But that's not the headline. The headline is the hidden reminders that were brought to the surface on two different occasions during the ceremony -- reminders that showed the kind of humans that live in or have some connection to New England.
Keene State Staff Award
Before the actual handing out of degrees happened, a handful of guest speakers made their way to the podium -- from the President of Keene State College to the Class of 2023 President to even U.S. Congresswoman Ann McLane Kuster -- leading to the presentation of two special awards.
The first of which, the Alumni Association Distinguished Teacher Award, went to Julio Del Sesto, who actually graduated from Keene State in 2007 and currently serves as a professor of journalism.
What followed the announcing of Julio's name was a deeply raw and emotional video showing Julio talking to the camera and telling the story of how he was born six weeks early with brain damage and doctors at the time told his parents he wouldn't even walk.
Julio went on to highlight and discuss multiple obstacles thrown his way, including struggles with mental health, dyslexia, depression, panic attacks -- struggles that brought him "to his knees" and made him "consider giving up" before he "actually woke up."
By the end of the incredibly emotional video, applause rang out with the staff members seated on stage. Then the graduating Class of 2023. Then the friends and family who came to support their graduate. And what followed was everyone in attendance -- every single person -- giving Julio a standing ovation.
Keene State Leo F. Redfern Outstanding Citizen Award
Following Julio's award and recognition, what followed was recognizing a student for their outstanding accomplishments. Already seated on stage for the ceremony, Class of 2023 member Dominic "Dom" Lynch became emotional as the President of Keene State College, Melinda Treadwell, read down his insane list of accomplishments.
And, much like the reaction to Julio's award, after President Treadwell finished presenting Dom with his award, applause broke out on stage. Then among his peers in the Class of 2023, and then in the rest of the audience, leading to both every member on stage and every member of the Class of 2023 rising to their feet once again for another standing ovation.
And those two standing ovations tie into the "exposed hidden reminder" mentioned above. Because for all the negative news that hits our eyes and ears multiple times every single day, for this one afternoon, there was nothing but goodness. Nothing but appreciation. Nothing but pride.
Pride showed for an admired professor. Pride showed for a fellow peer. And from the audience's point of view, pride for two total strangers.
You'll hear plenty of stories of people tearing each other down today, and probably see plenty of social media posts that show the same thing. And you may once again think humanity has turned into an absolute dumpster fire.
But hopefully, you also clicked on this article today and saw that, despite all that, in what's become a much more low-key and "hidden" scale these days, the human spirit still lives on and solid human beings still exist.