“Finding Your Niche” Child & Adolescent Development Convocation

Child & Adolescent Development Convocation: “Finding Your Niche”

“Finding Your Niche” Child & Adolescent Development Convocation

As child and adolescent development graduates embarked on a “commitment to a life of service,” they shared memories of lighter moments that reminded them “it only takes one teacher to make a difference.” (Stanley Olszewski photo)

(This week, SJSU Today’s small but mighty band of writers and photographers will take a peek at graduation receptions and convocations campuswide so we can share with you the excitement of the more than 8,000 members of the Class of 2013. We’ll post more photos on Facebook.)

The sun glistened high over Tower Lawn late Wednesday afternoon, as families and guests snapped photos and conversed while awaiting the Department of Child and Adolescent Development convocation.

The graduates’ supporters snapped, leg-clapped and swayed to Smokey Robinson’s “You’ve Really Got a Hold on Me,” Marvin Gaye’s “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough,” and The Beatles’ “Can’t Buy Me Love,” while the incandescent Tower Hall provided the perfect finishing touch to this energetic crowd.

The master of ceremonies, Lecturer Donna Bee-Gates, opened the event by welcoming the graduates, families and friends. She told grads that she was “awed” by their hard work, persistence and ability to overcome challenges.

Staying Connected

Before turning over the ceremony to Elaine Chin, dean of the Connie L. Lurie College of Education, Bee-Gates reminded graduates to “stay connected” to what they loved and to keep “excited and engaged.”

In her welcome address, Dean Chin entrusted full faith in the graduates who would provide “tremendous service for the communities they would serve” and commended graduates on their forthcoming “commitment to a life of service.”

Child and Adolescent Development Club President Michelle Doan spoke next, thanking Lecturer Cheri Reaves for teaching her that “everything we do is purposeful” and sharing a vignette about checking out tadpoles with a child to remind her fellow “teacher child advocates and beyond” that “it only takes one teacher to make a difference.”

The Most Significant Watermarks

An entertaining and compelling keynote speech followed by “humanitarian entrepreneur” Jon Talbert, who carried on the theme of the important role of the educator by saying “the most significant watermarks come from your teachers.”

Talbert reminisced about his kindergarten teacher, who challenged him to conquer the monkey bars on the first day of class with the lesson that “sometimes there will be things you will have to climb up over and down to get to what’s best.”

Talbert concluded his speech with advice for graduates to “find and keep doing their genius niche,” “have the courage in teachable moments” and “use power words that win.”


In a recent survey, SJSU asked new grads if they would like to send a shout out to family and friends. Here are some of the responses we received from child and adolescent development majors. More will be shared at Commencement.

Elizabeth Yanez: “I would like to thank my whole family for always being there for me through the beginning of this journey.”

Emerald Green: “I want to thank all of the students who have supported me and befriended me since my freshman year. You have all inspired me in many ways to continue to be who I am and reach my full potential.”

Fatima Hussain: “To all my awesome professors: thanks!”