School of Education Student Delivers Staten Island Commencement Student Address
On Saturday, May 20, St. John’s University students on the Staten Island campus celebrated their commencement exercises. The student address was delivered by James P. McKeon ‘17Ed, recipient of a B.S.Ed. in Adolescent Education- English and Student Government Staten Island Vice President. In his humorous and inspiring remarks, McKeon recounted visiting campus for the first time when his older brother Christopher McKeon ’08CPS graduated. McKeon shared that when he came to St. John’s University as a transfer student, he had ultimately come home, recounting the community he found at St. John’s.
McKeon, recounting his involvement in campus life shared, “During my time as a member of Student Government, specifically, I would see firsthand the great work the students at this campus would create. Several outstanding members of this Class of 2017 brought exceptional organizations to life on this campus. [Student] organizations like Oxfam Society, Bulls and Bears Accounting Club, and John Dewey Education Society and the students dedicated to seeing them succeed exemplify the mission that St. John’s has taught to us, to bring a Vincentian education out into the world for all walks of life.
In preparation for today, I’ve thought a lot about that mission and what it’s meant to me, and all of us. And I feel that the mission really can be related back to that idea of finding a home. Many of you may feel the same way that I do. You may not want to go home. You may not want to step outside the comfort zone that life here at St. John’s has created for us. You may not feel as though you’re ready for whatever is coming next. But I’m confident that you are. I’m confident that we’re ready, because if there’s one thing I believe this campus and this community have taught me, it’s the ability to make wherever I go feel like home. To make wherever we go feel a little more like it feels here. Isn’t that the essence of our mission? As we leave this great University we will carry the experiences we have had and the memories that have made this place what it is, with us for the rest of our lives, and those experiences and those memories will allow us to make wherever we end up next a better place. People who have that kind of ability are exactly the type of people that the world needs more of. People that are welcoming. People that can make you smile. People that care about the people they’re with. People that can make those around them feel like they’re at home. It’s because of these kinds of people that I’ve met here, and there are too many to name but you know who you are, that a two-time transfer who initially had no eyes on the future was able to find his way in this great community to walk across this stage and look confidently in the direction of life after graduation. I truly and sincerely thank each and every one of you.
So, before we continue with today’s festivities and we get ready to take our home and share it with the rest of the world, I want to leave you with a closing sentiment. Anyone who knows me knows 99 percent of what I say is quotes, so I thought it fitting to send us off with one. It was Russell Crowe’s character Maximus, from the 2000 film Gladiator, who said to his soldiers on the eve of battle, “What we do in life echoes in eternity.” And I think it’s fair to say today, on the day of our graduation, that what we’ve done at St. John’s Staten Island campus will echo throughout the rest of our lives. I thank you all for your time, and I thank you all for what you’ve done for me. God bless.
The School of Education congratulates James and the entire Class of 2017.