Every so often, I meet someone who is definitely on the road less travelled. And such is the case with John Der-Ghazarian, Most Distinguished Graduate/commencement speaker for May 2016.
Der-Ghazarian is transferring to Rochester College to earn a bachelor’s degree in psychology before entering Saint Cyril and Methodius Byzantine Catholic Seminary in Pennsylvania to prepare for the priesthood.
“One reason I am planning on entering the seminary is because I see a lot of people hurting,” says Der-Ghazarian. “I want to be involved in their lives and help them. I have the desire to do what a priest does and be there for a parish family.”
Der-Ghazarian earned the Most Distinguished Graduate and commencement speaking honors through a winning combination of good grades, great essay and a personable interview with faculty and staff judges. For his speech theme, he borrowed from his former soccer coach and encouraged his fellow graduates to “Leave it all on the field.”
“In other words, push yourself to the limit, strive for excellence,” Der-Ghazarian told his audience, “and put every fiber of your being into everything you do.”
Home schooled with his seven siblings, Der-Ghazarian credits his mother and father for showing him how to “leave it all on the field” through their hard work and perseverance. “My mom put her all into teaching us and my dad (also a Macomb grad) put his all into making ends meet,” said Der Ghazarian in his speech. “They left it all on the field so that our family could have a better future.”
Macomb awarded more than 1,600 associate degrees at the end of its winter semester and celebrated those accomplishments at its 95th commencement on May 13. Der-Ghazarian says that addressing those 3,000 graduates and their family and friends was “surreal and amazing.”
I’m betting his parents, who were sitting in the audience, felt the same.