Apple Speech June 10, 2010 On September 20, 2002 I bought my first classic pink iPod. On October of 2005, I bought my first iPod Nano in yellow. Last summer, I bought my first laptop computer, the Macbook Pro, and my first iPod touch. Wow! I have shared many of my first experiences with Apple and I am your loyal customer, and I, Ana Plascencia, am truly honored to be given the opportunity to address you (the men and women) who have contributed to the success of the Apple and who have contributed to my success in high school.
Lets face it your ingenious technology assisted me with my homework and research projects, allowed me to compose my own music, and allowed me to gain exposure to the outside world. You are the greatest innovators in the world, and you have been important to me because simply through your products you helped me succeed through high school and you have helped me make some of my dreams come true. From an early age my mother inspired me to use values such as passion, perseverance, and discipline to make my dreams a reality.
My mother always says that the mind puts limits on one’s dreams, but the heart has the power to overcome those limits and make those dreams come true. I have seen, in my mother and myself, this power of will to persevere and to strive to be greater than one thinks they can be. But I have also come to realize the deeper and truer meaning of my mother’s saying. My mother emigrated from Mexico and raised me by herself with little education and little understanding of the English language.
I believe strength and love motivated her as she worked three jobs, seven days a week earning no more than nine twenty-five an hour. At the age of six, I began to work several times a week at restaurants and community events as a Mariachi singer thanks to an uncle of mine who taught me how to play this great music from an early age. I performed for several hours during the weekends, earning as much as fifty dollars an hour, in order to help my mother make ends meet for the both of us. I loved Mariachi music then and still do now.
But as I look back, I’m am struck by key values such as working diligently and disciplinarily, along with the power of knowledge – a power of the mind – that also enabled me to help support my family even from a young age. As I grew older, I saw that my mother, too, recognized that passion and working diligently were important, but by themselves they were not enough to fulfill one’s dreams. Along with passion and hard work, she believed the power of knowledge was a crucial key to realizing one’s goals. She worked very hard so that I could go to school, to study, so that I might accomplish my dreams.
But my mother and I didn’t have the same vision at that time. I thought that by working and being focused on making money I could easily help support my mother. But my mother had bigger dreams for me; she knew that an education was crucial for my future. She knew that I needed to have an education to open new doors and have the opportunities she didn’t have. Of course this tension between my mother’s dreams for herself and her dreams for me was not something I reflected upon until later. My mother also instilled in me a dedication to my family and my community.
Therefore at Mitty I got involved because it is was important for me to explore and take advantage of the opportunities offered at Mitty. I was president of the Latin American Student Union, which enabled me to celebrate and share the diverse Latin American cultures with the Mitty community. I was also a Mitty ambassador and an active member of campus ministry. In my local community, my passion for helping younger generations develop and strengthen their skills in reading lead me to co-found the S. T. A. R. S. reading program where I tutor children from low-income families and ignite in them the love for learning.
Attending Mitty gave me the confidence to co-fund this program and help make a difference in a child’s life, who through reading obtained confidence and a power of knowledge. My dedication for serving my community and my passion for learning have successfully transformed me into the young lady I am today. Today, this young lady that stands before you just graduated a few weeks ago from Archbishop Mitty High School, thanks to a scholarship that awarded me with the opportunity to attend a college-preparatory institution.
The young lady that stands before you is a now a proud woman who will be the first in her family to attend college and who will be attending Wellesley College in Massachusetts this upcoming fall to obtain a dual degree in biochemistry and biomedical engineering so that I may train to become a medical doctor. My dream to become a doctor began when I started volunteering at the Santa Clara Valley Medical Center, and was touched after a special incident. During mid-July of 2008, I was handed a set of personal history questions and asked to interview Spanish-speaking patients.
I wasn’t worried about having to translate because I expected the questions to be rather basic, but they were deeply serious. The patient I interviewed was Mrs. G. Mrs. G was a forty-five-year old, obese, Hispanic woman suffering from diabetes. The first few questions were neutral enough, but then I translated, “have you attempted or have thought of attempting suicide because of your health condition? ” To my surprise, Mrs. G said, “Yes. ” Then I had to ask Mrs. G if her health condition made her feel useless, insignificant, or invaluable, and again she responded, “Yes”.
Suddenly her face was covered with a flood of tears, and she began to plead for my help. She wanted me, a fifteen-year-old girl, to help her restore not only her health, but also her faith in life. At that moment I became frustrated and upset. I felt useless. I felt insignificant. The only thing I knew to do was to give her a hug and tell her with all my heart that everything was going to be okay. But I knew that was not enough. How could I restore her desire to live if I didn’t have the knowledge or skills to make her healthy?
Ever since this incident I felt powerless. The idea that I could help and make a difference in an individual’s life through being a doctor was exciting. But at that moment I also understood I didn’t just wanted to be a doctor, I wanted to travel the world and offer pro bono healthcare to people who lacked the resources. I also wanted to be a doctor who gives inspiration and desires of hope. I believe that with this education I can follow my heart and be truly useful to my family and my community.
If you had met me 5 to 6 years ago, my accomplishments would not have seemed possible or even realistic because I lacked the confidence to believe that a single individual can lead and change the world, especially if that individual was a minority with little money. Now I understand that I am as capable as anyone else to become a leader for my community and I have the power to transform the world I live in. All of you present here today, are successful ¬¬¬¬¬¬(businessmen and businesswoman) you have realized some of your dreams and have overcame all obstacles to achieve your success.
I know that the journey you had to experience to achieve success was difficult, but you have an education, an extraordinary job, and a great future ahead of you. More importantly I feel honored to stand before men and women who have the power to affect so many lives through the Apple products. In all you are, and all you must have done to be where you are, you have the power to make a difference in people’s lives. Don’t limit yourself; and try to be the best you can be because you have the opportunity to continue to deepen your knowledge, achieve personal growth, and make a difference in your communities.
You see, just four years ago, I was given the opportunity to change my life by attending Mitty, but I was naive and close-minded. I was afraid. I was afraid that by attending Mitty and striving to follow a different path than my neighborhood friends, I would have to leave behind my identity and betray my culture. I was afraid of being successful because in the neighborhood I grew up in, Mexicans never amounted to anything important which caused me to believe that I would fail like everyone around me did. I truly lost a sense of who I was and who I wanted to be.
It may come as a surprise to you, but during middle school I was involved with gangs. Although I wanted to run away from the neighborhood I grew up in and I wanted to change who I was at that time, I was afraid that I could never become a better person. I had big dreams, but I was afraid that I would always be that person somehow. But in the end I realized that my past didn’t have to define me and that I could change today and be the person I wanted to be. I realized I couldn’t let this opportunity go away and that I at least had to try to change.
In the end I realized that because of my fear I was creating excuses and setting limitations for myself, but that in order to grow, I needed to find the courage to overcome my fears. Many of you may be wondering, what motivated me to leave behind my fears and pursue a different path? What motivated me to overcome by own limitations? My family was a key factor, but I was most enlightened to change my path after a visit to Guadalajara, Mexico. A few weeks before the deadline for registration at Mitty, I traveled to Mexico during the summer.
During my trip, I was shocked by the poor conditions my family members lived in. In my families’ nearby ranchitos (small towns), I saw children walking barefooted with ripped clothing begging on the dirt road in the rural countryside. As I saw the look of the children’s faces, I began to picture myself as the child begging on the dirt road. At the moment I understood why my mother worked as hard as she did and encouraged me to strive for greatness. At that moment I began to appreciate the food, the shelter, and the life my mother provided for me in the U. S. My trip to Guadalajara also taught me to value education.
In the rural countryside in Guadalajara, I met an older cousin named Roxana; she is the second youngest of her six siblings. At the time, she had graduated from high school 3 years ago, but had to abandon her dream of becoming a physician because her family lacked the financial resources to pay for college. Roxana sacrificed her own dream to help her family survive. Once I heard my cousin’s story I felt insignificant. I felt ashamed of who I was at the time and how I was wasting my life because I knew that my cousin would have given everything she had to have the opportunities I did.
At that point, I felt as if God was purposely rescuing me and offering me a second chance by blessing me with the scholarship. Almost instantly, my anxiety and fears washed away and I was ready to join the Mitty Monarch family. Well you may be wondering if my cousin ended up accomplishing her dream, and she did. After dedicating herself four years to work for the survival of her family, Roxana was awarded with a four-year scholarship that enabled her to pursue her dream. The hunger Roxana demonstrated to break free from the cycle of poverty, motivated me to also break free from my past and attend Mitty.
My experience at Mitty was one of the most difficult experiences of my life. When I began my education at Mitty I was not very good at speaking English. I was an outcast. I entered a new environment where I experienced a culture shock because more than 56% of the student body was white and only 10% was Hispanic at that current time. In addition I didn’t know anyone, I wasn’t catholic, I didn’t know the rules, and I felt imprisoned in a complete different world where it was hard adjusting emotionally, physically, and mentally.
After spending the first month eating in a bathroom stall and preventing myself from integrating into the Mitty community, I said enough and I found the courage to break my shell. I had to work hard everyday and even though I grew tired of having to fit in and adjust to the workload, I couldn’t let anything or anyone stop me. I was given an opportunity to become an educated and well-rounded person, and how could I not do it, I couldn’t let myself down. Despite the rigid workload and the many sleepless nights, Mitty truly transformed my entire life.
I am intellectually competent and a leader of the Mitty community, but I am also a young lady who is passionate for social justice. In my four-year experience at Mitty, many didn’t believe I would make it. Many didn’t believe I even deserved to be given an opportunity such as attending a private high school with a full ride. Thanks to the support of my teachers, my counselors, my principal, and friends, I learned to believe in myself and that was all I needed to continue to fight. I am greater than I ever thought I could be, and I know I ill continue to grow as I begin a new stage of my life in college. If I am successful, it is my heartfelt belief that my success will be by some combination of heart and mind. Passion and love may drive the values of sacrifice, hard work, and dedication, but insight, thought and knowledge will focus those values into the actions needed to realize my goals. Insight, thought, and knowledge along with hard work and dedication are values that have helped you realize your own goals. You work in an extraordinary environment where your work each day transforms the world we live in.
You are leading the way towards a future full of opportunities and new discoveries. My only wish is that from my speech today you remember two things. First, take advantage of the limitless opportunities Apple offers. These opportunities will allow you to deepen your knowledge, realize your greater potential, and become empowered to not only to achieve the seemingly impossible, but also achieve personal balance in your overall success. You are all already successful businessmen and businesswomen, but don’t feel afraid to take an extra step to find new, innovative ways to contribute to Apple.
And finally, I feel privileged to have shared my story with such a special breed of people who can make such a difference because of all of the opportunities you have that others don’t. I think you have power and you can pay it forward to others in our society. Look at how my life changed because one school believed in me and took a chance, and each one of you has the power to do the same. This is why I am so excited to be here with you, you are truly the greatest innovators in the world, and you can do whatever you set your mind to because you have the power. Thank you.
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