Bulldog Bites

News and Views from the University of Redlands

Amma Adomaa-Fordjour '18: 'There Was a Light'

Amma Adomaa-Fordjour '18 (center) is this year's College of Arts and Sciences student Commencement speaker. (Photo by Coco McKown '04, '10)

Each year, one graduating student from each of the three schools at the University of Redlands is selected to speak during the Commencement ceremonies. This year, biology and chemistry double major Amma Adomaa-Fordjour '18 addressed the audience at the College of Arts and Sciences festivities. Her speech took the form of a poem: 

There Was a Light 

My parents come from a place where there is no light 

My parents come from a place where there is no light 

I don’t mean light fixtures but I mean bright futures 

They lack production but they don’t lack producers 

We were brought here cause rumor was and rumor is that college is bliss 

And college is this and college is that 

So I went to college and found my habitat 

I found my home 

My parents come from a place where dreams remain dreams and ideas are invalidated 

Though motivated, they are often frustrated because the lack of materials that come in are often donated 

I located the importance of education while being on this campus 

I’m dancing, with happiness because we have unlimited chances to succeed and chances to achieve all that we want. At our speed, Godspeed 

I’m ecstatic, these last 4 years have been dramatic 

I have lost my breath so many times you would have thought I was asthmatic 

So climatic, to walk on this campus in 2014, with our minds overwhelmed and our dreams in our hands 

I have some plans, how many of you all can relate? 

Grab our diplomas, graduate, and hope we too can be great 

The amount of weight our diplomas carry compared to the rest of the world is more than we can even fathom 

Imagine, my enthusiasm when I saw 2018 arrive, I started gasping cause time’s passing 

We’re adults now but I don’t really feel it and we are still healing and it’s getting so surreal 

But here’s the deal 

Not everyone likes the cards that they are dealt with 

So be your own dealer, sometimes just be selfish 

And lets agree 

To all be a light in this world 

And shine somebody’s light and inspire little girls 

And aim to be king and aim to change things and reach for the moon like we’re jumping on springs 

Here’s to the nights in the lib. Here’s to the drinks in the cafe. Here’s to the sweet ladies in the commons that made our day every day 

Here’s to our professors. Although you were our stressors, although you kept us up for so long we don’t resent you 

Here’s to the sacrifices our loved ones made, the debts they paid and all that wage 

Just to see us walk this stage and experience today 

I’m so in love with the idea of a future where everyone in my graduating class is shining their light 

I’m so in love with the word “future” itself cause in it I see wealth 

No monetary wealth, but wealth that’s based on sharing and based on caring  

And based on caring and based on something and based on trusting 

I think we’re tasting the first bite of our reality 

A casualty, would be to live our lives in stagnancy 

Magically, we have made it to this day to celebrate that we are worthy and confirm that we are great 

It is our fate to keep going and keep growing 

And keep showing what we’re really made of. This. 

We are movers, we are chasers, we are givers, we are takers 

We are forces that cannot be reckoned with. You’ll second this. 

I’m sorry mom and dad if I didn’t call you guys enough 

I was too nervous to tell you school was getting tough and I was seeing stuff that I thought I’d never see 

And I was losing sleep so I could secure this degree 

I know you’re proud of me and our parents are proud of us 

Our guardian, our loved ones, were there when it was rough 

To them, we are more than enough 

Isn’t it fascinating 

The people we dated. The times we spent so doubtful and so frustrated 

All the friends that related 

It has been negated and its all equated  

To us finally reaching the finish line. In due time we will see our lights shine 

We will see the whole nine yards. Its in our stars to succeed 

We may not see it yet but it’s in our stars that we lead 

Lead a different group. Lead a different troop  

Of young minds 

To let them know that they too can be in this exact place. They too have lights 

My parents come from a place where children have to think about their next meal before they have the chance to think about their education 

Across the nation we are so blessed to be in this position 

It’s our mission to envision and add our own additions and place our omissions 

On whatever is wrong and keep what belongs and keep getting strong and live our lives long 

The memories I made here are forever engraved in the mind 

I leave behind all the fears and second guessing and stressing 

You are just progressing 

And moving forward and moving towards what’s truly yours and what we deserve 

Who has the nerve to take this moment away from us? 

We hold these truths to be self evident 

That all men are created equal 

But all men, women, he/him/his, she/her/hers, they/their/theirs, non gender conforming and non gender identifying people are not given equal opportunity 


I’m allergic to any form of discrimination  

Or anything that’s stopping the youth from getting an education 

Make some donations, advocate for a cause, change a neighborhood, find a gain in every loss 

Be your own boss 

Buy your dream house. Take care of your parents. Marry your dream spouse 

Find purpose in your life and help other find theirs. Because not everybody gets the chance to dream like us 

I might sound very repetitive or maybe every word I have said has reached a different part of your heart, mind, or spirit 

I hear it. If they are against us we won’t fear it. Or fear them 

We are built so uniquely  

I will teach you something if you promise that you’ll teach me 

Everyone has reached me 

Look at our connections. Walking to class, I saw friends in each and every direction 

Thankful for the lessons. Its truly been a blessing 

Walking on the quad and seeing life, so refreshing 

Graduation is not an end goal in itself 

It’s a larger journey of life, its one book that’s on our shelf 

Whatever it is, wherever it is, wherever you go, whatever you do 

As long as it’s for you. You will find it 

We are flights that are anxious to be flying. We are lights that are anxious to be shining 

It’s all aligning, our stars said that we’re ready so we must be ready 

Even if we ourselves don’t believe that we are steady. We are ready