The Class of 2020 marked today’s important date with a zoom call to celebrate and commemorate their transformative time at CMC. Some members of the class gave speeches and toasts, check them out below:
GABE GLUSKIN BRAUN ON THE VALUE OF AN EDUCATION:
During the time we were lucky enough to attend Zoom university I started to appreciate even more what makes our education so impactful and valuable. The close proximity we get on campus, the conversations and interactions all form a physical academic community that cannot be truly replaced from afar.
I think it’s wild that college is this set aside time to think and read and learn, in some ways insulated from but very aware of the world. I think that’s what makes us grow, having the opportunity and privilege to push our boundaries, in class and out, in an environment that encourages our curiosity, allowing us to experiment and discover who we are, and who we want to be. I see that not just in classes and homework but in the movements and organizations that we were all a part of, how we supported each other through personal trials and national crises.
Hannah Arendt said that “Education is the point at which we decide whether we love the world enough to assume responsibility for it.” I am grateful and indebted to all of you for leaving me with the love and drive to do just that. Thank you, to each of you for being a part of this journey of education, and for imparting on me the joyous burden of responsibility.
COLTON SMITH ON THE CMC COMMUNITY:
For those of you who don’t know me, I’m Cole smith. To be honest, I was a little surprised I was asked to do this. We’ve all had our struggles throughout our time at cmc. Whether that be from a sports injury, really struggling through a class, or yelling at dos outside a party because they want to shut you down. But throughout all of our struggles, we have been surrounded by the most hard-working, most caring groups of people I have ever been a part of.
Where I grew up, it wasn’t “cool” to be involved in school. But, my perception of being involved changed immediately when I stepped on campus. And a large part of that is due to our mentors and those who came before us. They taught us how to interact in the professional world. How to get a job. And most importantly, how to leave every place we touch and every group we interact with better than we found it. And those are two things I believe we did a great job of. Not only, leaving CMC and all the groups we were part of better off, but also teaching those who are coming after us how to do the same. So here’s a toast to our mentors and those who came before us, a toast to our families who supported us throughout this journey, and most importantly to us, because we are finally done.
CRYSTAL SALINAS AND SOFIA TRIGO ON FRIENDSHIP:
For those of you who don’t know us, I am Sofia Trigo and I am Crystal Salinas and we are so excited to be doing a senior class toast celebrating our amazing 4 years together!
You might be wondering why we are speaking to the class of 2020 today, well we don’t know either but we do know we wanted to talk to you about something we took out of CMC, and I’m sure many of you have too: friendship.
Looking back on our time in college, Crystal and I often think about how lucky we were to be placed together as freshman year roommates. After WOA, we instantly clicked and ending up spending most of our time together: from attending ath talks, to cheering at CMS games, to even playing ping pong in robert. We have CMC to thank for the friendship we walked away with today.
This kind of bond is not exclusive to our friendship. We know all of you have met YOUR PEOPLE. No matter where you first met: in class, at the hub, in the lab, or on the field - CMC is what brought you together.
This especially seems to be the case for the class of 2020. As we close this chapter of our lives, look around (even if it's on zoom) because these are the people who have made your experience what it is today.
No doubt this past year has been a whirlwind. None of us could have pictured where we are now, but, as we Mark Our Moment we hope you think back to your favorite 601 or pirate party and remember all the people you shared it with.
We also hope you know that if you get that new promotion, travel the world, get married, have kids, and of course, make mistakes - you remember the friends you’ve made at CMC will be there for you through thick and thin.
We want to thank the class of 2020 for being the best and most resilient class CMC has seen yet, and we can’t wait to see where these friendships take you!
Congratulations yet again class of 2020! Crys and I can’t wait to see you at the one year reunion - we will be waiting at Union! Congrats Congrats!
ISAIAH TULANDA ON BEING YOURSELF:
Congratulations, Class of 2020! I stand here, virtually, in front of you today to say something real corny, and I have two minutes so you’re just going to have to bear with me. We all have a superpower that we were born with. It took us a while to figure it out, but now we have a pretty good handle on it. It is the power of being yourself. We’ve all had to go our own way, some of us coming in with a 4, 5, maybe even 10 year plan, while others didn’t even have plans for dinner. And yet we are still here. And regardless of where you began, your plan had to change along the way, because you had to change along the way. We’ve spent the past few years growing into the people we were meant to be. Be proud of the journey you carved out that’s led you to where you are right now. Family and loved ones, too, because you have been an immeasurably essential part of our journey. There has been failure, confusion, doubt, tears, long days, and even longer nights. That does not even tell half the story. And despite all that, you’re here. That’s pretty super if you ask me. Celebrate your successes because you did that. We have established ourselves in classrooms, extracurriculars, social settings, and professionally, each of us bringing a unique skill set and perspective. Even as we were establishing who we were to ourselves. Trust this ongoing process of self-realization as you leave CMC and make your impact on the world, it’s gotten you this far, hasn’t it? You would not be here if you did not belong. (Imma say it, imma say it and I’m not sorry) #CMCIsUs. We have each left our own indelible mark on this campus, and these contributions of our selves will live on forever in the hearts of our classmates.
I’m nearing the end of my time, but if you’ll allow, I want to leave you with a brief story housed within my soul. It’s the story of a four-year-old kid with a fairly persistent stutter and dreams of going to college. Though the two aren’t mutually exclusive, the former made him question his ability to reach the latter. Kids made fun of him, teachers corrected him, and he couldn’t understand why the ideas in his brain could not connect with the articulations in his mouth. But he kept going. The following years consisted of pursuing his interests, including public speaking, debate, and even improv comedy in college. He grew out of his stutter, but the disposition remained the same. This story isn’t about overcoming, but embracing who you are as you are, and remaining dedicated to your path even when it’s hard. Because you’ll know. (I found that story on Facebook this morning and thought it sounded pretty good haha). In all seriousness, as the kid got older, his dream became speaking at his college graduation. And even though this isn’t quite the same, I want to thank you all for helping one of my dreams come true. Thank you Laleh, classmates, peers, friends, the Dean of Students staff, and my family. Thank you.
JULIE TRAN ON CMC GIVING YOU A VOICE:
Hi everyone, it’s Julie!
It’s kinda crazy how college is ending like this, but I wanted to remember how crazy this whole college thing was when it BEGAN too. I mean, the first year of CMC was a lot. We learned about leveling up and then we made it a joke and used it way too much. High school relationships were dropping left and right. We saw history being made as Trump got elected. I remember the next day, in Valenza’s class, we silently listened to Beethoven in the dark. here was that off-campus party, Meltdown? There was EDM, someone puked in the jumper, Caity Kwun tried to get a drink with her fake ID and the bouncer was like “Wyoming? Really?” And I thought, “Oh my god… it’s so exciting to watch other people break the rules!” Speaking of breaking the rules, that scavenger hunt had to have broken some rules of social decency. What the hell! I was really scared and overwhelmed, but I remember as I was leaving my dorm with my trash can, my RA Parker, bless her soul, said, “I would do anything to be in your position again.” So while the ambush in Flamson Plaza was really scary, I was also really excited thinking about how this wild group of people in this intense environment were going to be my world for the next four years.
Looking back on how we started CMC made me realize I had a lot of good times. I also realized though that while I remember having fun and meeting amazing people, I was also intimidated and kinda terrified a lot of the time during that first year. I didn’t like making eye contact with anyone as I was walking to class. And I also couldn’t find the courage to speak in class. For class participation, I was so scared of sounding dumb that I would write down what I wanted to say word-for-word on a sticky note and then try to be sly as I read off of it. I was just scared of speaking about my opinions, especially to people who weren’t explicitly and openly my friends, shout out to Ronald McDonald 2 best WOA trip ever.
I think that’s just a theme of how I started CMC. I came in and felt really behind. I don’t know in what exactly, but just like I needed a lot of work to catch up with everyone. And I think that made me not really believe that my opinions mattered or that I had good ideas. I just felt really uncomfortable with myself, especially seeing how all the people I was surrounded with were so fun, intelligent, clever, and charismatic -- not you though Dre, I mean like everyone else. But yeah, I was like, damn, what the hell. I felt like the ugliest contestant on the bachelor. What kinda joke was this??
But what the last four years have taught me and what my friends and so many people in the senior class have taught me, whether through class, work, CWPD appointments, unplanned but equally fun Ath dinner dates. I loved all of those moments, even though sometimes they could have been uncomfortable at first, they almost always ended up being nice, uplifting, and endearing. And all of these relationships made me realize that it was okay to feel uncomfortable. It was okay to stutter or not have an answer or say honestly I still don’t understand the stock market and I took a personal finances class. And all of this just made me realize that no matter where I came from or who I was with or where I was at, maybe I don’t have all of the answers but I do have a voice -- super cheesy, not sorry about it. The relationships I’ve made here have made me realize what my voice was, helped me see value in what I had to say, and made me comfortable with myself in every situation. So I wanted to toast to all of the ways in which we have built each other up, hyped each other up, challenged each other, validated each other, danced with each other, embarrassed each other. Speaking of embarrassing, Hannah, remember when you were blonde?? But let’s toast to giving each other the confidence to use our individual voices and be who we wanted to be. Thank you!
MAYA LOVE ON RESPONSIBLE LEADERSHIP:
Hello, Fellow 2020 graduates,
My name is Maya Love, and I want to echo everyone in congratulating you all for graduating during a time that demanded resilience and adaptability through a lot of uncertainty. In order to capture the spirit of hope and responsible leadership as we all tackle and conquer different paths in our life, I will read a poem by Beah Richards:
Today Today is ours, let's live it And love is strong, let's give it A song can help, let's sing it And peace is dear, let's bring it The past is gone, don't rue it Our work is here, let's do it Our world is wrong, let's right it The battle hard, let's fight it The road is rough, let's clear it The future vast, don't fear it Is faith asleep? Let's wake it Today is ours, let's take it Though we are in different parts of the world, I am honored and proud to graduate with the Class of 2020 who graciously took on the challenge of finishing strong during a pandemic. Be blessed and lets toast to our accomplishments! Maya Love
CONNOR GASKIN AND MAX KIRSCH ON FINDING CMC ANYWHERE:
MAX: Hello Class of 2020, for those of you who don’t know us, I’m Max Kirsch
CONNOR: and I’m Connor Gaskin.
MAX: Connor and I were also quite surprised when Laleh asked Cole Smith to give a toast, and We greatly appreciated his thoughtful and kind words. Thank you Cole. Today is a unique day, the virtual celebration you will likely never forget. In that spirit, Connor and I have put together a short list of rules for life after college that we, too, hope you will always remember.
CONNOR: Rule #1: Find your Green Beach. Remember to unwind after a hard week of work, whether that’s hanging out with your friends at a bar in your new neighborhood or grabbing some rays at the park or a beach.
MAX: Rule #2: Find your Athenaeum. Continue to challenge personal beliefs, and learn new things you never dreamed of studying, whether that's finding a unique museum or sharing conversation with roommates over a delicious meal.
CONNOR: Rule #3: Find your Roberts. The importance of Self Care should continue as a top priority after leaving campus, whether that’s getting your sweat on at a new gym, or exploring your surroundings to discover new hiking trails as if you were back at Mt. Baldy.
MAX: Rule#4: Keep your people. We’ve all been lucky to meet some of the most amazing people during our time on campus. Whether you’re moving thousands of miles away or staying here in California, stay in touch with the people you’ve gone to class with, shared meals with, and even cried about the thesis with. Your Claremont family will always be there for you during the lowest and highest of times.
CONNOR: Here’s a toast to each of us finding our Claremont wherever our future endeavors lie, and to each of us keeping in touch with the people that have changed our lives over the past four years. Cheers!
LIZZY RIFFLE AND GRACE KELLEHER ON THE CLASS OF 2020’S LEGACY:
We will certainly be recognized as the corona class but we want to remind you all of the other kick ass the legacies of the Class of 2020. You might want to pour yourself another drink though, because we’ve got a lot of legacies to go over.
Let’s start with our athletic achievements. Our grade had not only the first CMS team with an NCAA Women’s team championship title from our Volleyball Athenas, but we also saw NCAA wins that same year from women’s golf and tennis. Keep in mind there have only been seven total national championships in CMS history including these three. In addition to this, there have been 43 CMS SCIAC team championships in three and a half years and we *were* on track to win a few more this Spring. We also have 12 All American athletes in our class, many of whom have received this honor multiple times.
Now on to student groups. CPB had a 20% budget increase from Chodosh to support a necessary vibrant social scene that doesn't center around partying. They also grew the reach of their organization by adding 3 new positions to their board and expanding social media presence. Our senior SOURCE leaders led an internal review of KLI, resulting in the productive split of KLI & Kravis Lab. SOURCE also hosted the first non-profit volunteer fair to encourage students to help the greater community. Last year, our class helped to win WorldMUN, and MUN is poised to finish in the top 10 for national rankings this year.
Students from our class also helped to grow Under the Lights to provide a larger artistic presence on campus, with increased theater productions and support for student-led music groups. And it was members of our class that founded Claremont Apparel, which gave female students in Claremont Women In Business the opportunity to learn how to develop and operate a startup. Under our class leadership, Advocates has created a culture of consent and support for survivors that did not exist before its inaugural year - our freshman year. It has grown from 14 students to over 55 that support survivors of sexual assault and domestic violence through their healing process. They have worked to increase consent culture through hosting events like Sex Week, revamping orientation programming, securing teal dot training for all sports teams, and lifeguarding at every major party. It’s clear that campus is a much safer and more supportive place, not only for survivors but for all students. Our class was also the first with two female Ath Fellows since 2002 and made the Ath more accessible by implementing a less formal dress code.
Before our junior year, there wasn’t much of a space for humanities students at CMC, but the work of the Gould Center student leaders has created avenues for engagement with the humanities through programming initiatives, research opportunities, and summer experiences. Our classmates also spearheaded the increase of mental health resources on campus with the introduction of FreshCheck Day and Mental Health Mondays.
We also want to recognize the leadership our class has taken in affinity groups. One of our peers Bianca put it best. She said: “These students emphasized the importance of visibility on campus, and were trailblazers for the growth of each of these organizations. They collaborated with each other to host events circled around inclusivity that helped each community become stronger. I truly believe the affinity groups on campus are in a better place because of the leadership from our class.” Not only have our classmates been leaders in existing affinity groups, but members of our class also founded the Black Women’s Collective to highlight the leadership and excellence of black women at the 5Cs and create a supportive space in which resources can be shared. Many of you might not know this, but 1Gen didn’t become an official CMC chartered club until Spring of 2018.
Entering college as a first generation student can be especially daunting, but the leaders from our class have built it into a resource for these students as well as a community they can identify with and feel empowered by. We also want to take this moment to recognize the 28 first generation students that are graduating today. Students from the class of 2020 were also some of the first CARE Fellows, and their staff has doubled in size in our time at CMC.
Their work has helped to create a safe space on campus for students of all backgrounds to openly share their identities with others, and engage in open conversation and community healing. Without their dedication, the CARE Center would not be what it is today, and our community is better for it.
Additionally, members of our class have implemented changes in the Admission’s Preview Program, a fly-in program that gives high school seniors from underrepresented backgrounds in higher education the opportunity to experience CMC. With these changes, prospective students now interact with CMCers one-on-one, affinity group leaders, and even President Chodosh during their Preview visit. The successful efforts of these leaders are reflected in CMC’s increasingly diverse incoming classes and their long-lasting friendships that formed during Preview. We also had an amazing cohort of RA’s this year, and for one of the first times, a majority of them were people of color. The RA cohort’s mission was to create spaces for everyone’s stories, and it’s clear from student feedback that this was not only achieved, but also they inspired underclassmen of all identities to take on leadership positions at CMC.
Now let’s talk about our elected representatives: Not only did we have the only female senior class president during our time at CMC, but it’s because of her that we had such amazing programming, not only this whole year during which she chose better venues for senior events, but especially in our last few days on campus, our time in quarantine, and this moment we have together right now. Under Class of 2020 leadership, ASCMC Exec Board and Senate passed a new mission statement, diversity statement, and non-discrimination policy, as well as a resolution process which formalizes a path for students to raise their voices about issues. They also made ASCMC parties more accessible by removing the financial barrier to entry. ASCMC also partnered with CPB to host a wellness week and signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Advocates. During our first year at CMC, not a single woman ran for an elected position on ASCMC. Members of our class addressed this by hosting a women in leadership conference called ElectHER in 2018. Our class has had two female ASCMC Presidents since then, one of whom was the first black female ASCMC president ever. As we graduate, we now have many incredible female leaders who we’d like to celebrate. Please raise your hand, your actual hand not the react button, if you are or have been a female leader at CMC.
And these are just some of the many legacies left by our class. There are many academic and professional triumphs you all should be celebrating as well. We know that creating these types of long-lasting impacts on campus culture and resources is not always easy. In moments of frustration, I always took a step back and remembered why I was doing it. The specific reason might look different for each person, but in essence, it always boils down to the fact that we care about our fellow students. Each of us recognized some need in the community and worked hard to fill that gap. And we did this not just for ourselves and for our classmates, but with the hope that future students will experience a better version of CMC from the moment they step on campus. They will hear stories of the “old days” when these resources and norms weren’t in place, when past students had to fight hard to make these changes, and they will feel empowered to do the same.
For better or for worse, CMC gave us full responsibility and autonomy as student leaders. It taught us to be confident in our convictions, advocate for our ideas, and recognize when we needed help. More importantly, it showed us that we *did* have the power to make lasting change, if we were passionate and continued to bother the right people. Of course, this glosses over many of the hardships - the times when the administration did not understand, when you couldn’t secure the funding you needed, or when you felt the deep frustration that comes from making a large scale change. But this also showed us the reality of breaking institutional norms.
I can proudly say without a doubt that CMC today is a better place for students than it was four years ago because of our class. It is not just the leaders who spoke up in the first place to make these long-lasting changes possible, but those that joined in the fight, engaged in necessary dialogue, and consistently showed their support. The skills we have learned here will serve us well beyond our time at CMC. We have strengthened our muscles of flexible leadership, advocacy, empathy, and persistence. If we want to continue to make change in the real world, which I imagine most of us do, we are well-equipped. In many ways, CMC was just the practice round. Based on what you’ve accomplished here I can’t wait to see what you do in the real world. Let’s raise our glasses to the Class of 2020, who knows more than any other class what it means to get dealt a shitty hand and make the most of it. Cheers!
LALEH AHMAD ON SENIOR CLASS REFLECTIONS:
Last year, when I got elected, I was told multiple times to be ready for the fact that senior class president is a thankless job. I was warned a lot of times that people just get mad and no one thanks you.
That has not been my experience. I have encountered overwhelming gratitude from the class of 2020 and I am so grateful to have been able to be your senior class president. This isn’t what it should be, but I think it’s something to be able to come together and laugh together in such scary times. You’ve already heard this from me in that embarrassing but incredible video, but I love this class deeply. And so, since I’ve already experienced gratitude from this class, I think some thank yous are in order for you all.
Thank you to class cabinet, the ascmc seniors and my apartment mates for helping me plan all the events. Sophie, Nick, Luisa, Allie, Kylie, Dre, Lizzy, Rachel, Caity, Dina, Bryan, Chandler and Lisa- I would not have been able to do it alone.
Thank you to Nezihe for taking so many pictures and videos throughout the year and compiling them into such a messy and beautiful video for our class.
Thank you to all the people who took the time to make toasts today and make this a good memory for our class.
Thank you to all the drunken fools who came up to me after events and told me I was awesome and cool and doing great.
Thank you to all the people who had such chaotic energy at 200 and 100 Days, who made them the incredible nights that they were.
Thank you for fundamentally changing CMC. Lizzy and Grace have already said this but I cannot even begin to describe how the class of 2020 has transformed CMC with its leadership, kindness and brilliance.
Thank you to everyone who threw parties and events through the year, thank you to everyone who made senior year as fun as it was.
Thank you to all the people who came together on our last nights of college to celebrate together, dance together, laugh together and cry together. Thank you to everyone who respected what I said even when they didn’t like it. Thank you to the class of 2020 for growing with me, learning with me and celebrating with me for 4 years.
Thank you to the class of 2020 for making CMC a home.
As we all go out into the real world, please remember all that you accomplished and all the friendships you built. Remember that COVID-19 does not diminish the life changing time you had at CMC, and all the lives you changed. And so, thank you for tuning in to this irregularly scheduled programming and being the best class a girl could ask for. Goodbye everyone, and I’m sure I’ll see you all again soon.