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Monday, June 4, 2012

Graduation Excerpt - Sequin Boy and Cindy

Hi everyone, a little excerpt from  Sequin Boy and Cindy.

I really feel self-conscious. I’m sitting on the dais fiddling nervously with my graduation cap. I’m graduating and receiving the honor of Magna cum Laude, the second highest honor of my graduating class. I have to give a speech. I’m better with the written word.

I say, “Hi everyone. My name is Billy Wolk and I’m half American Indian—Lakota to be specific, former weirdo, and disabled Army Veteran. Mr. President, honored professors, and cherished family and friends, I come from a humble background so I’ll be short on lofty ideals and long on emotions in this speech. NYU School of Journalism has been like a father to me. As a disabled veteran I’ve come here badly in need of a friend, and in the school I found one. I needed structure in my life and in my lectures on journalism I found the guidelines I so desperately wanted. I needed a sense of unwavering faith in honesty and morality, and my professors supplied it—especially professor Schenk. “Just the facts, only the facts,” he said to me. Through his efforts I become a journalist at a leading newspaper in this city. Some of you may know my byline—‘In The Muck And The Mire’. NYU gave my wife Cindy and I the ability to go to college together—two kids, both orphans in effect, fresh out of the Army, missing limbs, short on finances, and with only high school educations, but we had our dreams and NYU helped us fulfill them.

I just want to say thank you to NYU and the faculty, and professor Schenk and Monsignor Conrad if you can hear me, and the President of the school who came over to us that first day at lunch and said,  “I’ll take it from here,” and to our own Chaplain Bill who is our mentor and best friend. Thank you. I hope my wife Cindy and I make you proud. And to all the disabled Veterans out there, “Don’t give up on your dreams. With God’s help they will come true.”


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