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“You see, a successful life is one full of the very ordinary”

Jessica Kraenzlin credits her whānau for getting her to where she is today and looks forward to a career in service of others.

Jessica Kraenzlin, who had graduated with Paetahi Tumu Kōrero Bachelor of Counselling was chosen to be the final graduation speaker at the fourth and last ceremony for 2024, which saw students from Health and Social Practice celebrate their achievement.

Jessica started her speech by saying she stood before the crowd as a mama, wifey, daughter, granddaughter, sister, friend and graduate.

Jessica spoke about her whakapapa, saying it boasts of Scotland, France, Wales, Ireland and te iwi Māori, and reminds her that partnership is alive and not going anywhere.

She grew up in Raglan and said the community taught her the importance of advocating and caring for people and place.

“My parents were part of a group of people who started the recycling centre in Raglan. What now stands as an extremely successful answer to waste reduction and community led innovation was once a disregarded and very criticized initiative.”

She remembered attending local council meeting with her parents, who, along with other volunteers, were labelled as nothing more than “dirty hippies”.

“This taught me that while certain professionals and institutions hold the responsibility and power of decision making, they do not always embody the wisdom necessary for beneficial change.”

Jessica’s parents were in the crowd cheering her on, as was her grandmother, who was also one of her biggest inspirations. 

“My granny has given her life in service of others dedicating her time to fundraising through work with the Ronald McDonald House and Men’s Mental Health.”

Jessica went on to acknowledge the personal stories that brought the other graduates to this moment. The reasons that called them to the pursuit of study and the whānau who shaped who they were.

Turning her attention to celebrating the incredible moment of achievement, the success of graduation, Jessica urged the crowd to take a step back and consider the very ordinary moments it took to get there. 

She said these were moments that went largely unseen. From the study/work/life juggle, the family, finances, washing, cleaning or lack of it, the missed moments with loved ones, the guilt, the fear, to the moments of studying in the car while waiting for sports training to finish, to the late nights and early mornings spent reading, researching, and writing. 

“It is these moments in quiet dedication and crazy chaos that have led you here today. You see, a successful life is one full of the very ordinary.

“I honour you and all that it took for you to get here. You did it. We are now qualified counsellors, nurses, midwives, social workers, occupational therapists, people who have chosen a career in service of others, may we hold to fast to the importance of caring and nurturing self so that we embody our why.”

Read more about our 2024 graduation ceremonies here.

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