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Kent State University’s Columbiana County Students Given One Last Lesson

Posted May. 10, 2011
Kent State East Liverpool and Kent State Salem Graduate More than 360 Friday

Columbiana County – On Friday more than 360 Kent State students graduated from the Kent State Columbiana County campuses. One was Chelsi Figley, who earned her certificate of medical billing from Kent State University at Salem. Figley, who was born with Spina Bifida and does not have the use of her legs, told a story about heroes to a packed crowd at the Kent State Salem City Center. The 4.0 student is a professional power lifter who competes internationally.  She is currently training for the 2012 para-olympics, which will be held in London.

“I’m told often that I am a hero to people,” she said. “To me, I am just doing what I need to do to live my life normally . . . I look at other people as being the heroes; people who also count themselves as just doing what they know to do. Yet to me, it means everything.”

Figley told her fellow classmates that they are a hero to someone. “It may be to your own child, a co-worker, one of your past professors, or a person you helped in the grocery store,” she said. “Everyone is a hero; because everyone is an ordinary person persevering and enduring, despite overwhelming obstacles.” 

She left the crowd with a quote by Ayn Rand: “Do not let your fire go out, spark by irreplaceable spark, in the hopeless swamps of the approximate, the not-quite, the not-yet, the not-at-all,” Figley read. “Do not let the hero in your soul perish, in lonely frustration for the life you deserved, but have never been able to reach. Check your road and the nature of your battle. The world you desired can be won. It exists. It is real. It is possible. It is yours.”

The commencement address was given by Randy Calhoun, director of Buckeye Online School for Success (BOSS). The former Kent State student said he saw his life in three stages and urged these graduates to “learn, earn and return.”

Calhoun spoke of the student’s responsibility to continue learning, continue earning, and most importantly to continue returning to friends, family and community. “You don’t have to give money,” he said. “It can be your time and your talents.”

Calhoun recounted a story from boyhood; his daily paper route where an elderly neighbor mistakenly gave him a silver dollar in lieu of a fifty cent piece. For his honesty, the neighbor said he could keep the coin. To this day Calhoun said he keeps it in his pocket as a reminder to do something nice for someone daily. To help the students remember to do the same, Calhoun brought a silver dollar for each graduate.

Kent State East Liverpool’s graduation was held at the East Liverpool YMCA at 5:30 p.m. The Kent State Salem ceremony followed at 7:30 p.m. at the Kent State Salem City Center. To see photos from the event, go to the new Kent State Columbiana County Fan Page on Facebook!