2022 Grads

Student Address

Kayl Rainer 

UNM-Taos Student Government Association President  Class of 2022 Graduate

First and foremost, I want to give thanks and acknowledge those who helped us get here. As cool as we think we are, very few of us are able to get through college without support. I want to give a sincere thank you to my instructors who have always supported me and each taught me lessons and connected with me outside the curriculum. I want to thank our incredible staff who always make time for us and have our best interests in mind, that always go above and beyond their jobs to support and help us as students! I want to thank all my student mentors who supported me and taught me the confidence to be up here today. 

And the biggest thank you to my family, my mom who is always so supportive, my brother who has picked me up off the ground and dusted me off, my sister who is so kind and loving, and to most of all to dad who has always been there to listen and to talk to me and wouldn’t let me give up even when I didn’t believe in myself. And all the late night meals he would cook for me at 3:00am while I was studying. Education has always been part of my family. 

My Great Grandfather is John Rainer Sr from Taos Pueblo. As a boy he would go in the mountains every year to hide so he wouldn’t be taken away to boarding school. When he was 16 he noticed that other kids his age knew things he didn’t, so he went to kindergarten to learn the things they knew. He kept learning and building his education and became the first Taos Pueblo Tribal Member to graduate from a University which would be invaluable when he joined the fight to win back our land rights for the Taos Mountain from the Forest Service/U.S Government in a battle that would last over ten years. He became an educator, co-founded the American Indian Graduate Center, fought for Native rights, and loved his community and family. He has been one the biggest inspirations in my educational journey and he said “without an education you can only go so far. Whether you choose formal education, technical training, or learning a trade, education will prepare you for life.”  

And in these crazy times of a pandemic, climate change, wars, and countless other hardships and loss, we need to be prepared for life. Even though it may have felt like hope abandoned us, we didn’t abandon hope and pushed through. In doing this, you have become symbols of hope and became an example for friends, family, and folks in the community.  

Through it all we did it. Everyone here wearing these caps and gowns have sacrificed years of their lives to improve their future. I know that every graduate has had to make sacrifices and endure hardships to get here. Be it having to pass on seeing friends, maybe staying up till 3:00am to finish a research paper that’s due in six hours, or having to choose between paying rent or getting books for the semester. Yet  humans have the incredible ability to persevere, and everyone here has shown that. 

It's ok now, we can take a step back, relax our shoulders and take a breath and prepare for our next steps in life. Today we receive our Associates degrees and certificates, but I hope you never stop stopping till you get your bachelors, then you get your masters, then you get your masters masters, then you get your doctorate!  And eventually get a job and pursue a career that we enjoy doing. The ability to choose this is a beautiful thing, but it does come with work that I am fully confident that UNM-Taos graduates are prepared to handle. 

Chuck D said “In this state of emergency and sense of urgency, just how young is young? Because the youth won’t be youth for long. Now society might be afraid of you but continue to be you. We are you so we feel you. For that those that see you, we solute you. Continue to find like minds bro. Concentration, Desire, Dedication, Inspiration, and Perspiration, is the hard work. And it doesn’t guarantee anything. But without it, we don’t stand a chance. Intelligence will save you, and us to”. 

Thank you for listening and thank you for coming out to support our graduates, the heart and soul of our school. And to the graduates, as my great grandfather said “Don’t give up in achieving your goals. Keep reaching for what your heart is set on and eventually it will happen.” Thank you. 

Student Address

Kayl Rainer 

UNM-Taos Student Government Association President  Class of 2022 Graduate

READ ADDRESS

Commencement Address

Taletha Maricle-Fitzpatrick 

Lockheed Martin Space | Senior Project Engineer

READ ADDRESS

HSE Student Address

Larae Crow

TECC at UNM-Taos Participant and HSE Graduate

READ ADDRESS