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‘I’m grateful to this class’: Wu praises graduates for resilience at BFIT commencement ceremony

Boston Mayor Michelle Wu delivered the keynote address at the Benjamin Franklin Institute of Technology commencement ceremony Saturday afternoon.BFIT

At the Benjamin Franklin Institute of Technology’s commencement ceremony Saturday afternoon, Mayor Michelle Wu told graduates they should use the skills they’ve honed at the college to “fix what’s broken and build on what’s working.”

“All of you now possess a practical specialized set of skills that you will use for the rest of your lives. Skills that will help people, help them build and solve and see. You have an understanding of how the world works and an understanding of what makes you the people we need every single day in our communities ... ,” said Wu, who received an honorary degree from the college. “That is incredible and it’s worth celebrating today and for many days to come.”

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The ceremony, which was the second of two on Saturday, was held in the university’s auditorium. Most graduates, administrators, and faculty in attendance wore masks during the hour-long event.

Wu told the graduates that she was excited to be at the ceremony and was “blown away” by the ability of the graduating class to navigate college amid a pandemic.

“What an inspiration each one of you are sitting here today to not only show what is possible with hard work and sacrifice and just sticking to it, but to do so with in some ways what feels like the weight of the world, on your backs throughout this pandemic,” she said. “More than anything I’m grateful to this class for all that you’ve done, taking care of each other and making sure that this is something that we will carry forward.”

Monique Nolberto, who graduated with an associate’s degree in construction management, delivered the student speech at the ceremony Saturday afternoon, reflecting on her experience balancing college courses with the needs of her daughter, who was attending kindergarten.

“For me as a first-time college student and also a mom, I had to face many challenges throughout my academic path,” Nolberto told the crowd through tears, her voice cracking. “At times, I was required to be a student and a teacher while helping my daughter as she navigated online learning and K-2.”

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Charlie McKenna can be reached at charlie.mckenna@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @charliemckenna9.