School For Applied Technology
Commencement Exercises
Robert B. Ingram, Ph.D.

Robert B. Ingram, Ph.D.

First of all, I'd like to welcome all the parents, relatives and friends, on behalf of the First GRADUATING class of 2000. No doubt it has been a long, hard road to graduation and I know your presence here is greatly appreciated by these graduates. I want to thank the Principal, other members of the administration, teachers and other support staff who have helped make this hour a success.

To the GRADUATES, my job is to invite you to consider a course for the future. So I have stopped by to invite each of you GRADUATES to consider doing three things:

(2) RESPECT, and
(3) REPAY.


I begin with the idea and the ideal to REMEMBER because to me, one of the best testimonies to your learning is that you REMEMBER those on whose shoulders you are standing.

The richness of your existence lies in the memories that those significant others in your life gave up much so that you can be where you are today.
When you REMEMBER the value of your parent's or guardian's gifts to you,

When you REMEMBER the kindness that your teachers rendered and

When you REMEMBER the examples that they have provided you make the most of your life before the most of your life is gone.


Secondly I invite you to RESPECT yourself and to RESPECT others.

RESPECT simply means that you will overlook the faults of others but LOOK OVER your own faults carefully.

The Staple Singers reminds us that "if you disrespect anybody that you run into/how in the world do you think anybody is supposed to respect you."

Remember it is not the ship in the water but the water in the ship that sinks it. So it is not the system that you are in but the system in you that constitutes the danger. You will never be sorry for RESPECTING yourself and RESPECTING others.

My final point for your consideration is REPAYMENT.

I have been around long enough to testify that it did not matter later in life who my friends were in school, or what clubs I did or did not belong to. It did not matter what kind of clothes I wore. It did not matter what kind of car I drove or if I had a car at all. What mattered was what I did - what I did for my family WHO sacrificed that I may have. Did I REPAY them with LOVE?

To my teachers and administrators who helped me along the way - did I REPAY them with at least a THANK YOU?

And to all others who supported me in some way - did I REPAY them with KINDNESS?

I can answer those questions in the affirmative because I am one who appreciated those who helped me get over. I may not be where I want to be, I may not be where I pray to be - But by the grace of GOD - I'm not where I use to be.

You see I am the least likely individual to be standing before you at this hour.

I am from a hard time era. I use to hang out on street corners running from the police, and because I had to drop out of high school and had a limited educational background I was confined to working on the back of a municipal garbage truck. I was born in Overtown, but grew up in area in Liberty City now called "Pork and Bean" project, living in misery.

Today, I humourously call those times my "PO" times. We were so "PO" that we could not afford all four letters, we could only afford two "P. O. - PO."

I am one of eleven children and we were so "PO" that one Christmas my father climbed on the roof of our house blew up a brown paper bag and burst it so that it sounded like a shotgun and came back and told the children Santa Claus had committed suicide.

Seriously, I make light of those times now but I will always be indebted to my parents who gave me all that they had.

I recall my dad putting cardboard in his shoes so that when I was able to go to school I had a new pair of shoes to wear. I will always be indebted to administrators and teachers who guided my studies toward books where I could read and gain insights like the one I learned from reading what Anne Frank confided in her diary.

Anne Frank noted that, "Parents can only give their child or children good advice or put them on the right paths, but the final forming of a persons character lies in their own hands."

I had parents who gave me good advise and headed me on the right road and teachers who made certain that not only was I on the right road but that I was headed in the right direction.

And because of their advise and support I went from a high school drop-out to a GED and from a GED to a Ph.D.

From running from the police on the force to running the Police Force, in other words from a chump to a chief of police.

From the back of a municipal garbage truck as a maverick to the front of a municipal government as its Mayor.

From a room in Miami Dade's Public Housing to the Boardroom in Dade County Public Schools.

From Misery to the Ministry!!

And every day in every I work to REMEMBER, RESPECT AND REPAY the goodness was given me.

So Class of 2000, many of you have learned how to make a living, now you must learn how to make a life.

I've stopped by too remind you that you now stand at the end of one path in your high school lives, and stare out at the field of possibilities before you. You are faced with awesome decisions.

So here's the challenge: You have a wealth of knowledge behind you -- your parents and your families beside you. Therefore, you must help remedy the social decay and relieve the social despair that is before you.

You must do the best you can with the tools that you have.

So GRADUATES we need your help to keep this generation and generations yet unborn to not be conformed to this world but to be transformed by the renewing of their minds. We need your help to show the world that the sowing of thoughts leads to reaping wicked deeds. We need you to convince your peers and others that behavior is a mirror in which we show our image.

SNOOP DOGGY DOGG says "Bow, Wow, Wow, Yippy Yo, Yippy Yea."

And our nation's youth are so in love with these lyrics that young people repeat the terminology with fervor calling each other dogs behaving like dogs. But I've stopped by to tell you that "If you lie down with dogs, you will get up with fleas!

For those young folk who say, "I don't see any harm in Gansta Rap that is a nasty as it wants to be." We need your help to say that the dust of worldliness is in their eyes.

The reason I say this is because too many of our young folk appear to be so caught up in the talk that they seldom realize that derogatory TALK can lead them to a deadly WALK.

I've witnessed known criminals "Livin" what Ricky Martin calls "La Vida Loca" - being treated as respected members of this Miami Dade County community.

We need you GRADUATES to turn this dysfunctional obscenity around.

Mariah Carey says "THANK GOD I FOUND YOU" and Toni Braxton claims, "HE WASN'T MAN ENOUGH"

Aaliyah (A LEE AH) suggest that you "TRY AGAIN."

And the 4-1-1 on Sisqo would have young ladies caught up in the "THONG SONG." But I don't care what Sisqo says young ladies you must stand up and stand firm, because if you don't stand for something you will fall for anything!

SO even though the 504 Boyz cries "WOBBLE WOBBLE" young ladies you must help your sisters not to WOBBLE but to overcome the legacy of inequality and stop becoming mothers before they become wives;

Let me remind you that young men don't want no PIGEONS.

Let me also say this, If a young man is "hitting on you" and he is in school, studying hard, and making all "A's" tell him to keep on talking.

But if he is "OFF THE CHAIN" hanging out, flunking out and dropping out, tell him to keep on walking - you don't need nobody to help you do bad, you can do bad all by yourself. Follow the advise of Erica Badu and tell those young bucks to "Call Tyrone. But don't use your phone." Tell the you don't want "NO SCRUBS."

Carl Thomas declares "I WISH" - well I wish young men would
strive for academic-determination - therefore I am calling upon you graduates and scholars to help our young men stop becoming fathers before they become husbands.

Oh yes, Sammie says "I LIKE IT" well I would truly like GRADUATES if you were about the business of improving the quality of our existence, reforming heads and transforming hearts, As Jo Jo and Casey explains "All of your life."

USHER urges you-to take it "NICE AND SLOW" but DESTINY'S CHILD says "No, No, No!" Black Rob says "WHOA" And I say, when our young folk learn to say "WHOA" that is to STOP acting a fool in the schoolhouse they wont have to worry about doing time in the jail house.

Cash Money (CMB) says "THIS IS MY LIFE." True, this is your life, therefore you must help our people "Represent" - you must work to help strengthen our families and because - now - you have the sophistication, edification and determination you can follow the advise of Trick Daddy and tell all THOSE who are caught up looking good rather than being good "Ah HUH O. K. WHAT'S UP -SHUT UP."

Permit me to lift from Lou Bega's Mambo #5 - this translation:

You need:

A little bit of dedication in your life,
A little bit of teaching by your side,
A little bit of conscience is all you need,
A little bit of hope is all you see,
A little bit of pleasure in the sun,
A little bit of devotion all night long,
A little bit of giving you understand,
A little bit of service completes the plan!

You see service is the price you must pay for the space you occupy!
Like DMX says "Ya'll Gon Make Lose My Mind- up in here!"

Don't whine about what you don't have, be thankful for what you do have.

Let me try to make this plain with these rhythmatic words.

Today I saw upon a bus a handsome man with wavy hair, he looked so stately I envied him, and wished that I was as fair.

Until suddenly he rose to leave, I saw him hobble down the aisle, he had one leg and used a crutch, and as he passed a glowing smile. God forgive me when Whine, I have two legs - this world is mine.

Then I stopped to buy some sweets, the lad that sold them seemed so warm, It seemed so nice to talk with him, if I be late would do no harm. And as I left he said to me, thank you for being so kind, It's nice to talk to folks like you, you see he said am blind. God forgive me when I whine, I have two eyes - this world is mine.

Then later, walking down the street, I saw a child with eyes so blue, She watched the others as they played, it seemed she knew not what to do. I stopped a moment and I said, why don't you join the others dear? She looked ahead without a word, then I knew she had not heard. God forgive me when I whine, I have two ears - this world is mine.

Two legs to take me where I go; Two eyes to see the sunlight glow; Two wars to hear what I should know. 0 God forgive me when I whine, I'm blessed indeed -
this world is mine!

BLESSED with affectionate, considerate and loving parents or guardians. BLESSED with living in one of the most prosperous times in human history. BLESSED to have attended one of the top schools in the nation.
BLESSED to have been nurtured by some of the most qualified professional administrators, teachers and support staff in the annuals of American Education.
BLESSED to be among the best students in this country.

So as you go forward in your quest for excellence - live so that all of the Host of HEAVEN will have to pause and say there goes a great people, GRADUATES of the year 2000 who realize that they are equipped with all that they need to be successful in life.

So GRADUATES run on and see what the end will be.

Run and don't get weary, walk and don't faint.

Yes, I have been around long enough to say with some degree of certainty, that

I have been young and now I am old and I have never seen the righteous forsaken nor his seed beg for bread.

True, weeping may endure THE NIGHT but if you REMEMBER, RESPECT and REPAY: There will be JOY! Unspeakable JOY! Unbelievable JOY!
Undeniable JOY! Unquestionable JOY! JOY! JOY! JOY! In the morning!

To contact Dr. Ingram, please call 305-995-1340 or e-mail