Betsy DeVos Gives Commencement Speech at Ave Maria College in Florida to a Warm Reception

The graduating student body at Ave Maria College were moved and inspired during their commencement ceremony on May 5, 2018. The students were treated to a speech from the education secretary. Secretary Betsy DeVos referenced Mother Teresa, Pope Saint John Paul II, Jesus, Pope Benedict XLI, and the teachings from God. The 230 students gave the Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos a standing ovation following her 20 minute or so speech.

 

One of her main focuses during her speech was about service. DeVos referenced service as her motivation to serve students as secretary of Education. She stated: “The world promises you comfort. But you were not made for comfort. You were made for greatness.”

 

The majority of students at the Catholic college said that they were happy with the speech from Betsy DeVos. The students pleased with her appearance and speech at their commencement called the speech motivational and inspiring.

 

A small group of students were unhappy about DeVos giving the speech. Thirty-six students at the college wrote a letter against the values of Betsy DeVos that they feel are not of the same values at the college and that the decision to have her speak is a politically partisan move by the college. Another group of around one hundred students wrote another letter in contrast to that which praised Ave Maria College admin’s decision to have DeVos as the speaker. Their letter stated that the college is supposed to be an open minded college that can host a variety of speakers with various values. They also said someone with such a high profile politically as DeVos gives their college and Catholic colleges more attention, which is a good thing.

 

Betsy DeVos has created division in the minds of colleges and schools across the nation. A good amount of the division towards her has to do with assumptions about her upbringing, life, and her personality. DeVos is seen as someone who can’t understand the issues within the education system by some citizens. However, DeVos has long been aware of the lack of opportunity for students who could achieve far more in different types of schools. When her kids were young she visited other Christian schools in the area that had students who were from poorer upbringings and didn’t have as many opportunities as her children. Her husband -Dick- and Betsy created scholarships and started pushing for voucher systems in their home state of Michigan. DeVos has also been assumed to be too polite to stay true to her politics, even if it differentiates from the Trump administration. DeVos has voiced her differing stances since she has been a part of the Trump administration. Assuming is not enough. Learning and listening more to a person’s life work is the only way to learn more about them. The Ave Maria students showed this, even the few who didn’t know much about DeVos or were of a different opinion to her. They were able to listen to her speech and learn something from her.

 

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How Dick Devos Builds Up Communities

Dick and Betsy Devos have spent their entire lives trying to bring about changes for the better in society. For example, they have worked hard to promote more choices in the education system. They have lobbied for more tax voucher programs to help private and charter schools, which would provide more children with the opportunity to study in a setting where they are comfortable in. Dick, with Betsy’s support, also started his own charter school, called the West Michigan Aviation Academy. This charter school helps young people study to become pilots. It has grown from a small school with just a few dozen students to a large and successful school with hundreds of students who come in from various regions, besides those who live in Grand Rapids.

 

Dick has always been a community leader who is dedicated to making sure that his community continues to grow. Take the multipurpose sports center that was planned in Grand Rapids, for example. Dick was then the CEO of Amway, but he realized right away that it would have a devastating effect on the city, similar to the effect a similar center had in Detroit. He immediately started making phone calls to his contacts to try to lobby to stop the center from going up.

 

Dick and Betsy Devos have been recognized for their work. Betsy Devos was nominated by President Donald Trump to be the Education Secretary, and she was later confirmed by Congress. Dick Devos was picked to be one of the few civilians to sit on the panel that overlooks the Federal Aviation Administration. Dick Devos, besides heading the West Michigan Aviation Academy, is a pilot and an aviation geek himself. He was instrumental in contributing to the growth of Gerald Ford Airport, and he was tasked with bringing Southwest Airlines to the Grand Rapids Airport.

 

The West Michigan Aviation Academy originally operated out of a small office at the Gerald Ford Airport, though it has since grown tremendously and moved to its own building. The school is tuition-free. It gets support from some government programs, but also from large contributions that Dick and Betsy make towards the school. Dick and Betsy have helped various other charter schools become tuition-free. Their goal is to help as many private and charter schools as they can, in Michigan and in other states.

 

To learn more, visit http://www.dbdvfoundation.org/.