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Commencement student speaker: Antoinette Ball

May 25, 2004

Photo of student speaker Antoinette BallOakland resident Antoinette Ball, earning a bachelor's degree in political science, will address the class of 2004 and a crowd of 20,000, telling them that "life is a journey, not a destination." She will tell her fellow graduates to commend themselves for their achievements and continue to work hard and pursue their dreams even when the going gets tough.

Since entering SFSU four years ago as a Presidential Scholar -- the University's most distinguished academic award for first-time freshmen -- Ball has immersed herself in the Bay Area community. She is active with her church, First AME in Oakland, and also volunteers for the Rose Resnick Lighthouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired and Girls Inc., an after-school program that helps teach first- and second-grade girls how to read.

"Growing up, the community really reached out to me when my mother couldn't," said Ball, who was raised in Compton by a single mother. "I truly believe in 'each one teach one.'"

Ball, 21, also is a high-school outreach coordinator for the SFSU Office of Student Outreach Services and a dancer with the New Style Motherlode dance company.

About 50 members of her family -- including her father, a Detroit resident whom she hasn't seen since age 10 -- are coming to the Bay Area to celebrate her graduation.

A graduate of Lynwood High School, Ball will pursue a master's degree in mass communications at Florida State University this fall. Her 10-year goal is to open a performing arts school in Oakland.

"Arts can be a career," Ball said. "I want kids to know that they can use their creative side to express themselves to the world."

-- Matt Itelson
Photo: William Morris


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Last modified July 27, 2004 by University Communications