Senior Class Committee Announces Class Day Student Speakers

Four seniors have been selected to deliver speeches at the annual Class Day ceremony on May 29, the Senior Class Committee announced on Sunday.

Damilare Sonoiki ’13 and Julie M. Zauzmer ’13, a former Crimson Managing Editor, will give serious and reflective talks as the Harvard Orators, and Phil M. Gillen ’13 and Blythe B. Roberson ’13 will deliver witty and lighthearted speeches as the Ivy Orators.

“All of them are incredible,” Second Class Marshal Scott J. Yim ’13 said of the chosen orators. “I’m incredibly excited for our speakers to grace the stage.”

Class Day, traditionally held the day before Commencement, represents the final opportunity before graduation for seniors to gather together as a full class. The Senior Class Committee chose the Harvard and Ivy Orators in a selection process that involved submission of written speeches, selection of finalists, and live auditions.

Roberson, one of the Ivy Orators, did her audition via Skype—and then learned of her selection an hour later. Her speech, entitled “Driving a Car at Night, Choose Your Own Adventure, Step 1 of an Elaborate Plan to Go on a Date with the Lead Singer of Vampire Weekend,” is about finding a path to happiness.

Gillen, the other Ivy Orator, chose a more unorthodox topic for his talk. In an improv speech entitled “Tear Down This School,” Gillen will rhapsodize about destroying Harvard.

“I think the most important thing for all of us to do on Class Day is destroy Harvard,” Gillen said. “I don’t want to give away too many spoilers, but it’s a message we can all relate to. It’s a meaningful speech for a meaningful day. A lot of it is going to be off-the-cuff.”

Jokes notwithstanding, Gillen emphasized the importance of having student speakers at the Class Day celebration.

“All of [the non-student] speakers can give us advice and talk about what the rest of our lives are going to be like, but I think no one really gets what the Class of 2013 has been through as much as members of the Class of 2013,” Gillen said.

In a speech entitled “Curtain Call,” Zauzmer, one of the Harvard Orators, will address the different facets of graduation.

“It’s about graduations, and how there are many, many different moments of graduation, and how the ceremony isn’t necessarily the real one,” Zauzmer said of her speech.

While Yim said he was confident that the speakers’ messages “will resonate with everyone,” Gillen was more skeptical.

“I could pretty easily ruin a day that’s important for a lot of people,” Gillen joked.

—Staff writer Laya Anasu can be reached at layaanasu@college.harvard.edu. Follow her on Twitter @layaanasu.

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