Four members of the Class of 2014 have been chosen to take the stage at the annual Class Day celebration, the Senior Class Committee announced Tuesday night.
Adam J. Conner ’14, a former Crimson business editor, and Christy L. Disilvestro ’14 will present the reflective Harvard Orations, and Zack W. Guzman ’14 and Jenna D. Martin ’14 will deliver the witty Ivy Orations.
Ginny C. Fahs ’14, a former Crimson magazine editor and member of the Senior Class Committee, said the Committee reviewed a record number of submissions to this year’s competition before selecting the four finalists. She added that the Committee sought to find student speakers who could speak to the shared Harvard experience, as well as their personal stories.
Speakers uniformly described feelings of excitement upon word of receiving the honor.
“I was overjoyed when I got the news,” Conner said. “Like any other ideal Harvard orator, I was sitting in the back of the Kong when I found out.”
The four students said they plan to explore a variety of themes in their speeches—ranging from fears of graduating to the changes in one’s identity throughout college.
Guzman said that, although he knew he wanted to submit a speech, he was unsure what topic to choose until this Valentine’s Day.
“I wrote [my speech] when I was reflecting on what loves I had in my life,” he said. “And Harvard was the love of my life.”
Disilvestro described the pressure of delivering a speech that resonates with the diverse members of the Class Day audience.
“Being able to speak to that many people and have a message that might reach each of them is really exciting for me,” she said.
Martin said the uploading of videos of students’ orations online places an additional burden on student speakers.
“I feel like Ivy Orators before Youtube don’t know how easy they had it,” she said.
The speakers also expressed their excitement for Class Day.
“There’s rarely a time where you feel happy and sentimental and like a real community, but you’re also laughing,” Martin said of Class Day.
Citing the Facebook campaign used to attract submissions to the competition, entitled “A Once in a Lifetime View,” Guzman said that he is looking forward to the view from the podium.
Committee member Maria Barragan-Santana ’14 said she feels that hearing the Class Day speeches has helped her cope with the imminent arrival of Commencement.
“Being on the Committee, you’re planning ‘the end’ all the time,” she said. “I think, after having listened to all the speeches, we’re going to be okay.”
—Staff writer Nikki D. Erlick can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @nikkierlick.
—Staff writer Brianna D. MacGregor can be reached at email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter @bdmacgregor.