Four seniors have been selected to speak at the Class of 2016’s Class Day festivities, the Senior Class Committee announced on Monday.
Mariam H. Jalloul ’16 and Min-Woo S. Park ’16 were chosen to deliver the traditionally more serious and reflective speeches. Aaron I. Henricks ’16 and Christina M. Teodorescu ’16 will be delivering the typically lighter-hearted orations.
The four speeches were chosen from a pool of over 80 applications, Class Marshal Irfan Mahmud ’16 said. The committee chose the four orators based on criteria including content, delivery, and presentation.
Fellow Class Marshall Gabriela D.M. Ruiz-Colón ’16 said the committee looked for speeches that could appeal to the majority of the Class of 2016.
“We definitely wanted to go for a set of four speeches that resonated with a wide swath of the class, so we didn’t want to privilege one Harvard experience over another,” she said. “Because everyone does Harvard differently, and our class has so many different Harvard experiences, so resonation was one of the things we really looked for.”
The speakers themselves gathered on the steps of Tercentenary Theater on Monday, a little more than a month before their speeches are set to be delivered, to preview their planned talks.
Jalloul said that she and a lot of her classmates define success by “external things and what we can put on our resumes.”
“So [my speech] is really about challenging that and looking at the successes that were often invisible but were often such a driving force in our experiences here at Harvard,” she said.
Henricks proclaimed broader aspirations for his own speech, with a smile.
“My speech is about the future of the Class of 2016,” he said. “I wouldn’t be surprised if people left totally transformed, totally new people.”
Park spoke a little more seriously about his own speech.
“While I was writing this speech, I wanted to avoid as many grand, sweeping generalizations as possible,” he said. “So this is a speech about a very personal narrative, and I just hope that it can resonate with my fellow classmates as well.”
Teodorescu echoed Park’s sentiment. “I tried to avoid making sweeping generalizations about what that might mean for everyone, but instead presenting my own as an example and trying to allay concerns about the real world that I share with a lot of my peers,” she said.
“I’d like to add that I speak almost exclusively in sweeping generalizations,” Henricks said in response. “Every sentence is one of those.”
The Class Day ceremony, which traditionally takes place the day before Commencement every year, falls on May 25 this year.
All four speakers said they were delighted to find that they had been chosen to speak in front of their classes.
“I shared that elation and excitement, but I think I’ve also been vacillating wildly between that and sheer terror—like pretty consistently over the past week,” Teodorescu said. “So hopefully on class day we end up with excitement again.”