Flat Hat writer to address grads

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April 13, 2007

4:08 PM

__Derby chosen as student commencement speaker__

Senior Elizabeth Derby beat out four other finalists competing to be the 2007 commencement student speaker, including outgoing SA president Ryan Scofield.

p. “I screamed, I was totally shocked because the feedback I got was that my speech was good, but my public speaking was not up to par,” Derby said. “I was thrilled and flattered. I come from a creative writing background and I’m glad to know that in my prose, the lyrical quality translates.”

p. Derby’s five-minute speech to her classmates will address, among other topics, the fact that everyone who is graduating has accomplished something as a student at the College.

p. “We are all intelligent here, and we still have stand-out people. Basically, we are all fabulous,” she said.

p. Derby is a staff columnist at the Flat Hat, writing the weekly “That Guy/That Girl” columns. Members of the selection committee, which was composed of students and members of the faculty and administration, were impressed with Derby’s speech.

p. “She writes with such a lyrical quality — add to that her bubbly personality, and she will be an excellent graduation speaker,” Sam Sadler, vice president for student affairs and a member of the committee, said.

p. This year, only 10 students applied to speak, while in previous years, 20 to 25 students have entered the competition, Sadler said. Along with a resume, candidates were asked to provide a written commission explaining why they wanted to speak. Everyone was invited to give a short two-minute presentation before the final five were selected. Derby, along with the four others, then gave five-minute speeches and were interviewed
by the selection committee. She said she was scared when she first saw the strong field of candidates, which she described as being brilliant and of high quality.

p. “All were really even, and each of them different,” Sadler said of the final five. “But in the end, you combine her writing with her bubbly personality and she will be great.”

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