Scolare to Address Class of 2014

Mallory Kaster, Senior Staff Writer

When people exit the Triton Center after the commencement ceremony on Saturday morning, they will be left feeling inspired and ready to serve. At least, that’s what student speaker Jonathan Scolare is hoping for.

Scolare was chosen from a group of seniors who auditioned to be the official graduation speaker. For him, the dream began at the beginning of his high school career.

“I wanted to be graduation speaker ever since I knew what a graduation speaker was,” he said. “That was when I went to the Graduation Ceremony after the end of my freshman year.”

Scolare said he has also been told a lot that he is a good public speaker “so it just felt natural that I audition for that position,” he said.

Scolare has been involved in many things that have helped him improve his public speaking skills.

“I have been in Drama Club all four years. I have been in Evergreen Productions dating back to 7th grade when I performed for the first time,” he said. “I have also been part of Forensics 7th-11th grade.”

Growing up in Aruba from 3rd to 6th grade also helped.

“All students had to do a ‘Spreekbeurt’ which everyone had to do twice a year,” he said. “A Spreekbeurt involved a student choosing a topic, writing a paper on it (about two pages, single spaced), and memorizing it. He then presents the topic to his classmates.”

Scolare noted the added difficulty of doing a Spreekbeurt in a different language than what he was used to speaking, but recognized the benefits.

“It greatly developed my public speaking skills,” he said.

Scolare said he was nervous to audition but got some encouragement while waiting.

“When I was waiting to audition in Ms. Jochman’s room, the door was open. Several seniors were standing in the hallway, looking at the audition sign-up,” he said. “‘Which person do you want to hear at graduation?’ one asked. ‘Oh, Jonathan Scolare for sure.’ ‘Yeah, I want to hear him,’ several others replied. That made me feel loved and slightly pressured.”

He said when he received the call from Ms. Jochman, the head of the board that chooses the graduation speaker, he asked her “for a moment.”

“I held the phone close to me so the sound would be muffled,” he said. “I then proceeded to whoop, holler, and scream so that the whole house knew that something was up with me!”

The topic of Scolare’s speech revolves around theater and service to others. The quote he used as a base to ground his speech is by Shakespeare: “All the world’s a stage / And all the men and women merely players / They have their exits and their entrances / And one man in his time plays many parts.”

“I was inspired by Stephen Colbert’s commencement address to the Northwestern Class of 2011,” he said. “He talks largely about how life is like improv: you need to serve everyone.”

He said anyone attending graduation should expect to hear a lot about theater and service to others.

“Do NOT expect dull clichés that are meant to get heartfelt applause,” he said. “Also do NOT expect any tear-jerking mushy, gushy stuff – I don’t work like that. Instead, I will try my best to make the audience laugh in the beginning because when I make people laugh I feel a lot more relaxed and at ease. Plus, expect a lot on what it means to be ‘important.’”

Scolare also incorporated a Presidential Campaign support blurb into his speech after being told by many of his peers that they voted for him under the category “Most Likely to Become President.”

Senior Ben Klonowski, who was a member of the board who chose Scolare as the speaker, said Scolare was chosen “because he had a very good speech and he delivered it even better.”

Jochman agreed with Klonowski.

“Jonathan, like any of our graduation speakers in the past, was chosen for the strength of his public speaking skills and the power and originality of his message,” she said.

Jochman said all of the speakers who auditioned clearly cared about their class and the messages and memories they had to share. Jonathan’s speech had a well-developed theme, and his delivery had a lot of personality.

“I think those present at graduation will be moved by Jonathan’s message and will enjoy the chance to laugh with him, too,” she said.

Jochman said it has been a real privilege to lead the graduation speaker selection committee for the past few years.

“Everyone on the panel takes their responsibility very seriously, and our goal is always to choose the speakers who best represent the class while engaging and inspiring their audience,” she said. “I hope the younger students who attend graduation will be inspired by our two speakers to audition for the honor of being a commencement speaker during their senior year.”