Seniors Francisco Blanco and Charlie Kolodziej have been selected by their classmates as this year's speakers for Commencement and Senior Celebration.
Blanco, this year's student vice president, will speak at Commencement on Sunday, May 27. He said that he is looking forward to delivering his speech, and hopes to both maintain the quality of past Western Reserve Academy commencement speeches while adding something uniquely his own.
"Every commencement speech I've seen has been excellent," Blanco said. "I'm going to see if I can rewatch them somehow, and do something a little different from years' past."
Known throughout the WRA community for his humor and ability to connect with people from different backgrounds, Blanco is a Morgan Leader and is both deeply involved and interested in politics. Last October, he led a well attended Race Space concerning his home of Puerto Rico, and the country's recovery following Hurricane Maria.
Though he would not give too much away, Blanco did say that his speech would encourage his fellow seniors to appreciate the present moment and to pursue their passions.
"I know to a certain extent, my speech is a plea for Romanticism," Blanco said. "It seems like everything we do is out of practicality, and we don't allow ourselves do things that interest us all the time. We are always told to pursue what will give us the most money or security, and yet we live in a time where people can just kind of do whatever they want."
Kolodziej, who was chosen to speak during Senior Celebration on Saturday, May 26, plans to deliver a speech that is true to his experience as a student, and one that resonates with his class in particular.
"I want to make everyone feel something," Kolodziej said. "Our grade is very diverse, and I think there's a closeness in how we see the world."
Kolodziej's interests are similarly diverse; he is captain of the Cross Country, Track and Field and Quiz Bowl teams. Additionally, he is the Co-President of the GSA, Co-Editor of BUFO, and Honor Council Senior Chair. Known as a gifted writer by his teachers and friends, he is the 2017 winner of the prestigious Facing History and Ourselves international student essay contest.
Next fall, Blanco will attend Fordham University, and Kolodziej will matriculate to the University of Chicago.
We congratulate both Blanco and Kolodziej and look forward to their speeches.