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‘Picking’ an ideal guest speaker for graduation

UTEP student Cynthia Escalante says that Latina popstar Becky G. would be a great guest speaker due to her connection with the community. Photo courtesy of Dogs Can Fly Content/Wikipedia Commons

Graduation is a time for celebration and congratulating loved ones on completing the ultimate challenge of academics. Life after graduation is always seen as “terrifying” since you are released to the “real” world and are expected to do so much. Now every so often there are some graduations that have the privilege of allowing a guest speaker to address graduates during the commencement.  

Guest speakers range from well-known singers like Taylor Swift, to actresses like Meryl Streep and even former First Lady of the United States (FLOTUS), Michelle Obama. They all have the capability to influence the audience with their words, creating a one-of-a-kind, heartfelt and inspiring experience for all students and family members watching. 

This is a time to truly capture the feeling and forever cherish the memory of graduation, a moment where many people in the audience need to hear some encouraging words. It is vital to have someone who can not only speak to everyone but speak to everyone’s souls.  

As the spring semester comes to a close and graduation is now upon us, it raises the question of who would be an ideal figure to speak at graduation? Should it be a famous celebrity, or should it be someone who represents the city of El Paso well?  

Swift is a prime example of bringing life lessons and motivational words to her commencement speech at New York University (NYU) in 2022.  

“I leave you with this: We are led by our gut instincts, our intuition, our desires and fears our scars and our dreams. And you will screw it up sometimes. So will I,” Swift said. “We will recover. We will learn from it. We will grow more resilient because of it.”  

 “Someone that I think would be really cool to have as a guest speaker at graduation would be Becky G,” said UTEP student Cynthia Escalante. “Right now, she is super popular, and she has a big representation amongst the Latino communities, especially Mexican Americans. So I think someone who resembles a successful life who comes from those roots and backgrounds would be nice.”  

However, some may feel that there could be a more intimate candidate for the role of a guest speaker that is considered a good role model. UTEP student Hannah Butler, talks about why she feels her older sister would make a good candidate.  

“She graduated at the top of her class from UTEP with honors and outstanding senior awards in both her major and her minor, and she received her master’s in social work and continued working in the community at the opportunity center for the homeless, and now she is a high school teacher,” Butler said.  

Butler further explains why their older sister makes a valid guest speaker. From being a former UTEP student and giving the insight of being successful while still bringing up the inevitable hardships of life.  

“I just feel like she’s a really great role model because even though she works really hard she still goes through a lot of bumps and has bounced around a lot. But even with all the difficulty she faces she continues to give 100 percent in everything she does,” Butler said.  

Butler feels as though someone with multiple relatable life experiences can be the perfect kind of speaker for students who are also undergoing major life changes. 

“It is integral to have someone who can incorporate positive values, influential intentions and most importantly, motivating the audience since it is a crucial transitioning period into the big world,” Butler said. “To be honest I think it should be an El Paso native/ UTEP graduate. I think people would respond more to someone like them and not necessarily a super well-known figure. Like they’d be happy to see that success isn’t just measured in money or fame.” 

Regardless of who may be the guest speaker during graduation, it is a time to reflect and recognize the hard work that has been accomplished over the last few years. It is a time to congratulate all graduates as they proceed on with life to their next chapter. 

Marco Hinojosa is the audience and engagement editor and may be reached at [email protected] 

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About the Contributor
Marco Hinojosa
Marco Hinojosa, Audience and Engagement
Marco Hinojosa is the audience and engagement editor for The Prospector. He is a junior at the University of Texas at El Paso majoring multimedia journalism with a minor in criminal justice. He plans to broaden his horizons as a journalist and work for a major broadcast company.
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‘Picking’ an ideal guest speaker for graduation