By Devin Fitzgerald, Staff Writer
Sean Skillern can be found all over the University of Maine at Farmington (UMF) campus in the many different clubs and teams he is a part of. Being such an active student he was the perfect candidate to appear as the guest speaker for the graduation commencement ceremony for the class of 2014.
Skillern, who is currently serving as the class vice president, will be graduating this May with a degree in elementary education. Skillern said it was the education program that initially attracted him to UMF, “I knew it was one of the most renowned education schools in the state of Maine, and I wanted to be a part of that.”
After four years, other factors about UMF stand out in Skillern’s mind. “My favorite aspect of UMF is the closeness of the community. I love the fact that I know all the faces on campus, and have been able to branch out to the elementary schools and community members,” he said.
In order to be elected as the guest speaker at graduation, Skillern had to write his speech months ago to try out in front of a panel of judges. The panel consisted of faculty and selected students, who listened to all applicants before voting.
“It just felt like something I have always wanted to do,” Skillern said when discussing what motivated him to want to speak at graduation. “Over the past year, I have really worked to remove myself from any comfort zone that I conform to. Being able to give a speech in front of thousands of people really presents a challenge to be yourself and speak what you love and believe in…I was really attracted to that.”
The topic of Skillern’s speech came to him easily, but has not been shared publicly. “I have not told a soul what my speech is about,” he said. Skillern was willing to give readers a little preview, “The title of my speech is Remembrance.” He also said that the main idea of his speech is focused on memories and experiences that, “make us who we are.”
As the big day gets closer, Skillern’s speech is always on his mind. “Between student teaching, rugby, and club events, I am rehearsing my speech in any free moment,” said Skillern. He also discussed his pre-speech jitters, “I am nervous to give my speech,” he said. “But I feel like it is something I have always worked for. When it comes to graduation day, I know I will deliver.”