Monday, June 01, 2009

My commencement speech intro (aka, The Old Testament)

I mentioned on Twitter several weeks ago how I was hoping to involve crowdsourcing feedback into the commencement speech I've been asked to give at my alma mater's graduation ceremony on the 15th. I've since been asked to whittle it down to five minutes, but to also do a lengthy intro (that's public school for you).

Have at it...comments/criticism welcome. Rather than be stuffy, I'd prefer to do something to make the kids laugh.

Delivering tonight's keynote address is a proud alumnus of Sanchez High, Mr. Jason Salas.

Jason is best known in the Guam community for his work at KUAM, where he works as interactive media manager, overseeing all aspects of the company's digital content delivery efforts. Over the last decade he's co-anchored the nightly 6pm news with Sabrina Salas Matanane, done play-by-play for local sports broadcasts, and hosted numerous shows and programs on television, on the radio and online.

He also continues his life's work of helping Guamanians improve their lives through technology, having launched several spinoff projects to this end.

Having grown up in Dededo in Ypaopao Estates as the eldest child of two educators, Jason graduated from the Home of the Sharks in 1992. He was a four-year cadet in the Shark JROTC battalion, serving as color guard commander and battalion commander his senior year. He played middle blocker for our boys volleyball team (although a broken wrist kept him from seeing any on-court action his last season). He was heavily involved in class activities, extra-curricular events, and was an avid high school sports fan. He even came back after graduating to help coach the volleyball teams.

Jason was an honors student and graduated near the top of his class of 202 students, excelling at math and English; despite this, he was absolutely horrendous at science and often fell asleep in government class. He was voted duke of his senior prom, and his yearbook lists his senior superlative as "Worst Jokes", a well-deserved moniker he remains proud of to this day.

He wore his letterman's jacket to school as often as he could. He also doesn't hesitate to give Sanchez High a shameless on-air plug whenever he calls a game.

After high school, he earned a marketing degree from the University of Guam and also studied music theory. He later put himself through graduate school and holds an MBA with emphasis in technology management. He's a self-taught software developer and a passionate part-time musician.

Despite the various paths his career has taken him, he always remained true to his alma mater. He credits the tightness and camaraderie between his classmates as a major driving factor towards his success, and he and his fellow alumni remain lifelong friends. He kept his graduation tassel hanging from his car's rear-view mirror for three years, even after Guam's searing heat faded its proud silver & black colors.

He very happily returns to his alma mater to speak to tonight's graduates on the topic of "Appreciating Where You Came From". Ladies and gentlemen, please join me in welcoming Class of '92 graduate...Jason Salas.

(...and the crowd, assuming they're still awake by this point, goes wild.)

Well put. I'm sure it'll get a few laughs here and there to keep everyone from falling asleep. One point, though. Intros are known to reserve saying the speaker's name until the very end. The cheese factor of this practice is to 'build up the suspense.' But I think the practical reasoning is to prevent pre-mature applause from the audience. That reason is good enough for me to suggest you do that.
I dunno...I thought about that, but then my name'll be all over the program and I'll be sitting up there with the class (it's at UOG). So I think the deus ex machina approach is out the window. :)
The form of rhythm is tight. Not too tacky, and funny.

Anecdotes will be appreciated and the subtle humor spiced with self-deprecation should get some laughs from the audience.

Good luck!
Thanks Therese! On self-deprecation: I thought it'd be fun to take a couple indirect jabs at myself through the emcee. But make no one makes fun of me like I do, so just wait until the main speech & I really start in in myself. Hahahaha. :)
Sorry Jason! Its all about them FRIARS! 91-95 MAROON WALL!!!! haha

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