Honor students lands Hinsdale South graduation speech
Kara Leslie photographed on stage in the theater at Hinsdale South High School Thursday, May 24, 2012 in Darien. Leslie will speak at graduation of the class of 2012. | Rob Hart~Sun-Times Media
NAME: Kara Leslie
BEST KNOWN AS: Student commencement speaker for the Hinsdale South Class of 2012
Updated: July 3, 2012 9:15AM
Kara Leslie had enough to think about during these last few weeks of her senior year without having to worry about delivering the commencement speech at graduation.
But this honor student has never been one to take the easy way.
A member of the Madrigal Choir, Peer Leadership Network, Student Council, Ambassadors, and many other student organizations, Leslie was determined to add commencement speaker to her list of accomplishments.
“I wanted to get that speech so bad,” she said.
As an accomplished vocalist, the stage is a familiar place for Leslie. But this will be the first time her words are not set to music.
“I’ve done solos,” she said. “That’s where I get the ability to put myself in a vulnerable situation like this.”
And as the day approaches when she’ll step up to the podium in Hornet Stadium, Leslie admits she’s a little nervous. But mostly, she’s excited to leave her classmates with a message she hopes they won’t soon forget.
“It’s not like I have some big life experience to give to them. I have the same experience they do,” Leslie said.
Instead, Leslie has crafted a speech that includes a few common memories, some words of encouragement and of course, congratulations.
Leslie said she was careful to mention not only the athletes and the scholars, but also the musicians, the thespians and even those who struggled to get to this big day.
“It’s everyone’s graduation. I want to make sure everyone feels mentioned,” she said.
“This was definitely something that I never though would be a possibility,” said Leslie, who said she dreamed of speaking at graduation ever since she attended her older brothers’ commencements at South.
Principal Brian Waterman said he invited members of the top two percent of the graduating class to audition to speak at graduation.
Leslie’s speech was chosen from a field of seven.
“Kara was just really, really enthusiastic,” and presented her well-written speech articulately, Waterman said.
“I’m pleased to give her this honor,” he said.
Hinsdale South’s graduation ceremony begins at 7 p.m. Friday at the school, 7401 South Clarendon Hills Road in Darien.