HP Student to give Fall Convocation Speech

by Cory Hopkins | April 2016

Each semester dozens of students apply for the privilege to address new students to Georgia Tech at the convocation ceremony. The process is a fairly rigorous one that includes writing a speech that is judged by faculty and staff around the campus. After the initial judging process students are notified via email and are expected to give their speech to the selection committee. Ben Rapsas, a first-year Biomedical Engineering student and member of the Honors Program, felt like this was something he was called to do.

Ben applied to the Honors Program as soon as he learnedthat we accepted into Tech and is currently in the first year Living Learning Community (LLC) on west campus. The Honors Program had quite an impact on Ben during the convocation speech selection process. He states, "From day one, the program provided me with this sense of 'home-away-from-home.' The support and encouragement I received from our group of talented administrators allowed me to feel confident in my ability to explore opportunities and take chances. And I would say it has absolutely paid off."

One of the biggest reasons Rapsas wanted to give the speech was to overcome one of his biggest fears: public speaking. Throughout high school he pushed himself to step outside of his comfort zone and he's continuing that process here at Tech. When asked what was the most difficult part of the process, Ben said, "Delivering my speech to the selection committee. That may sound funny because I will need to deliver this speech to thousands, but the panel was deciding on me versus many other qualified applicants, whereas my Convocation audience has no choice. They're stuck with me!"

Thanks to the guidance that Ben received from the administrators in the Honors Program, he feels confident in his abilities to give a memorable speech that will inspire and motivate Georgia Tech's newest additions. And to those who also want to speak at convocation - or just conquer a fear in general, Ben suggests, "If this is something that you are passionate about, wrap your head around it early... I really think that allowed me to develop the heartfelt message I wanted to deliver."