MAILED: May 19, 2000
Two students will deliver their "Response From the Class" during two commencement ceremonies Saturday, May 27, at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. Leah Zimmer, Sheboygan, will speak for the class during the morning ceremony. Kelly North, Minnetonka, Minn., will deliver a message from the class during the afternoon ceremony.
Zimmer, an English secondary education major, will give a speech titled "Pursuing Our Future."
"My speech is a spin off the 'Three Rs' of education: reading, writing and arithmetic," Zimmer said. "I am offering three new 'Rs' for this class as we finish our formal classroom education. I remember getting those basics drummed into my head, but we have each specialized and will continue to specialize as we move forward."
Zimmer started at UW-Eau Claire right after she graduated in 1996 from Sheboygan North High School. Zimmer admits she kind of landed in Eau Claire because a friend who was looking at colleges the year before had liked Eau Claire the best.
"I let her do the footwork for me, I guess," said Zimmer, adding she knew the education and English programs were strong here. Seeing as Zimmer already knew what she wanted to do, Eau Claire just seemed to fit.
Right now Zimmer is in the process of applying for teaching jobs in Wisconsin and Florida but isn't sure where she'll end up. What she is sure of is that she will miss the people she has worked with during her four years here.
"I have done a number of things such as RAing and being an orientation assistant and international peer guide where I've worked with incredible people," Zimmer said. "I've also mentored and tutored freshmen, and I loved that. It's been fun to see people starting school and adjusting to college life."
North, a business administration major with a minor in organizational communication, will give a speech titled "GPA." North was encouraged to write a speech for commencement after sharing her thoughts on grades in a recent leadership seminar she attended.
At the seminar, North was listening to a woman who was concerned her professor wasn't going to give her the grade she thought she deserved.
"I shared with her my theory of writing her own grade," North said. "I asked her, 'Did you show up everyday?' 'Did you choose a positive attitude?' 'Were you an active learner?'"
When the woman responded "yes" to all three questions, North asked her what grade she'd giver herself.
"She said she'd give herself an A-, and I responded by saying, 'You have just received your grade,'" North said.
The main point of North's speech is to celebrate the learning grades students have earned in and out of the classroom.
North graduated from Burnsville Senior High School and spent a year attending Moorhead State University before transferring to UW-Eau Claire. Her long-term goal is to work in training and development, but where she will work after graduation is still to be determined.
Janice B. Wisner
UW-Eau Claire News Bureau
Updated: May 19, 2000