Anna Aronson ’16 and Martina Fouquet ’16 have been chosen as the student speakers for Class Day 2016.
This is the first time in the University history in which all three class day speakers are women.
The speakers were chosen by a panel consisting of students, administrators and the undergraduate Class of 2016 Student Government. After speeches were submitted anonymously to the Class Day Committee, 12 finalists were chosen for a live audition.
Of those 12, Aronson and Fouquet were chosen as the speakers who will present their narratives on stage alongside Jodi Picoult ’87. Their speeches, along with those by finalists Kujegi Camara '16, Lovia Gyarkye '16 and Neeta Patel '16, will be published in the Class Day program distributed at the event.
“We have students speak because Class Day was started as a student initiative to give students a voice within the administration-planned commencement. We are interested in hearing how speakers will move a large and diverse audience of students, families, teachers and administrators,” said Azza Cohen ’16, a member of the Class Day Committee.
Cohen is a columnist for the Daily Princetonian.
The "theme" of Class Day is a reflection and celebration of our Princeton experience — but this can be manifested in so many different ways, she said.
This year, the speakers were chosen for their wit and humor, but also their “moments of deeper reflection” about their four year experience at the University and their post-Princeton lives in the real world, she explained.
Aronson sought the opportunity to speak to continue the improv comedy group Quipfire!’s tradition of presenting Class Day speeches, following in the footsteps of former members Adam Mastroianni '14, David Drew '14 and Jake Robertson '15.
“[I] was a little intimidated by the idea of imparting wisdom to thousands of people and less intimidated by the prospect of delivering jokes,” Aronson said.
Aronson plans to address the historic lack of female representation on the Class Day stage, which she said she suspects may be a common talking point between all three speeches.
Although her speech does not aim to address any particular issue in favor of entertaining the audience, she explained that “there are some moments of sentimentality and an underlying emphasis on the importance of making oneself vulnerable.”
After graduation, Aronson plans to move to Chicago to teach at a preschool and earn a Master’s degree in early childhood education through Teach for America.
Fouquet noted her speech seeks to reflect on what being at the University has meant to her and how her perception of the school has changed over the years.”
“Often, we talk about effortless perfection, so I think my speech is focused on deconstructing that myth through anecdotal stories. We all know Princeton's not perfect, but we aren't always transparent in the ways in which the school and our experience is beautifully imperfect," she said.
Fouquet plans to remain in the town of Princeton, N.J., after graduation, working in the city and getting an Master of Fine Arts degree in Creative Writing from Rutgers University in Newark, N.J.