'Hope, grace and redemption'
Erika Harold, Urbana High '97 and Miss America '03, will deliver her alma mater's commencement speech today:
The thing I remember most about my own commencement is ... singing with the Urbana High School choir during the ceremony — and the nostalgic realization that it was the last time I would ever have the opportunity to do so.
The theme of my message on Saturday will be ... the three risks in life worth fighting for.
The most inspiring speaker I've ever heard up close was ... Prison Fellowship founder Chuck Colson. While doing prison ministry in Texas, I was privileged to hear Mr. Colson speak to the inmates about hope, grace and redemption.
The perfect speaker for Urbana's 2015 commencement would be ... Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani schoolgirl who was shot for advocating that all girls deserve the opportunity to obtain an education. Malala overcame that attack and now is one of the world's most powerful voices in favor of girls' education.
The thing I wish I knew before leaving high school for college is ... lack of sleep eventually will catch up with you, and no amount of coffee can compensate for sleep deprivation.