Legacy Speeches 2017

Mar 2, 2017

“Legacy. What is a legacy? It’s planting seeds in a garden you never get to see.”
— Hamilton

As Alexander Hamilton, Lin-Manuel Miranda asked his audiences to think about the legacies of America’s founding fathers, as well as their own. At the Beyond Sports Foundation, we often ask our student-athletes similar questions – How will you leave your mark on the foundation once you graduate from high school? Which athletes or role models do you look up to? What are you hoping to accomplish by the time your athletic career ends? With the arrival of Hamilton: An American Musical in Chicago, it seemed only fitting to explore these questions further by incorporating them into this year’s professional development workshops.

After attending a pair of plays in the fall 2016 semester, student-athletes participated in an introductory public speaking workshop. There, they learned that in one month, they would be presenting 3-5 minute speeches in front of a panel of judges, in addition to their peers, Beyond Sports staff members, and their families. Seeing as the five highest-scoring speakers would receive tickets to Hamilton, we asked them to respond to the quote above by answering one of the following questions: what is your legacy, what do you want your legacy to be, or who has a legacy that you look up to?

As the weeks went by, student-athletes prepared their speeches with the guidance of tutors and family members. On the first day of the competition, the nerves were palpable as several students prepared to step outside of their comfort zones that morning. For the following two hours, they told stories about wanting to be role models for younger siblings, hopes of following in the footsteps of family members and professional athletes, and how even the quietest person in the room has the ability to leave a profound impact on those around them.

By the end of the second day of competition, audience members had experienced laughs, tears, and a general appreciation for the openness and vulnerability of the speeches. Jacob Oquendo (Nazareth ’18) reflected on the experience with, “Honestly, it was pretty amazing hearing everyone else’s speeches. When I heard [them], I finally understood why they are the people they have become today or what they want to become. Everyone, including myself, felt really comfortable about the topic and comfortable presenting in front of everyone.”

The following week, Director of Athletic Development and College Support, Greg Taylor, took five students to Hamilton – all came back to the office with rave reviews. Please see the two highest scoring speeches below!