When senior Brianna Lazarchik found out she had been selected as this year’s Millor Orator at commencement, she was thrilled to reach her goal.
“I’ve wanted this for four years,” said Lazarchik. “I’m still speechless, thinking about it.”
Every year at John Carroll University’s commencement ceremony, one graduating senior gives a speech. After submitting their proposed speeches, a small group of students are selected as finalists. The applicants then audition in front of a committee before one of them is selected as that year’s Millor Orator.
Lazarchik, an economics major and a Catholic studies minor, described her speech as reflective of her experience at JCU.
“It was inspired by everything I’ve been through and everything my friends have been through over the years,” Lazarchik said about her speech.
“I really honestly wrote it trying to play on the idea that everybody – whether they like it or not – everybody has gained something from being here at John Carroll,” Lazarchik said. She explained that she wants her classmates, even those who were involved in different activities than her, to be able to relate to her speech.
“I tried to touch on a lot of different things in order to really reach out to a lot of different people,” she said.
Lazarchik articulated her advice for incoming first-year students.
“Trust in who you are. I think that that’s one thing I’ve learned, more than anything over these four years, that everybody is a different person,” she said. “And nobody should be expected to be like anybody else. Nobody has to grow up to be what their friends think they should be. Nobody has to grow up to be what their parents tell them. I think that everybody is given their own weirdness, their own skills, their own type of people that they work best with, and all those things. And that’s awesome.”
In her time at JCU, Lazarchik has been involved in Campus Ministry, including various retreats and music ministry. She also worked as a tour guide and served on the leadership team for the Carroll Faith Communities. Lazarchik participated in student government for two years.
Lazarchik repeatedly emphasized her appreciation for the unique community of people at JCU.
“You get people who will tell you what you need to hear when you don’t want to hear it, and you have people who will support you no matter what,” she said. “You have the ability to build a family for yourself here. It’s not just a place [where] we go to school.”
She also speculated about life post-graduation.
“Sometimes I get worried that people in the real world aren’t like people at John Carroll,” said Lazarchik. “I have met so many genuinely wonderful people who have really given my life a lot of shape.”
After graduation, Lazarchik will participate in a year or two of service at St. Martin De Porres High School in Cleveland. She said she might pursue a master’s degree in education.
“I’m an economics major, but I’ve always had a very strong interest in education,” she said.
“I’ve done a lot of service related to education over the years, and I did my thesis on education in New Orleans,” said Lazarchik. She cited her immersion trip to New Orleans in January 2015 as the inspiration for her thesis topic.
When asked what surprised her most about JCU, she said, “I didn’t think you could love a place as much as I love it here.”
Lazarchik, a Pittsburgh native, met this year’s commencement speaker, chair of the JCU Board of Directors Dave Short, when he hosted an event in Pittsburgh for students who had been accepted to JCU.
“I’ve met him a couple times since then,” she said. “He’s a very inspiring speaker.”
Lazarchik said that she is really thankful to have met her fellow students in the class of 2015.
“I know that this is an amazing group of people. To be the person that’s going to get to stand up there [at commencement] – it’s surreal. It’s incredible,” she said. “It’s such an honor and I still don’t think I’m going to really believe it until it’s happening. And I may not even believe it then.”