As the iconic purple and white tent is raised on the Quad this week, Elizabeth Jalette ’23 and Amanda Perra ’19, M.Ed. ’23 are preparing to give remarks for the 72nd Commencement which will be held on Sunday, May 21. Both students were chosen by a committee of faculty, staff and peers after they auditioned for these important roles. Before they offer their words of wisdom to graduates, families and friends, we spoke with them about being selected as a speaker, plans after graduation and advice for future students. 

Undergraduate Speaker Elizabeth Jalette ’23

Elizabeth Jalette

Elizabeth Jalette ’23 of North Smithfield, Rhode Island, is graduating with a double major in elementary education and psychology. She has been active on campus as a participant in the H.O.P.E. program, a library worker, Orientation Leader and Head Resident Assistant. She also volunteered in the community with My Brother’s Keeper and Habitat for Humanity. 

Why did you want to be this year’s Commencement undergraduate speaker? 

I originally started writing my speech as a letter to Stonehill for my own reflective purposes. After I finished writing it, I realized it really reflected the experiences and values of our class, so I decided I would audition in hopes of encapsulating everyone’s experiences.

What was your reaction when you were selected?

I immediately felt really honored because I knew a lot of great people auditioned. I wasn’t expecting it, so I’m very grateful for this opportunity.

What are your plans after graduation?

I will be pursuing a master’s degree of education in social emotional learning while being an elementary school teacher.

What advice do you want to share for future students at Stonehill?

Take the risk, join the club, go to the lectures. You never know where or who it’ll bring you to.

Graduate Speaker Amanda Perra ’19, M.Ed. ’23

Amanda Perra

Amanda Perra ’19, M.Ed. ’23 of Tolland, Connecticut, received her undergraduate degree double majoring in education and psychology. She continued her studies at Stonehill in pursuit of a master’s degree in inclusive education while teaching fifth graders who have mild to moderate disabilities. 

Why did you want to be this year’s Commencement graduate speaker? 

When I was offered the opportunity to audition, I felt incredibly honored to have the chance to represent such a hard-working group of new leaders. I wanted to be the graduate speaker to inspire these new leaders and the rest of the audience to feel empowered to take risks. 

What was your reaction when you were selected?

When I was told that I was chosen to be the graduate speaker, I was shocked. If you told first-year me that I would be the speaker for the graduate students at Stonehill, I would have never believed you. Graduate school helped me grow in so many ways. I learned to be comfortable with taking risks and seeking opportunities that could lead to failure because those experiences help you grow. It is a complete honor to be given the opportunity to speak on behalf of such hardworking and bright people who are truly going to change the world for the better. 

What are your plans after graduation?

This summer, I will be working at a camp as a literacy specialist for a nonprofit organization that serves economically and culturally diverse families. Afterwards, I am moving to California and will be working in a low-income urban school district as a 7th-8th grade English teacher for students with mild to moderate disabilities. The move is going to be a challenge, but I am excited for the new experience! 

What advice do you want to share for future graduate students at Stonehill?

Lead with kindness and take on challenges that put you out of your comfort zone. You won’t regret it.


The Class of 2023's graduation ceremony will take place on Sunday, May 21 at 10 a.m. on the college campus.