U.C. Merced Graduation Preparations

May 14, 2009 8:52:04 AM PDT
Everyone at U.C. Merced is busy getting ready for an historic visit from Michelle Obama. The first lady will deliver the keynote address at the university's commencement ceremony on Saturday.This campus is undergoing an incredible transformation right now. Crews are setting up some of the 12 thousand chairs that have been brought in from across the west coast, and the stage where Mrs. Obama will speak is already in place.

All of the students here have been keeping a close eye on the progress, including two seniors who will play very special roles in Saturday's ceremony.

Socorra Camposanto is preparing for the performance of a lifetime. On Saturday she'll strum her guitar and sing in front of more than ten thousand people.

"I'm freaking out. To be honest, the more I think about it. It went from really small more intimate ceremony to something just huge," said Camposanto.

When the U.C. Merced senior wrote this song and auditioned for a chance to sing it at her commencement, she had no idea Michelle Obama would be there. But despite the added pressure, Camposanto is happy the first lady accepted the invitation.

"I think the fact that she's coming is doing really great things for our school and the valley and showing other kids that want to go to college you can come to UC Merced and if you want to do something you can do it," said Camposanto.

Camposanto isn't the only student who will be stepping on stage Saturday. Jason Castillo also auditioned for and won the opportunity to be the student speaker.

"I'm comfortable with public speaking so although it's going to be a huge event and a huge audience I'm just excited to be addressing our class and representing our class," said Castillo.

The 21 year old isn't quite ready to share his speech yet.

"I've really been trying to keep it under wraps right now, but you'll be able to hear it at graduation," said Castillo.

However he did reveal that it focuses on how his class has flourished on this young campus... The same message Camposanto hopes to share in her lyrics...

Jason Castillo is heading to U.C.S.F Medical School in the fall and hopes to return to practice medicine in the Valley.

Socorra Camposanto wants to one day open a restaurant in Merced. But first they both have to finish their finals and then take the stage on Saturday.

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