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The Milton Measure

Comedian Jenny Slate: Graduation Speaker 2013

by on Friday, April 26th, 2013

Jenny Slate will be the 2013 graduation speaker (/

Each year, members of the senior class undergo a lengthy process to determine their graduation speaker. This year Milton welcomes comedian and former Saturday Night Live cast member Jenny Slate ‘00 to speak at graduation.

Since former President Bill Clinton’s graduation speech, the majority of speakers have been Milton alumni, and with the selection of Jenny Slate, this year is no different.

In previous years, alumni have returned as speakers and have brought with them unique messages to Milton’s students. In 2007, artist Sarah Sze ‘87 urged students to follow their dreams and to take risks. In 2008, the film director Jehane Noujaim ‘92 discussed transitions in life and facing difficult decisions. 2009’s speaker, Erika Mobley ‘86 gave students important guidelines for their day to day lives. Author Peter Scoblic ‘92, in 2010, encouraged students to learn from failure to achieve success. Author Reif Larsen ‘98 returned in 2011, asking students to embrace and thrive off the unexpected. Governor Deval Patrick ‘74 was last year’s graduation speaker.

Born in Milton, MA, Jenny Slate attended Milton from kindergarten through high school. Graduating in the class of 2000 as Valedictorian, Ms. Slate went on to Columbia University. After college, she participated in various comedy programs, including the duo Gabe & Jenny, whose show was recognized by Time Out magazine as the best new variety show of 2008. Until 2009, she made appearances regularly both on VH1 and on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon.

From 2009 to 2010, Slate was a cast member on Saturday Night Live. During her time on the show, she would impersonate the likes of Kristen Stewart, Lady Gaga, and Ashley Olsen. After her stint on SNL, she starred in movies like The Lorax, and television shows, including Bob’s Burgers and Parks and Recreation. In 2010, Slate co-wrote and voiced the stop-motion film “Marcel the Shell with Shoes on.” The success of this original film led to a sequel “Marcel the Shell with Shoes on, Two” and the children’s book Marcel.

Debbie Simon, who taught Ms. Slate during her time at Milton, remembers her fondly. Ms. Simon got to know Slate through her work on the speech team and recalls that “Jenny was an active member of the Milton Academy Speech Team. She competed in numerous festivals in Humorous Interpretation. Her performances were always spontaneous, well-crafted, and witty. She was great fun to coach, because she had so many ideas to contribute to her Art.” Even after graduating from Milton, Jenny kept in touch with Ms. Simon. Ms. Simon believed that during her stint on SNL, Jenny’s work showed “the world she is fearless, resilient… and very, very, talented.”

Ms. Simon thinks that Slate will bring fun and excitement to the graduation festivities: “Jenny always seemed to love what she did at Milton and I think she will share her memories with us. Jenny knew the kind of career she wanted to pursue. I believe she had a ‘little voice’ in her head like her character, Marcel, that told her she could do it. She is a success in a very competitive entertainment world.” Finally, Ms. Simon believes that Ms. Slate’s return is “a gift. Jenny followed her passion when she left Milton Academy and it will be thrilling to have her return to campus. While at Milton, Jenny’s energy and enthusiasm were legendary.” Ms. Simon, and the rest of the Milton campus, will be overjoyed to have Ms. Slate as this year’s graduation speaker for the Class of 2013.

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Posted by on Apr 26 2013. Filed under News, Recent News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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