The first-ever Senior Class Kickoff was held Wednesday night in Cameron Indoor Stadium. Hosted by the Senior Class Council, the event was intended to increase unity among the class and featured speeches by President Richard Brodhead and retired NBA star Grant Hill, Trinity ’94.
“I’ve never seen a school where students love it so much,” Brodhead said, urging seniors to take advantage of Duke’s opportunities before their graduation.
In his address, Brodhead advised that the seniors not spend their year prematurely overcome with nostalgia or overly focused on their post-graduate lives.
Hill encouraged the class to step into leadership roles, using his own experience on the basketball team in the early 1990s as an example.
“You might think, once it’s over, it’s over,” Hill said. “But in reality, your relationship with this place is for life. You’re part of a family.”
Senior class president Andrew Leon Hanna said that he hoped the event inspired seniors to enjoy the year and be prominent in the University community.
“You can either look at it like, ‘This is my last year, I’m going to invest deeply, I’m going to engage on campus,’” Hanna said. “The other option is, ‘It’s my senior year, I’m on my way out’ and just check out and withdraw… I hope they came out thinking, ‘It’s one more year, let’s make it count.’”
The event concluded with a trivia contest, pitting teams captained by Brodhead and Hill against each other. Hill’s team correctly answered 12 questions to Brodhead’s four, prompting Brodhead to deliver a rousing pep talk to his team.
“It was a great effort to bring the senior class together for one last hurrah,” said senior Iyanu Oke.
The event is one of a handful of things that the Senior Class Council is doing to improve class unity and engagement. Other efforts include a Facebook page compiling words of wisdom from seniors for younger students and an event in which Coach Mike Krzyzewski will allow seniors to watch a basketball practice.