Q & A with Commencement Student Speaker Tiara Lopez
Dec. 16, 2009 -- Western State College will confer bachelor’s degrees to 78 students at its 2009 Winter Commencement on Saturday, Dec. 19. Peter Bridges, of Crested Butte, will present the commencement address. Tiara Lopez, of Terilingua, Texas will present the student address.
Tiara is an English major and has served as the president for WordHorde, the official English club at Western. After graduation, she will embark on an East Coast tour with a performance poetry troupe called Poetry Normal. She also finished a book of poetry.
We caught up with Lopez earlier this week for the following Q and A.
Q: How did you find out about Western State College?
A: While commuting to community college on the Front Range as a freshman every day I looked out to the mountains and wanted to get there, and out of the city. At a Matisyahu (a popular reggae artist) concert in Aspen I met some people from the Gunnison area that told me about Western. The next day I "Googled" the college and immediately applied.
Q: Why did you want to be the student commencement speaker?
A: As I’ve become a performance poet during my time here, I’ve learned that the spoken word can be used to motivate and encourage people, and that’s what I hope to do with my speech.
Q: Name a memorable WSC experience that will stay with you through time?
A: The weight of icy breath and heavy textbooks at eight in the morning is no joke.
Q: How about one memorable lesson from a professor?
A: Mark Todd, professor of English, and advisor to WordHorde, used to say the quote, "The point is not the points, the point is the poetry" before our slam poetry competitions.
Q: How has your involvement with WordHorde shaped your WSC experience?
A: It changed my life. I needed to express myself and I found that through poetry. I also met my best friends through WordHorde.
Q: What are you most proud of during your time as president of WordHorde?
A: Bringing performance poet Buddy Wakefield here. He is the most inspirational poet I’ve encountered, and it was incredible to put work into something that would inspire other people as well.
Q: Does the current economic climate have you worried as you are graduating?
A: No. To be an artist is to struggle. I’m not really worried about it.