There are several reasons to look forward to graduation Saturday, May 6 at Boise State University, when the school will mark its 100th commencement. Beyond the excitement of that milestone, graduates will receive their diplomas on the iconic blue turf of Albertson's Stadium for the first time.
If the commencement speaker, student Oceane Pelloille, is nervous she sure doesn't show it.
"Some people tell me sometimes, 'Oh, the ocean is wild today' or 'The ocean is calm today.' I guess my name truly fits my personality," she said. "But, honestly, I'm feeling rather calm."
She paused a moment and flashed a smile.
"Calm, but excited," she added.
Pelloille came from her hometown of Caen, France to Boise State on a golf scholarship. Four years later, she's an All-American champion golfer and, in addition to her studies in political science, American Sign Language and nonprofit management, she created Boise State's first Make-a-Wish chapter and traveled to Jamaica to help build schools. Among her many distinctions, Pelloille will be the first member of her family to earn a college degree.
Do you look back on your time at Boise State as a stepping stone or a chapter that is coming to an end?
I'm closer to who I want to be. I gained a lot of wisdom and met people that definitely taught me a lot about the world and myself. Yes, it's a stepping stone, but it's also a chapter that I'll share with my kids when I'm older. I'll read them this chapter of my life's book.
Are you feeling melancholy about leaving?
I'm super excited with what's to come because I have a lot of dreams. But it's going to be hard to leave this place that has been my home. I adore the people in this community. Lately, I've been thinking a lot about these amazing people. I have all of these pictures in my mind. But there's so much more to come. I can only be excited and keep going forward.
It appears as if you're rather passionate about several social issues.
I find passion in serving others. Last year I went to Jamaica with several other students to help improve infrastructure at schools. That was extremely empowering. I've been working with Make-a-Wish for over a year now and started a chapter on campus. Plus, I'm a Big Sister. I really made it my mission to get involved in this community.
A lot of your fellow students concentrate on their grades and that defines their four years in college.
I just do what I love. I do what's right for me.
Tell me about your plans after graduation.
I'll be travelling to Central and South America—Mexico, Guatemala, Chile—for a month and a half. I'll go back home to France for a bit, but then I'm moving to Montreal, Canada.
What's waiting for you in Montreal?
One of my passions is music. I'm a singer/songwriter and Montreal is a great city for music.
But why Montreal? Do you know anyone there?
Yes, I have friends there. But it's really about Montreal being such a great city for music. So, I'm going there to figure out my life's next step.
Describe your music for me.
It's a mix of soul and pop. It's just the way I communicate. Music is my secret garden; it allows me to express my feelings.
Your secret garden? That's rather poetic. Does that mean your music has been a secret up until now?
It's still a secret. Not public... yet.
So, let me take inventory here: you're a bit of a poet, you're brilliant, you're a champion golfer, you're a singer/songwriter and you want to change the world. Is that about right?
That's about right.
I'm certain that you're hearing this often lately, but congratulations.
Believe me, every time I hear that, it hits home. This has been awesome. Lovely.