Wortmann Ballroom was buzzing with excitement as the Honors freshmen waited to be officially inducted into the Honors program on Wednesday, September 3rd. This annual event, which was themed “Creativity and Ingenuity”, formally initiates new students into the Honors Program, and it is an exciting occasion for everyone. All new students are paired with an Honors mentor when they enter the program, so mentor-mentee pairs sat together at tables and mingled while they waited for the ceremony to begin. Mentor programs pair freshman with current upperclassman for the year so freshman will start the school year with a connection and access to information. The atmosphere was surprisingly playful: at every table were crayons, candy, wooden blocks, and bubbles for students to play with while they socialized.
Honors Program President Senior Emma Webb opened the evening with a warm welcome to all the students—new and returning—remembering her own freshman year fondly and looking back on her past three years. Webb told the freshmen that they have a lot to look forward to and she sincerely hoped that they feel Honors will be their “home away from home” as she and so many others have. The Honors program provides a sense of community for students to grow and thrive.
Keynote speaker and Professor of modern languages Dr. Lynn Talbot greeted all the students, reminding them that the next four years were going to be a time of newfound freedom, but also of responsibility. “As my high school classmate Robin Williams said in his movie Dead Poet Society: ‘Seize the day! Make your lives extraordinary,” said Dr. Talbot. She hopes that as each student finds their place in the Roanoke community and that they will make it a little bit better than it was before.
The highlight of the night was when Honors Program Director Dr. Chad Morris gave everyone one word to meditate on as they head full-speed into the new academic year: “liminality”. Liminality is a “rite of passage”, and that’s what the ceremony was, claimed Dr. Morris. The ceremony proceeded smoothly, and after the last freshman received her certificate and sat down, the audience burst into applause. The Honors program has officially rung in the 2014-2015 school year.