By KENDRA PEEK
11:24 AM EST, December 17, 2012
Having a competitive nature and a supportive family is what Danville native Nicholas Wade credits for pushing him to create new standards while a student at Eastern Kentucky University.
To his growing list of honors, Wade added giving the commencement address in his college graduation on Saturday.
“I’m really excited,” he said, during an interview last week.
To be selected, Wade had to complete an application with a faculty letter of recommendation and a copy of his potential speech. The hundreds of applications were then examined by a committee, consisting of the Provost of the college, individuals from the Student Affairs office, and EKU professors, among others.
It was the largest number of applicants they’ve had, according to Wade.
He was selected, along with two others, to go through the interview process. That required him and the others to meet with the committee and answer questions. Wade also had to present his potential speech to the committee.
One student was chosen for each of the two commencement ceremonies, Wade getting the opportunity to speak to classmates in the College of Arts and Sciences and the College of Business and Technology.
His competitive drive is what pushed him to keep trying to “one-up” himself.
“I always try to push myself,” he said.
This is something his mom, Denise Wade, said he always has done.
“Nicholas has always been ready to conquer the world,” she said, adding that she and Jimmy, her husband and Nicholas’ dad, have remarked how interesting it will be to see what he does with his life.
“He has always been excited to learn and experience new things,” Denise Wade said.
He became involved in the Honors Program at EKU, which opened the door to participate in conferences where he presented and competed against students from other schools across the commonwealth and beyond.
“I did the first competition and loved it,” Wade said. After that, it was a matter of doing better each time. Over the course of his time at EKU, Wade has attended nine conferences and set school records along the way.
While a junior, he was nominated and selected to serve as a student representative on the Southern Regional Honors Council, which plans the Southern Regional Honors Conference. While on the council, Wade acted as a student voice, participating in the decision-making process for the 2012 conference.
He was the first from EKU to be selected for the position. However, Wade kept going. Throughout his life, his parents have been major supporters of everything he’s attempted, and this was no different.
“They wanted to go to all (of the conferences), but it’s not really that type of setting,” he said.
For one of his recent honors, they were able to attend the awards ceremony afterward.
Wade presented a research paper at the Kentucky Communication Association, which earned him the Top Undergraduate Paper award. The paper initially was created as his senior capstone project for the Honors Program.
He said he didn’t know that it had never been done before until after the fact.
“I thought, ‘can’t really top that,’” he said, laughing.
Wade, who officially stepped into the world as a college graduate on Saturday, will simply have to see if he can “top that” as he begins working. While a student at EKU, he had pursued a major in public relations and a minor in English. He graduated from Boyle County High School in 2008.
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