Hatfield delivers address at UK program

Sierra+Hatfield%2C+a+Harlan+County+High+School+graduate%2C+was+the+sophomore+representative+selected+to+speak+at+the+University+of+Kentucky+New+Student+Orientation+program+over+the+weekend.

Sierra Hatfield, a Harlan County High School graduate, was the sophomore representative selected to speak at the University of Kentucky New Student Orientation program over the weekend.

John Henson, Bear Tracks adviser

One year after being a new student herself, Sierra Hatfield was at Memorial Coliseum on Saturday as the sophomore representative selected to speak at the University of Kentucky New Student Orientation.

“She delivered an awesome, inspiring speech,” said Harlan County Judge-Executive Dan Mosley, who was there with his stepson, Blake Blevins, an incoming freshman at UK.

Hatfield, a 2015 Harlan County High School graduate, finished her first year at UK with a 4.0 grade point average with a double major in political science and economics.

“I tried to think about what I wish someone would’ve told me when I was a college freshman. I wanted students to know it’s OK to face challenging situations. I also wanted them to know that UK is welcoming, and that was a big part of my speech,” said Hatfield, who provided a surprise at the end.

“I decided to take the first step for them and took off my wig on stage to reveal my short hair underneath,” she said. “I decided I couldn’t tell these students to be proud of who they were if I was hiding something about myself as well.”

Hatfield admits she was more than a little nervous about the experience.

“I was anxious about the whole thing for at least a week beforehand,” she said. “I had spoken in front of 300 people when I was a Governor’s Scholar, but that was nothing compared to over 3,000 people in Memorial Coliseum. I’m glad I did it, though. After the ceremony, parents and students thanked me for my message. It was worth it.”

Hatfield, who is the daughter of Michael Hatfield, of Benham, and Sabrina Hatfield, of Lexington, met several UK officials during the program.

“Before the program started, I was able to mingle with deans and President (Eli) Capilouto, so that was intimidating. But everyone was kind and supportive,” she said.

Hatfield said she was asked to apply as the sophomore representative by Rebecca Jordan, a former associate dean of students. Hatfield received experience in broadcasting at HCHS as the lead anchor for Black Bear News as a senior.

“She told me applications were open and she thought I’d do well because of my public speaking skills in class. To apply, you write your speech and submit it with a resume, and if they like what they see so far, they ask you to come in and perform your speech as is. I received an e-mail a couple weeks later that told me I had been chosen and that’s when the revision process started. I revised it with the guidance of Lauren Goodpaster, who is the director of the office of new student and family programs.”

Hatfield starts her sophomore year at UK this week and is looking forward to the challenges ahead. Hatfield plans to continue her education in law school after earning a bachelor’s degree.