Seniors of the class of 2012 prepare graduation speeches
Seniors practice walking to their seats during graduation practice on June 6. Photo by EMMA RICHIE
On June 7, the class of 2012 will walk down their lines and prepare themselves to graduate high school. At 7 p.m., the students will start the processional and then, at 7:30 p.m., the class of 2012 will begin their graduation ceremony. The ceremony will be filled with information from the administration and diploma recognition for all of the graduates, but what seems to be a bigger part of the ceremony, at least on the students’ behalf, are the speeches.
Each year, students, as well as one staff member are chosen to give four speeches at the commencement ceremony. For the class of 2012, the historical speech will be given by Liz Allen and Katie Sobeck, the inspirational speech will be given by Amanda Peterson, and the Valedictorian speech will be given by Brooke Vasconcellos. Mrs. Julie Poe was selected to present the staff speech.
Mrs. Poe was selected after the seniors voted on their top choices of staff members for the staff speech. For the students, however, the process was a little different.
“The process consisted of writing a story based on a topic that you chose out of the application packet, memorizing it, and then presenting your story in front of a panel of selected judges on the Wednesday of CST testing week during first period,” Sobeck said.
These audition speeches tested the student’s ability to present and their comfortableness in front of a large and intimidating audience. The practice speeches cause the student to speak and tell a story clearly with unique approaches to similar situations and themes.
“I wrote an acceptance speech accepting the MVP award for the NFL. I was the quarterback of the winning team of the Superbowl,” Allen said.
Although the auditions centered around the speaking and presenting abilities of the students, when the time comes for their real speech at graduation, their speech must be written, spoken well and must deliver an overall message to the graduates.
“My speech doesn’t really have a central theme, but it includes things like individuality and I tried to make it something everyone in the class can relate to,” Vasconcellos said.
On the other hand, the historical speech has a very relevant theme to everyone’s life.
“(Katie and I) centered the speech around time: all about time and how it moves us along no matter what and is inevitable. We just talked about the four years of our high school career and focused on all the positive aspects of our class. We wanted everyone to remember all they had been through and the great accomplishments they earned along the way,” Allen said.
By expressing to the graduating class that their accomplishments and hard work have gotten them to where they are today, the speeches themselves are symbols for the speakers about the struggles they’ve already faced in high school.
“It was such an honor to be named a Valedictorian, and to be able to give the Valedictorian speech at graduation is even more amazing. It’s kind of a conclusion to all the hard work I’ve put in over the last 4 years,” Vasconcellos said.
Yet, even with the promise of the future hanging onto each word of the students’ speeches, the reality of speaking in front of a large crowd may be frightening.
“I am extremely nervous. I want to be able to enjoy graduation, but having this speech looming over me is all I can concentrate on. I hope that I will still be able to enjoy the ceremony though because I don’t want to be concentrating on my nerves the whole time,” Vasconcellos said.
But some speakers simply feel as if this speech is the final test of what they have learned in high school and what they are prepared to take on to college.
“Giving the speech is a learning opportunity for me and a way to work on my presentation skills in order to better prepare me for the multiple college presentations I will be responsible for giving in my various classes,” Sobeck said.
Whether graduation signifies a relief to the end of days as a Wildcat or a beginning to a new life at college, the ceremony is, afterall, a commencement of the class of 2012 and their four years of homework, essential skills, tests, projects and planner stamps and a symbol of going forth on to a new life.
by EMMA RICHIE