Your Bi-Weekly Rant: An open letter to potential graduation speakers


Allison Neal, Co-editor

Good for you, public speaking is hard and a common fear. You are up there at that tiny podium, shuffling your notes, faking a smile and doing it. Whatever you say now know that I am proud of you just for signing your name on Mr. Dick’s list. That takes guts my friend, and you clearly have them.

Now, stand up straight, roll your shoulders back and remember that 30 percent of the senior class are on their phones right now. Thirty percent will not notice a bit if you stutter or skip a line or are generally an awkward mass of teenage anxiety before them. Thirty percent are on Snapchat, and they are not taking photos of you. Remember that you wrote this speech for a reason. Commencement may not be for the students but it is for you, standing up there, summing up everything that your high school experience has meant.

You read your inspirational quotes. You lead with your meticulously planned jokes. And you get laughs. Because I’m there laughing for you potential graduation speaker. I am there laughing for you person who I’ve passed in the hallway countless times, the person whose dating so-and-so’s friend and took AP Bio last tri. You deserve cheering. You deserve laughter. You deserve to be looked at and listened to simply because you’re trying.

I’m not up there. I didn’t spend Sunday night revising and timing myself so the two minute buzzer chimes exactly when I have fully spellbound the sleep deprived masses. I’m not that ambitious. I trip over my words and falter over phrases that will please the relatives collected in bleachers snapping flash photos with red eye who care a heck of a lot more about the next part of the ceremony.
Kudos to you. Even if the vote is not in your favor I am, and as you’ve told me so beamingly and brilliantly, as a member of the class of 2016 my opinion means something.