Inspiration, Adoption, Confessions of a bookaholic, The Importance of Going to Mass, these are just a few things you may hear from PA seniors as they share their passions. Senior speeches are a tradition here at PA; all seniors give a seven to nine minute speech on a topic of their choice. Almost every Thursday, a group of five seniors present their speech in the PAC. In the audience are the speakers’ families, upper school faculty and the junior class.
Each senior has a faculty adviser help them edit and prepare their speech so it is the best it can be. Ms. Uppgaard has had an amazing experience being a speech adviser, she reflects, “It gives me an opportunity to connect with seniors since I don’t teach them.”
Having an adviser is crucial to the efficiency of the speeches. “Hearing someone else’s thoughts, having someone help come up with ideas is very helpful; the faculty are very influential in the writing process”, said Sam Ferreira, ’19. Teachers primarily assist with editing, creating topic ideas and preparing the presentation.
These speeches take a lot of time, practice, and preparation, but the most nerve-wracking part is undoubtedly giving the speech itself. Many students said they wish they didn’t have to do speeches because it would make senior year a lot easier. Teacher advisers would disagree, saying it’s beneficial to the students to acquire the skill of public speaking. “The hard part is the poise to get up in front of the audience, not the writing”, says Uppgaard.
Still, presentation day can be very fun and exciting. Seniors have the privilege of wearing their speech outfit instead of their uniform throughout the day. They also enjoy being able to hand out two passes to underclassmen of their choice to attend their speech.
“Be confident, not nervous, and pick a topic that interests you. It makes the writing process so much more fun.”, advises Ferreira. The speech can be very intimidating but it’s something that will stick with these students forever.