The truth about speech writing

By Peyton Gadbury | Opinion Editor

May 16, 2019

Writing a speech is not glamorous by any means, unlike the actual delivery. It’s an ugly process filled with procrastination, frustration, and—after many, many rewrites—contentment. Figuring out the general mood and idea for the speech isn’t hard, but finding the right words is. It’s a lot like if someone were to tell you to name 10 fruits in 10 seconds. You know 10 fruits, probably more, but as soon as someone puts you under pressure and adds a time limit, you’re suck with banana and apple and wondering if any other fruits actually exist.

Words fail you. Time and time and time again.

I first decided that I wanted to try out to give the commencement speech at my brother’s graduation last year. I was sitting at the back of the field, surrounded by the rest of the Daisy Court, trying to angle my body away from the sun and wondering just how much I could bear before I fainted from heat stroke.

Well, not exactly right then.

It happened when Kelsey Bland, the 2018 commencement speaker, addressed her graduating class, reminding them of how far they’ve come in the last four years and all the wonders of high school. I remember feeling waves of nostalgia hit me and the strange sense that I would be graduating a year later, closing a chapter of my life and moving onto the next.

It seems as though I’ve been counting down the days until graduation ever since I started at SCHS four years ago. When I finally sat down one weekend to start the speech, I couldn’t. I thought of all the memories I have, and what type of person I’ve become and who I still want to be.

I thought about my classmates and everything we’ve endured over the past four years. The successes, failures, laughter, tears.

When you’re trying to sum up four years of your life in two minutes, words fail you. So, you look to others.

I listened to recordings of MLK, JFK, and Steve Jobs. How could I emulate these amazing people? What do you say to the end of an era? To teachers that changed your life, and friends that made you a better person? 

Well, to start you say hello. You tell the crowd to look around. To take it all in. To bask in the memories.

My fellow seniors…

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