Auditions approach for speeches at Class Day, graduation

Annie Matheis, New Editor

Seniors may sign up to audition to give a senior speech for Class Day or graduation. Auditions are on March 29 in the PAC.

Two speakers present on Class Day, while two different speakers recite for the Commencement Address.

Assistant principal and activities director Megan Allam coordinates the try-outs.

She said the judges usually look for a speech that will make the crowd think and incorporates the class’ defining elements. Judges also try to make sure the speech would be appropriate for the venue.

“A lot of the time people focus on the traditions that Blue Valley has had or recap some of the stuff that has happened that was unique about each individual class,” she said.

Allam said the judges evaluate the speech based on different criteria. Some teachers will take notes while listening to the speech, while others will fill out a personal rubric with what they are looking for. After all the speeches, the teachers deliberate about what they heard.

“The teachers will discuss which ones stood out, or which ones would be good at graduation or something that would be good at Class Day,” Allam said. “Class Day is usually a little more informal than graduation. They are both very important events, but it is just different being in the gym rather than being at Kemper Arena.”

Allam said choosing speakers is usually a very difficult decision.

“There are always a lot of really good speeches because they practice it in their CA class, and they have had a CA teacher give them feedback,” she said.

Allam said the number of applicants varies from year to year. She said the most people she has ever seen audition was in 2009, when there were about 25 applicants.

Seniors can sign up to audition on the bulletin board in the senior hallway.

The auditions take place in the PAC because the judges try to simulate the formal atmosphere. The students must use a microphone and a podium, but do not have to have their speech memorized.

Eric Min, 2006 graduate, gave the Commencement Address at graduation.

Min said he focused his speech on how students might be scared of the college world after graduation, but in reality, the world should be scared of the students and their potential.

Min said the hardest part for him was avoiding predictability.

“Any graduation speech is going to have some sort of degree of being cliché,” Min said. “But I really didn’t want to talk about the first day I when I walked into the halls of Blue Valley. I think that was the biggest part that gave me pressure.”

Min said many attendants of graduation, including parents and people he had never met before, came up to him after his Commencement Address to give him positive feedback over his speech.

“It was surreal doing it in front of thousands of people,” Min said. “But it was really exhilarating — being able to do that was a big honor.”

Min said he would recommend any senior to audition to give a speech because it was one of the most rewarding things he did in high school.

“Even if you aren’t selected, you’ll still be proud of what you wrote and did,” he said. “It’s a great way to think about your time in high school and leave your mark.”