Graduation speakers ready to bid class of 2021 farewell

Graduation+starts+at+7+p.m.+May+25+in+Allen+Fieldhouse.

Staff

Graduation starts at 7 p.m. May 25 in Allen Fieldhouse.

By Tessa Collar, Staff Writer

Speaking at graduation gives seniors a chance to wrap up the memories and emotions of the past four years.

Every year, Lawrence High seniors are given the opportunity to audition to deliver a speech at their graduation ceremony. This year’s speakers will be Trinity Shorter, Jelani Ragins and Corban Oberzan. 

Students interested in speaking delivered their speeches to the selection committee to be considered. Associate Principal Mark Preut, a member of the committee, said strong speeches connect common student experiences and represent the senior class. 

“I look for a speech that provides insight on what LHS has meant to the student and gives voice to their classmates,” Preut said. “The goal is for the speaker to share a message that can resonate with seniors and help describe their experiences and hopes for the future.” 

This connection of different parts of Lawrence High was present for Shorter while writing her speech. 

“My inspirations were LHS, the staff and the students,” Shorter said. “ The most rewarding part of it all is just being able to reminisce.”

I knew I had a lot left to say to them and I didn’t know when I would have the opportunity to get to speak to them all together again. I think graduation would be the perfect time for me to tell them how proud I am of us.”

— Trinity Shorter

Shorter decided to try out to speak because of the close bonds she formed with her classmates. 

“[The senior class has] been through a lot together, and we are a family,” Shorter said. “I knew I had a lot left to say to them, and I didn’t know when I would have the opportunity to get to speak to them all together again. I think graduation would be the perfect time for me to tell them how proud I am of us.” 

For Oberzan, speaking at graduation means an opportunity to wrap up his high school experience. 

“I have been working on not letting opportunities pass without at least trying my best to accomplish them,” Oberzan said. “It is kind of my chance to end high school by having the unique opportunity to address everyone at the same time.”

In his speech, Oberzan discusses stand-out memories of high school and shares some encouragement for his peers. He found it challenging to decide what was most important to include while writing his speech. 

“One of the hardest parts was cutting out what I didn’t have time to say or not addressing everything I wanted to,” Oberzan said. 

Ragins said his primary goal when writing his speech was, “trying to relate to all my peers while also bringing a message.” 

Only three students from this year’s senior class will speak at graduation, and Ragins feels the distinction of this opportunity. 

“It’s a honor to be able to speak in front of my whole class,” he said. “ I wanted [to do] something that wasn’t the norm and have a little fun.” 

Graduating high school brings a lot of emotions to the surface. For Shorter, speaking to her peers before departing Lawrence High adds another layer to this. 

“I’m nervous but excited but scared and a whole bunch of other things,” she said. “Every emotion possible to feel, I’m feeling it.”