Seniors speak at graduation ceremony

Isaac Pasley

Photo by Muhammad Al-Rawi
For seniors, the long road toward graduation has nearly come to an end, and that means a succession of special events for seniors to signal the end of their journey.
From prom to the picnic, seniors’ last week, May 12-19, at RBHS is seemingly a procession of one event after another. This final fling culminates in the commencement ceremony, which will take place May 19 at Mizzou Arena.
Besides graduating seniors receiving their diplomas, commencement tacks on a couple of special events as well, one of which is students giving a speech in front of the crowd. This year, seniors Alex Burnam and Carmen Boessen will be speaking at the commencement ceremony. According to student activities director David Bones, Burnam and Boessen were selected out of a group of about 12 seniors who signed up to deliver the speech.
“The student council senior officers, they get together and brainstorm a list of folks to be on the committee [that selects the speakers],” Bones said. “They try hard to make it a cross-section representative group from the senior class. People who are interested in speaking at graduation, they audition, present their speeches to a group, and that group talks it through and decides who will be speaking at graduation.”
Bones said the senior officers chose the students whose speeches best embodied the values, ideals and traditions of RBHS.
“There were about 25 seniors on the group who listened to all the speeches,” Bones said. “They had thoughtful conversations about whom they thought would best represent the class.”
Boessen said she plans to talk about what the things she learned at RBHS will mean for her future. Boessen decided to speak at the graduation ceremony largely because of her position as the president of the student body.
“I figured as student body president, I have a really good idea of what’s going on at Rock Bridge,” Boessen said. “I love Rock Bridge, and I thought it would be a great opportunity for me to say how much Rock Bridge High School has done for me.”
As student president, Boessen has spoken in front of a big crowd several times before. However, she said she still felt somewhat nervous going onto the big stage.
“I don’t feel nervous yet,” Boessen said. “[However], as graduation day rolls around and I’m sitting up there waiting for my turn, I’m going to be very nervous.”
Despite these feelings, however, Boessen continues to maintain a positive attitude and believes she’ll do well when the big day finally arrives.
“The help that [Hannah] Overfelt and [Mary Margaret] Coffield are giving me [is] really helping me with my confidence. I know my stuff, and I just have to have confidence in myself,” Boessen said. “I enjoy presenting, and I think it’s going to be fun. It’s a great opportunity to test myself and I’m excited.”
Many seniors, such as Nicole Montgomery, are looking forward to hearing their fellow students speak at graduation, albeit with a tinge of sadness.
“It’s exciting, but it’s also sad, because we’re leaving everybody,” Montgomery said. [For everyone, I have] “good wishes. It’s pretty exciting.”
By Isaac Pasley