Alexandra Koullick

Carter Puckett delivers her senior speech from home rather than from the podium in the Juliet Nelson Auditorium.

Online Schooling Brings Change to Long-standing Speech Tradition

Senior speeches take new form online as community is unable to congregate in the building

In the midst of a transition into uncharted territory, senior speeches have still found a way to create a sense of community, thrive, and stay beneficial to audience members. At first glance, changing from in-person to online speeches seemed saddening for many seniors. However, Sandy Berkowitz and the remaining seniors’ speeches proceed with less technical difficulties, and the opportunity for a wider range of audience members from the whole Blake community. 

Senior Joe Gustaferro ‘20–one of the first to present his speech during the virtual assembly–had envisioned giving his speech in the Juliet Nelson Auditorium (JNA) all of high school. “[He] never envisioned giving [his] senior speech this way.” Gustaferro states, “We’ve all seen a lot of technical difficulties in assemblies before, and someone in my advisory said that she thought it was one of the fewest assemblies with the fewest technical difficulties ever. I didn’t see any issues with it.” With the shift to online learning, senior speeches are having little to no difficulties, shifting away from the ever-present awkwardness of speech delivery. 

The scariest part of it for senior Carter Puckett ‘20 was looking down at the bar below, reading about 560 people on the zoom call. In Puckett’s opinion, the experience for her was not the same as giving it in the JNA, but “one of [her] teachers sent [her] an email afterwards saying somehow being in the privacy of my own room it made it more intimate and more powerful.” Puckett states, “I thought that was a cool way of putting it because I did think it added something, a little more special to it than maybe it would’ve been [with] me standing at the podium.” 

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