Juniors were challenged to write and present speeches on First Friday


Credit: Eki Uzamere

Sadie Friesen and Amanda Mooney practice presenting their speeches. The juniors crafted and presented speeches on topics of their choice on First Friday. Speech writing and presenting is a junior First Friday tradition.

By Ella Jones, Opinion Editor

As the class of 2020 entered their junior year, they carried on the First Friday tradition of speechwriting. Each and every junior writes a brief speech on a topic of their choosing and presents the finished product before their peers. The day featured anything from a guest speaker to students presenting things their classmates may never have known about them.


The juniors began their morning with an assembly in the PAC. To their surprise, the meeting featured a guest speaker: none other than the NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, Hackley class of 1998. Rapoport began the day with a speech divulging how he got to where he is now. “Hackley is an incredibly special place for me,” he said. “It’s not a high school to me; it’s a home, it is different,” he added, highlighting how Hackley gave him so much that carried through into his career. He gained from Hackley anything from sports to being a member of the Dial, leading to his current career.


While Rapoport may have to speak on live TV in front of millions daily instead of 100 sixteen year olds, his advice still held true. “Telling people something they didn’t know,” the idea of “what is compelling? What can people relate to?” is what makes a great story in his mind. He warned the juniors of how uncomfortable they may feel in finding the best parts of a story, but to take a deep breath, and tell it like it is.


Next, the head of the English and Performing Arts programs, Dr. Robinson and Ms. Candelora respectively, offered their own words of wisdom. The pair advised students on the basics of public speaking, from the grander idea of telling a story to capture your audience’s attention down to the specifics of speaking each and every word with power.


After listening to these teachers speak, Mr. Teacher took the stage, telling each and every student to get on their feet. His acting exercises reinforced in the students the importance of clearly articulating what they wanted to say without fear.


After the assembly, the students split off into groups to begin the speechwriting process. Each group was assigned a faculty advisor as the students worked for hours to write, edit, and rewrite their speeches. “It was an experience different from anything we’ve done before,” Annabel Ives said. “I think it will prepare us for the rest of the year when we have to do more public speaking and when it comes to college and we have to have interviews,” she added.


After the speeches were written, each student had to present them before their small group. From there, each group voted for their favorite speech, whether it was the content, presentation, or everything in between that made it so. Those students who were elected the favorites by their classmates went on to present their speeches in front of the entire junior class.


Speeches presented in front of the grade covered anything from not wanting to write a speech, to kindness, to random facts, to empathy and understanding. “It was really interesting to hear everyone else’s speeches and I learned a lot about people that I didn’t know,” Maggie Broaddus said. “I thought it was a nice way to support our classmates,” added Alex Cohen. The students exemplified not only bravery by presenting their thoughts in front of their classmates, but also maturity in their composure and the content of their speeches.