Seniors at Boys’ Latin give speeches as a sort of last opportunity to share a message with the other students and faculty in the community. Senior speeches have traditionally taken place in the Gelston Athletic Center (often abbreviated GAC). Starting in September 2016, the Class of 2017 was the first to be subject to the change in location from the GAC to the year-old Student Commons.
The Class of 2017 had initially a very mixed response—some people, like senior Evan Gaines, expressed ardent outrage over this spontaneous change—while others such as Josiah Bedford were willing to give the Student Commons a try. Seniors Desmond Banks and Victor Dimukeje seemed to have an indifferent attitude.
Boys’ Latin English teacher Beau Dagenais stated that the senior speeches in the Commons would be “a good change and a great change of environment.”
The very different attitudes towards the senior speeches showed with the first speech, and other seniors would continue to go on to give phenomenal speeches.
After a few weeks of senior speeches were conducted, students were asked their opinions on the speeches being given in the Commons as opposed to the GAC. The responses received were much more light than expected. “I like the change because I am able to hear much more and stay focused,” said Desmond Banks, who at first seemed indifferent to the change.
Seniors who have also given their speeches have also expressed how they feel about the change in location.
“In my opinion, it is fine. I don’t see a difference,” Evan Ellwanger said, who recently delivered his senior speech. When asked about the environment of the Student Commons he said that “it is actually better because it does not feel like all eyes are looking at me like in the GAC but you still feel nervous and emotional about the speech.”
Junior Carrington Scott also expressed his happiness with the change of location: “I like it because it doesn’t interfere with the activities at the end of the day and it is a much better spot than the GAC.” He also mentioned how it is more comfortable and people could listen more.
The change in location also led to the questions whether or not people would listen to the speeches. Carrington Scott said it doesn’t make a difference because he listens anyway.
“I think it’s great because people will pay more attention,” Boys’ Latin varsity football coach Richie Schell stated who expressed his admiration towards the change. When asked if seniors should have a say in where their speeches take place he responded with, “seniors should have a say in where their speeches take place but it’s always nice to have a change.”
“Why wouldn’t seniors want it in the Commons? It’s a beautiful new building and it happens earlier in the day. Some traditions are made to be changed,” Coach Schell went on to say.
It seems that overall, the school as a whole has taken the location change positively and accepted it for what it is.