Upper School

Upper School Students Showcase Communications Skills with New Senior Speeches Tradition

By Grace DeSeta, Assistant Director of Communications and Marketing
This article appeared in the Spring 2017 issue of the Tower Hill Bulletin

The Upper School started a new tradition this year with the addition of Senior Speeches. With the support of the Upper School faculty and Head of School Bessie Speers, these individual speeches about varying topics from personal growth, life experiences, tragedies, empowerment and more are now an expectation for all seniors. 
 
“Our Tower Hill seniors, who are truly the leadership class of the school, have important voices and perspectives to share,” Speers said. “Their thoughts, ideas and stories are important, and it is often through listening to a senior speech that a younger student will recognize that they are not alone, that perseverance, respect and kindness are noble attributes, and that the Tower Hill community stands ready to support them.” 
 
The speeches happen every Tuesday and Wednesday during morning assembly, with one member of the senior class presenting a speech on a personally meaningful topic. The subjects have ranged from stories of personal growth to things students have learned or invented. 
 
“We have been looking for ways to showcase our seniors, as Tower Hill prides itself on developing excellent written and verbal communication skills in our students,” Dean of Students Megan Cover said. “We wanted to give each senior a chance to share his or her voice and to get up in front of the Upper School student body and tell the students something about themselves.” 
 
Student speeches are filmed and uploaded to the Student Government Association (SGA) YouTube channel to share with the broader community.
 
“We have been really impressed with what kids have done, and hopefully they will remember it as a touch point of their experience in the Upper School at Tower Hill,” Cover said.

Student Perspectives
 
What have you learned from this experience?
 
“That as long as you speak up, you will always be heard.”
 
“I’ve learned its OK to share you passions or struggles with people from Tower Hill without fear of being judged—just go for it.”
 
What have been some of your more
notable feelings or reactions as a speaker or audience member so far? 
 
“I have been pleasantly surprised by the willingness of my classmates to speak about such personal topics. The senior speeches have brought us closer as a class, as we have learned so much about each other through the creation of these speeches. It takes a huge amount of confidence to stand up in front of the entire Upper School and speak on such an intimate level, and I applaud my classmates for doing so.”
 
“I’m impressed that all the speakers have taken this so seriously and have created some genuinely amazing speeches. It takes a lot of bravery to speak about oneself like that in front of such a large audience.”
 
What you would suggest to underclassman when preparing their speeches in the future?
 
“I would recommend that you really put time and effort into how you want to express yourself to the student body. Your speech is one of the greatest opportunities to express a personal opinion or share an experience that has impacted you, for better or for worse. Keep your speech real and authentic, and you will receive a great response.”
 
“Really think about a message or something you want to convey to your audience.  Make it personal to you.”
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