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The Batavia Spectator

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By Natalie Delcorps

Seniors are itching for Wed., May 20, graduation date at Northern Illinois University’s Convocation Center at 7 p.m. During the ceremony there will be six student speakers and four faculty speakers. Students who are tried out for speeches on April 7 chose from six speech formats: welcome, military, academic, journey, quote and closing. The faculty speakers include District Superintendent Dr. Lisa Hitchens, teacher and coach Dennis Piron, and Batavia High School principal Dr. JoAnne Smith.

“The main premise I will talk about is the great pride and respect I have for these seniors,” said Piron, who was selected as the teacher to speak for graduation. “A lot of them I have known from preschool or even before. I’ve coached them in sports, been to their plays, dances, since they were little. My words are going to come more from a proud Batavian and parent excited to hear about what you guys [students] are going to do out in the world. I’ve known them so much of these kids better than any other class, and it’s a huge honor. I can’t express how much it means to me.”

Piron is a teacher at BHS, coach for the track and football team, and father of senior Peyton Piron.

“I believe no person knows their graduating class and the modern struggles of the everyday high schooler better than a classmate,” said senior Ally O’Donnell, who tried out for the academic and journey speech and is heading to Northwestern in the fall. “Even if there are students who have moved in recent years, there are several universal struggles common to most high schoolers, and those are the universal ideas that I am aiming to capture in my speeches.”

Amongst O’Donnell, more than 15 other seniors tried out for a chance to speak at graduation. The auditions were held Tues., April 7th, when a board of judges listened to the auditionees. The judges were counselor Alton Rollerson, Vice Principal Lenny DePasquale, and librarian Daniel Russo, along with a couple of other student helpers.

“I’ve always loved graduation. It’s always a nice night,” Smith said. “It’s the culmination of hard work. The night has a great vibe and students are so excited.”

Smith plans on writing her own speech for the event, and is looking forward to making it personal to the Class of 2015.

“I am excited for the stepping stone,” said O’Donnell. “For me, I am very excited to be an adult and have those responsibilities. To me, graduation is the most significant stepping stone in any person’s life. It is the final step from the bridge that connects adulthood and childhood. We, as high schoolers, have been crossing that bridge for four years. It’s time to continue our journey.”

Military Address:  Matt Cuartero

Welcome:  Jake Birkhaug

Quote:  Molly Frederick

Journey:  Joe DiCola

Academic:  Hallie Gaitsch

Closing:  Noah Frazier

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