The Last Time to be a Bear


Anna Lee, Writer

On Friday June 2, at Mount St. Mary’s College, Oakdale’s Senior Class of 2017 will stand together for the last time at graduation. Out of 304 graduating students, two chosen seniors will speak for their class in front of friends, families, and classmates. Brian Herman and Carter Gipson had to tackle a lot in order to be on stage at graduation.


Over the years there have been two student speakers, and the contestants knew this ahead of time.  Ten students submitted and performed their speeches. They had to write and submit their speech by April 13. Everyone that submitted one had to perform it in front of Ms. Tara Ketteringham, Ms. Lori Seaton, Dr. Gwen Dorsey and Mr. Jessen Bishard, all office and guidance staff at Oakdale.


Brian Herman took his last chance to speak as a Bear to convey thoughts about school and how far everyone has come. He is preparing for his speech by practicing in the auditorium. Before sending his written copy in for submission, he had teachers review it and give suggestions on how to make it superior.


An inspiration that helped Herman write his speech is the song, “How Far We’ll Come” by Matchbox Twenty.  He explains, “The song is about growth and change through time.” He relates that song to graduation and how much change happens from freshman to senior year.


He also mentioned, “My friends and I were talking about how much we changed from freshman year and that was when we were sophomores.” Herman has put a lot of thought in his speech and preparing for it.


Carter Gipson has made many memories at Oakdale, and saw speaking at graduation as a wonderful opportunity to speak about the past four years at this school. He started his speech by providing a reflection on daily life activities over the years that most students went through. It was an opportunity to “share meaningful thoughts,” Gipson said.


Gipson has been practicing his speech with Mr. Mike Copen, Drama instructor, for a while. He has not spoken to such an enormous crowd before; however, he has given many speeches so he’s fairly confident he will “nail it.”


Brian and Carter have both made long-lasting memories throughout high school. The two students want to make their speeches something powerful that everyone can take advice from. They will share their speeches to celebrate their last times as a Bear.