Senior Send Off

These three seniors plan the perfect Class of ’21 farewell


Some seniors will walk briskly into the Family Area to avoid the possibility of being late while others will scramble to find their seat among the hundreds of fold-out chairs; all while six family members from every student will watch as they display their nervous tendencies before their big moment. Some will trip over thin air while walking across the stage while others will strut with confidence as their families are heard roaring their congratulations across the entire arena. 

Regardless of what some seniors do and some don’t, all seniors will turn their tassels from left to right as Dr. Arnel congratulates the Class of 2021. And as the caps soar across the air, anticipation for what comes next will be found growing in student’s minds. Three seniors will stress the importance of remembering what the past four years have contributed to each and every one of us through their graduation speeches. 

Lauren Guth is one of these seniors who will be giving this year’s greeting speech at graduation. 

Senior Lauren Guth

“It’s always been something I’ve thought about possibly doing as a senior, and this year it was my turn for the opportunity,” Guth said. “Over the last four years I’ve really worked to branch out and try things outside my comfort zone, so I didn’t want to regret not giving it a shot.”

In her opening speech, Guth plans to showcase how diverse and different this years’ graduating class is while also stating how, regardless of where seniors go, they all come from the same Francis Howell Central roots. 

“I talk about how everyone had extremely different high school experiences, and how we’ll all go on to do even more unique things,” Guth said. “The only time we’re really all in the exact same place is during graduation, and I think that’s pretty cool on multiple levels.”

After Guth delivers her opening two-minute speech, senior Jackson Ford will give the second speech as the main speaker. Different from the other two speeches, his will consists of four minutes in which he plans to address his peers on a deeper level. 

Senior Jackson Ford

“I saw this as my chance to see [my] potential [as an orator] as well as talk to my class on a motivational level,” Ford said. 

In his speech, he plans to not only reflect on the hardships the Class of 2021 has faced (especially over the last year), but also to inspire students to do as we have always done: persevere.

“It shows the potential we have for the future,” Ford said when asked about his speech. “We have yet to reach the peak of our lives… it is important to show that we have accomplished so much and [that] we have the ability to accomplish so much more.”

And last but certainly not least, senior Reed Easterling will give this year’s closing speech as a final send off to the graduating Class of 2021. Easterling took a lot of fine tuning to make a speech he felt would encompass everything he needed to say. 

“I had a document where I basically just wrote down my thoughts about what I wanted to say,” Easterling said. “I then sifted through those until I found what my message would be, and built around that.”

His message turned out to be what he felt every individual at graduation could do to create change in our society and how we can work collectively to make that change.

Senior Reed Easterling

“My speech basically illustrates that there are big issues in the world and we need to fix them, but that this class has the tools to do it,” Easterling said. 

The journey to making a memorable and quality graduation speech is not one that these three individuals took at ease. Several challenges were faced along the way. For Guth, that challenge was originality.

“The hardest part for me personally was trying to keep it as non-cliche as possible,” Guth said. “I didn’t want to sound like every other graduation speech ever written. I finally realized that almost any graduation-related idea I could think of had probably been done in some form or another, so I just decided to write about what I wanted.”

On the other hand, Ford struggled with making a speech that everyone could relate to.

“Finding a way to connect with everyone in our class [wasn’t easy],” Ford said. “It was difficult trying to capture the attention of such an inspiring group of individuals.”

What did Easterling want most? Something memorable.

“[The biggest challenge was] figuring out how to end,” Easterling said in reference to his speech. “It needed to be something that would be memorable, but it needed to not end out of nowhere.”

These challenges weren’t just faced, they were conquered; all with hopes to deliver memorable speeches that every senior can carry with them as they navigate the world outside of the classroom. Although that journey might have hiccups along the way, these seniors have confidence that everyone will fulfill their own individual purposes. Guth shares some words of advice as to how.

“I encourage others to branch out and expand their comfort zone because I’ve spent the last four years doing exactly that and have experienced the rewards. I’ve learned a completely new sport, conquered a deep fear of public speaking, and made friends along the way I may never have met otherwise,” Guth said.

Ford urges seniors to remember their pasts as they create their future.

“I want them to remember the challenges they faced through this year and their amazing ability to adapt to that new way of life. I want them to remember the strong bonds they formed with their fellow classmates and remember how they found their niche. I want them to remember the relief they feel graduating this year but also the excitement for what life has to offer,” Ford said.

And for Easterling, his last message may be short but speaks to what he believes his peers can do.

“They can and will make a difference.”