Listening to my ‘senior voice’

Extended Greenwich Library hours can only mean one thing. Yes, it’s midterms time again and time to endure all the stress that they bring.

During the Martin Luther King Jr. Day long weekend, along with the following week, regular denizens of the library are supplanted by stressed out high school students seeking solitude for an optimal study space.

Over the past week, students from Greenwich Academy, Brunswick, and Greenwich High School have been toiling over textbooks so that they can ace the tests that count for (approximately) 20% of their semester grade. This week is characterized by deactivated Facebook accounts (or for those who lack the restraint, activations of the SelfControl application), piles of index cards and, of course, hordes of students descending upon Greenwich Library.

While studying and taking the actual tests is difficult for any high school student, I have found that as a senior it is particularly challenging to stay focused. The combination of the prospect of this round of midterms being the last high school exams I ever take paired with the anticipation for the second semester of my senior year is a constant distraction.

Something in particular about the second semester of my senior year has been extremely distracting and it’s coming from inside me. It’s my “senior voice.”

A few weeks ago, our class deans presented us with the “senior voice” sign-up sheet. During the second semester of the school year, these “senior voices” occupy much of the assembly time at our school and also account for much of the entertainment.

All senior girls have the opportunity to “voice” themselves in a speech given to the entire high school student body and faculty as well as some family members. These “senior voices” are meant to impart something meaningful that the senior learned in high school — whether or not it is school related — to the underclassmen.

I always assumed that I would have never learned enough by senior year to speak in front of an audience of more than 300 people. However, as I approach my last months in high school, I have begun to re-evaluate my stance.

As I have been studying over the past few days, my mind keeps wandering back to the idea of delivering a senior speech. I do not have a fear of public speaking, but it is daunting to contemplate speaking about a topic that is important enough to warrant such a special stage.

The more I think about giving a senior voice, the more I become aware of what an incredible (and rare) opportunity it is to be able to speak to my peers and teachers who I have gone to school with for the past four years about any topic.

I am very conflicted about whether or not to put my name on the “senior voice” sign up sheet that hangs in the senior lounge.

Maybe I will just sign up and use it as the impetus to create a “eureka” moment. Hopefully, it will be easier to find those words after I get out of the midterm haze that has fallen over all Greenwich adolescents in the past week.


Maggie Carangelo is a senior at Greenwich Academy.

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