Seniors elect faculty speaker for Senior Ceremony for first time

Sofia Heller

Science teacher Nate Cardin will speak at Senior Ceremony Sept. 16 as part of a new tradition in which the graduating class selects their closing speaker.

President Rick Commons traditionally gave  the closing remarks to the senior class at Senior Ceremony. However, Commons decided to have Chaplain Father J. Young speak in place of himself at last year’s annual senior ceremony in honor of Young’s  retirement, Director of Student Affairs Jordan Church said.

“It just came together because the first time [Commons didn’t speak] was last year with Father Young, who happened to be someone that connected well with students, and it was also his last year on campus,” Church said. “It fell together nicely and in my opinion, went really well. I think seniors getting a chance to say, ‘Hey, who is someone on campus that I would love to hear speak more broadly and give advice, rather than being so constrained with a classroom subject?’ is great.”

Prefect Council sent an email to the senior class Aug. 14 that included an explanation of the new opportunity and a survey for students to nominate a faculty member.

Head Prefect Ryan Stanford ’19 is excited about the new tradition and thinks it is a special opportunity for the senior class, she said.

“We have things like the prefects speaking and the salutatorians, but this is really the only time we get to pick an adult to represent our class,” Stanford said. “I think it’s a really nice way to show appreciation for faculty members that have really influenced us and have had positive impacts on our lives.”

Cardin agrees that the seniors’ new ability to nominate a speaker gives the graduating class an opportunity to hear from teachers they appreciate, he said. He also believes it will result in unique and memorable closing speeches, he said.

“I think [the new tradition] is great because then you get all different types of flavors each year and hear what people want to give as their advice and guiding words for that year,” Cardin said.

As the first teacher to be nominated to speak in this new tradition, Cardin said he is honored and hopes to make the senior class proud.

“It is really cool and slightly intimidating because I feel like every senior wants their senior year to be amazing,” Cardin said. “I know that Senior Ceremony is a super important step along that path, so having to speak in front of you all and getting to do that is [intimidating].”

Although she never had him as a teacher, Stanford said she has become close to Cardin through extracurriculars and was not surprised that the senior class nominated him to speak.

“I’ve always found [Cardin] to be such an incredible person,” Stanford said. “He really has a lot of interesting insights in a lot of areas. I know that whatever speech he gives is going to be incredibly profound. I think he has a lot of important messages to leave with all of us.”