Ever since he was 9 years old, Geoffrey McAdams has dreamed of becoming a Navy SEAL.
Now, two months before he leaves for boot camp at the Great Lakes Naval Base in Chicago, he wants to share with his classmates why they should hold onto their dreams like he did.
“Basically to follow your dreams and don’t stray from the path that you’ve set yourself to,” McAdams said he will tell his classmates at commencement on Friday night. “It’s just how I was raised, really.”
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“Don’t let anybody, whether it be a relationship or anything that comes in front of you, stop what you’ve always dreamed of becoming.”
McAdams was chosen as one of the student speakers at this year’s Franklin Community High School graduation ceremony.
This marks the sixth year where neither a valedictorian nor salutatorian are recognized. Students who want to speak at graduation are asked to audition in front of teachers and administrators.
Graduating students recognized for academic achievement earn Summa Cum Laude (highest academic recognition), Magna Cum Laude (second-highest) and Cum Laude (third-highest) honors.
Franklin Community Schools made the switch to this format in 2011 as a way of honoring more students for academic excellence, according to principal Leah Wooldridge.
Students chosen to speak are each given a maximum of three minutes to share a message, and each of the speeches has its own theme.
Madeline Daily and Maggie Davenport, co-presidents of the student council, plan to address the audience together with their speech “Yesterday, You Said Tomorrow.”
“Madeline is my best friend, so it’s a good partner to have in this speech,” Davenport said. “Our speech kind of goes through the memories of our life. Not just high school. It goes from the first day of elementary school all the way up until today.”
Zosia Piotrowski, who is in the top 5 percent of her class with a 4.26 grade-point average, used to hope she could one day address her class as valedictorian.
She wants to share with her classmates the importance of always maximizing your capabilities.
“It’s about how people traversed high school in different ways, and how they’ll go about how they’ll continue in life. If they’ll try hard or if they’ll take the slacker route,” Piotrowski said. “If they’ll really work up to their full potential.”
“I chose that because I feel a lot of people in high school slide by with minimal effort. I want to give people a little wake-up call. That there’s a choice that they can switch from now.”
Anna Bratton wants to take a moment in her speech to help her classmates see all that they learned in high school.
“The central theme of my speech is, ‘When Are We Going to Use This?’ Every year in some class you have some kid who asks that. Like what’s the point of learning this?” said Bratton, who will major in sociology at Valparaiso University. “It’s about all the different things we learn about in high school.”
“Learn about other people. Learn about ourselves. It’s a small step toward figuring out what you want to do and who you want to be.”
The opportunity to be one of the final voices heard by her fellow seniors is too good of an opportunity to pass up, Daily said.
“I do enjoy speaking in front of other people, but I think this will be a little bittersweet,” Daily said. “But I do think it’s time for a lot of us to move on to a new chapter.”
Name: Zosia Piotrowski
Parents: Edward Piotrowski and Kendra Spruill
College: Indiana University
Career goal: Own a business
Name: Anna Bratton
Parents: Marshall and Robin Bratton
College: Valparaiso University
Career goal: Sociology
Name: Geoffrey McAdams
Parents: Phil and Beth Lake
College: United States Naval Academy
Career goal: Navy SEAL
Name: Maggie Davenport
Parents: Doug Davenport and Cheryl Moran
College: Indiana State University
Career goal: Health care administration
Parents: Tony and Heather Daily
College: Indiana University
Career goal: Elementary school teacher
Franklin Community High School Commencement
When: 7 p.m. Friday
Where: Franklin Community High School, 2600 Cumberland Drive