Commencement speaker brings humor

Julia Karsteter
Contributing Writer

Speaker Mitchell Paulson auditions before his peers on April 5. Photo by Lee Drake
Speaker Mitchell Paulson auditions before his peers on April 5. Photo by Lee Drake

On graduation day, most seniors prepare to walk up and get diplomas and head off into the world. Mitchell Paulson will do the same, but he has something else to prepare for: the commencement speech.

For Paulson, writing the speech wasn’t easy, at first. However, as for most writers the rest of it just flowed naturally when he got the groove of it.

“The first day that we were notified that I was one of the nominees, I spent two hours trying to write the speech. I ended up getting my first two jokes down, and that was it. For the next three weeks, I spent countless hours trying to conjure up the majority of my speech, but every time I tried, I’d just delete it all. Finally, a couple of nights before I gave my speech, I just had a spark and went with it,” Paulson said.

With the month the nominees received to write their speeches, Paulson took the entire 29 days to ensure it came out just right, using this time to practice jokes on friends, like senior Delaney Whelan.

“Considering how many times Mitchell has recited his speech to me, I think he’ll do awesome. Everyone likes him so he’s a good person to represent our school,” Whelan said.

Paulson even once received a writing kickstart from his mom.

“As I was struggling one night to find any inspiration to write, my mom told me to keep persevering and to not give up that night, and that in turn inspired me to talk about perseverance in my speech. So thank you, Mom,” Paulson said.

While other nominees set out to speak to people’s hearts with their speech, Paulson chose to speak to their funny bones.

“I realized that although a long, serious speech could be great, but I knew that a short and funny speech could also be great, so I decided to do the latter. My personality also fits well with the comical speech, so that’s another reason why I chose to do it that way,” Paulson said.

While most young speakers feel more worried about giving the speech than actually writing it, Paulson seems confident that he’ll do well.

“I really didn’t feel any nerves when I was practicing my speech. I felt confident in the words I wrote and the voice I projected them in, but as soon as I stepped behind that podium on senior day, I was anxious. Yes, I am a little nervous to speak at graduation. However, by the time graduation rolls around, I should be feeling great,” Paulson said.

With all this in mind, Mitchell Paulson seems likely to give a very memorable and touching speech that’ll be sure to stay in the minds of seniors long after graduation, and one that’ll definitely, with a good laugh, ease the nerves of many seniors who still worry about tripping over their gowns on the walk across the stage.

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