Some things may have changed since you’ve been in high school; including the students giving graduation speeches.
Many local schools now hold auditions for select commencement speakers instead of using a valedictorian.
Senior Natalie Counce won over the judges with her speech this year at Fayetteville High School.
"All of my friends are asking me if I'm going to be so crazy nervous, and of course I'll be nervous, but just because I want to impress everyone and really make them realize, 'wow, Fayetteville High School really has given us so much.'" Counce said.
Out of 10 other seniors who auditioned, Counce was chosen to speak this year at Fayetteville High School’s commencement ceremony.
"She's extremely active,” Principal Steve Jacoby said. “She's well respected by both her peers and by her classroom teachers, and if she's involved in it, then it's a signature of success."
Along with being involved in several extra-curricular activities, academics are a top priority for Counce. She said her favorite class at FHS is the advanced television program, which has inspired her to ‘keep it local’ and consider broadcast journalism as a major in college.
"I will be going to the University of Arkansas, so just down the street,” Counce said. “I think my parents are happy about that, and I'm glad because I love Fayetteville and I can't imagine going too far off."
To her, Fayetteville means family. That’s something she’ll focus her graduation speech on this month. She also said she plans to talk about the hash tag students have been using all year on Twitter and Instagram, #FHSFamily.
“I think it’s really important to the student body because we’ve grown up in Fayetteville,” Counce said. “We only have one high school. We really are a family. We have that bond.”
She said her speech will also include how FHS helped shape them into the men and women they are today.
"It's given us education,” Counce said. “It's given us a way to educate other people. It's given us activities and taught us so much. We need to honor everything that we learned here, and we need to pursue fidelity and go out and serve in the community."
Graduation for Fayetteville High School is set for Thursday, May 15 at 7 p.m. at Bud Walton Arena.
Wake up with 5NEWS This Morning throughout the month of May as we spotlight other local seniors preparing their graduation speeches.