This was officially my first Eminent night as a grade 10 as well as the last that I’ll be a part of. Although I will still observe this tradition from the side, it makes me feel quite sad and nostalgic knowing that this was the last time. It was a hectic night with one task after another, one success after another, but luckily, I leave the night with no regrets.
Starting off with my speech, before I took my first step onto that stage, I was trembling with nervousness (or maybe excitement as some would say). Actually, it wasn’t just me. It was the collective nerves of all the Afternoon tens, but even though all of us were nervous, there was a lot of support for each other. I truly felt that everyone wished for each other’s success. The speech itself was quite a blur. It felt like my mouth was just spitting out the words that I had ingrained into my memory after many days of practice and before I realized it, my feet were taking me off the stage, but that first feeling of relief and the smile on my face let me know that it was a success.
After facing the first great wall of eminent, I was finally allowed to relax a bit and observe the morning grade 10 speeches, which were just as breathtaking. To highlight some Morning speeches, I really enjoyed Azaly’s, James’, and Eric’s speeches. I thought they were very powerful, memorable, and well presented. The combination of the power in their words, their stage presence and the visuals of their costume really made them stand out. I didn’t get to see the afternoon speeches as an audience member, but I’m sure they were just as great!
This year, my learning center was quite the success despite the fact that I was in a narrow classroom. At first it was quite hard to attract people into my classroom, but as the night went on, I began to draw in some more people with my music. My learning center was just as it was described in my previous document of learning post in terms of layout and I only ended up using the front half of my classroom so that I could interact with my guests on a more personal level. I think that limiting the use of the classroom really helped to keep everything nice and compact. More than anything, I believe that my interactive activity was a great success! I had a demo violin where people could try out their skills while I could coach them the basics. I found that this really interested a lot of people about the violin and about Paganini. After this interactive activity, I was found that I was asked more detailed questions about my eminent person. This was discussed in the in-class evaluation as well, but I had a really hard time staying in character. From the very beginning people assumed that I wasn’t my person except for the few alumni and staff who came to visit and many guests phrased their questions in a way that was really hard for me as Paganini, not Alison to answer. I had to adapt to this new situation a bit and it may not have turned out exactly as I imagined, but the guests all seemed to enjoy my learning center and learn a lot about Paganini which was my ultimate goal.
I fulfilled my first goal by realizing that as I was researching, I began to want to know more purely out of curiosity and self-interest unlike last year when my interest slowly faded away as the project drew to a close. Especially after my interview I feel as though I finally made that connection between a school project and one of my greatest interests. My second goal is in action, yet not fully completed. I believe that only time will tell if this night was truly an unforgettable one. Lastly, throughout this project I ended up trying many new things, especially on the night of. This was my first time ever giving a speech in character to such a big audience; it was the first time I ever wore a wig, and it was also the first time I ever gave a fully memorized speech. This bundle of new experiences really made me step out of my comfort zone and break some of my common patterns. This was when I really benefited from the support of my peers who probably unknowingly helped me break out of my shell and open up to an audience like this when I might not have been able to before.
I may feel a sense of sadness, but I also finally feel freedom and relief. Even without me knowing, Eminent had quite a lot of weight on my shoulders. The pressure of performing a good speech, making a successful learning center, and staying in character for the whole night must have been a lot more than I imagined. At least I didn’t have any specific committee work this year, so thank you to the grade nines that made this night possible with all their committee work. Thank you to the teachers who supported my learning and kept me on track. Thank you to all the guests who came and listened to the speeches and visited our learning centers. Last, but not least, thank you to my peers who supported me throughout this whole project and helped make this night one of the best in my grade 10 year! I will definitely remember the fun times backstage, the shining lights during my speech, and the excitement of meeting guests at my learning center! What a night!
Please look forward to my last post!