Running for Head Girl had seemed like a better idea days ago. Now, with her speech only a few short minutes away, Thamina Barton was having trouble even just swallowing her fear. How was she supposed to go up there and talk?
It wasn't that the speech wasn't true. Thamina intended to say what she meant; after all, what else was there to do? It was just the thought of giving it that was destroying her. She told herself there was nothing to lose, but of course there was: whatever little dignity she might manage to have. How badly would Firuz jeer her for a bad speech? Still, she'd committed, and now she had to follow through. Hopefully this would be quick. Maybe it would even work.
Thank goodness she had her notes. Thamina looked down at the worry-created paper in her hands, where she'd written out the speech and how she had to deliver it. Surely she had time for one more read-through...
(Remember: Stand up nice and straight at the podium! Smile, but not too wide. Don't loom!!)
Hello, everyone. It's very nice to see so many people here and excited about the election. Many of us are new to the school, but it's still important that we get out, vote, and lead as best we can. My name is Thamina Barton, and I'd like to be the Head Girl for House Terra.
(Make sure you're breathing evenly! Slow and steady!)
Everyone here has their own past and their own story, but when I look at the students here, I see people who have worked hard to get where they are. No matter what your goal is, you know that achieving it is going to take more than talent, and that's why you're here. I believe it's very important for everyone here to work hard, but I also believe it's important for us all to have an environment where our hard work can pay off. In our Houses, where we live, that means somewhere we're all free to rest, learn, and grow -- as students, as people, and as whatever we hope to become. As Head Girl, my first priority would be to make House Terra that kind of home for us.
(That's a good paragraph! Practice it, and make sure you can say it cleanly. Look up at people. Don't read your notes any more than you have to!)
Before I came to Yarelts, I helped out at my family's inn. When I was old enough to start doing chores, one of the first things my grandmother told me was that the best innkeepers make their presence known as little as they can. There's always something to do, but you can't be underfoot; you have busy, tired people to keep comfortable, and you need to take care of them before they even have to ask. I've done my best to work that way at home, and I'd like to do it as Head Girl as well. I want to take care of House Terra's problems before they're even problems, before they have a chance to disrupt our studies and our lives. I'll focus my full attention and efforts onto making our house a comfortable place to live and a united community of friends.
I'll be honest: I'm not a very special person. I don't have the amazing powers, special weapons, or exceptional stories of most of you...
(Pause; make more eye contact! Lots of eye contact on this. DON'T READ THIS PAPER NOW! YOU SHOULD KNOW WHAT YOU'RE DOING!)
But I don't think you have to be special to be strong. House Terra is the house of strength, and every one of us is strong in our own way. My strength isn't just in my body -- it's in my patience, and how I pay attention, and how I listen and respond, and how hard I can work. If you elect me Head Girl, I'll work hard for you and for all of us, to make House Terra as great as we all know it can be. That's my promise to you.
(This is a good place to stop, but maybe do this, if they're listening still and you think they might think it's funny, try it!)
I have one last thing to say, and it's about the big issue of this election... food. I don't really bake, aside from bread, but I'm good with stew! If elected Head Girl, my first act will be to throw a party for the house with as much stew and bread as we can eat. Bring cookies and muffins if you like for after the meal!
Thank you, everyone, for your time and attention. Let's go out there and vote!
She wasn't sure about the part about the stew. She knew she could do it, but did she want to remind people about the cookies and muffins? Those were mostly for the other houses, though... that Pichu had candy, and that was all. You couldn't live on candy, but you could live on stew. That was probably some kind of metaphor.
Thamina read over her notes once more, just to be sure. She couldn't afford to look nervous and lose her place at a time like this. This was risky -- it was very risky -- but she told herself that she could do it. If nothing else, it would mean something to try.
The podium was clear. One final glance at the paper cleared her nerves, and Thamina stepped onto the stage. She set her paper on the podium, but she knew she wouldn't need it now.