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June 15, 2017
Pacing through the library, senior Kaitlyn Petty recites her notecards over and over again. She becomes consumed with anxiety as she prepares for the presentation that could make or break her chances at graduating: senior portfolio.
Petty isn’t the only senior to be overcome with the stress of senior portfolio. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, 73 percent of the population is affected by glossophobia, or speaking anxiety. This anxiety, along with the challenging topic of reflecting on all four years of high school, makes senior portfolio a challenging presentation for many students.
“The hardest part for me was getting the courage to speak in front of my class about my experiences,” Petty admitted. “Such experiences were my family members dying and having to be the parent in the house. I was embarrassed about it and scared the other students would judge me.”
However, Petty was able to overcome her fears.
“After presenting it, I got a lot of compliments on it, and realized everything was in my head,” she said. “After confronting that, and working away from that, senior portfolio got a lot easier for me.”
Petty conquering her fears also impressed her senior portfolio panel, granting her the senior portfolio scholarship.
“I’ve judged over 400 portfolios in my tenure, so I know grace in presence when I see it. I saw it in Kaitlyn. She performed with elegance and determination,” Elizabeth Cyr, English department chair said of her final presentation.