Best friends Nelson and Roberts take on commencement speech

Laura Nelson, senior, and Gabrielle Roberts, senior, have acted in musicals together, performed in duets for Forensics together, and have even written a play together. They have been friends since the age of three and have performed together since the age of eight. The two seniors will be leaving Hinsdale Central with one last great collaboration: they will write and deliver the commencement speech at the Class of 2014 graduation.

“We couldn’t imagine a better way to end high school than together up on that stage,” Roberts said.

In recent years, the Administration has shifted the responsibility of delivering the speech from the Valedictorian to an audition process, which Roberts and Nelson won. Delivering the commencement speech has been a dream of theirs since freshman year.

“The writing process so far has been challenging yet fun. In the past we’ve worked together and fed off each other’s energy when performing on stage, but writing a cohesive speech has been a completely different experience. We’ve worked hard to try and include both of our voices and personalities in the speech, and we hope it comes across,” Roberts said. Nelson and Roberts plan to focus on celebrating the achievements of the Class of 2014 in their speech.

Roberts credits the strength of their work to their ability to synchronize. “We certainly are not the most productive pair at times, but in the end we always pull through and create something that I couldn’t possibly have done alone. It’s synergy. Us working together helps produce something fun that I’m always proud of,” Roberts said.

Roberts and Nelson will be attending colleges across the country from one another. Nelson will attend New York University; Roberts will attend University of Southern California. Both intend to major in theatre. They plan to keep in contact via daily Skype calls, a stream of phone calls, and hopefully, study abroad in the future.

“We’re better together, so being 2,800 miles apart will definitely be hard. That’s why it’s so incredible we get to share this one last performance together, to end four years together here at Central with a bang.” Nelson said.

“However weird and hard being apart is going to be, I know at the end of the day Laura and I will always be best friends. Being so far apart will just allow us to explore and try new things on our own, and then immediately call and tell each other about them,” Roberts said.

Roberts and Nelson’s collaborations have served to strengthen their friendship more than anything. “We’ve learned to trust each other and depend each other. Being so close always helps us when we perform because we are in sync and really connected,” Nelson said.

“Nothing is better than working with your best friend because you know each other’s thought process so well. It’s easy to brainstorm and add onto each other’s ideas. Some of my best memories are just from Laura and me goofing off while trying to work on a piece together,” Roberts said.

Nelson and Roberts look over their high school work fondly, but their favorite collaborations have been their performances in the Beauty and the Beast musical and their humorous duet for forensics.

“My favorite part of working together has been knowing that I can be completely free with my ideas, and there is absolutely no judgment. Just being able to spout out whatever idea comes to mind is an amazing creative process that is hard to come by. It’s also great because we are 100% honest with each other. We always bluntly tell the other when our ideas suck, and it’s never embarrassing or weird…it’s actually just hilarious,” Roberts said.