Gainesville senior Tucker Craft will miss many facets of high school, but he appreciates everything he was able to experience.
Craft competed in the One-Act Play and on the debate team and he said it has been hard to process the past two months.
“It was difficult to fully wrap my mind around not having a full senior year and it wasn’t until recently that I’ve fully accepted that I’m not going back to school,” Craft said. “A lot of the people I’ve talked to feel the same about their senior year. It’s like the last chapter of the book was torn out and there were blank pages there and you move on to the next chapter.”
Craft and his fellow cast members were holding out hope that they would get a chance to return to the stage.
“We were going to have our next One-Act Play the Wednesday after spring break and we were going to have the UIL academics meet that Saturday,” Craft said. “When that got pushed back, I thought we got more time to rehearse and practice and then we got to the end of March and that’s when I realized I was going to have to let go of these things because they’re probably not going to happen.”
The cast had high expectations after last season, according to Craft.
“The last year we made it to region or the fourth round of contest and we were really excited this year because it felt right and that this is the year we’re going to get to state,” Craft said. “We all felt confident that we could get through region and to state. We came out of district ready to get to work and get to state. We had two rehearsals after district and stuff just kept getting postponed until eventually it was canceled.”
Craft thinks as time passes, looking back on his senior year will be a sore spot. He said he would have done more his junior year.
”A lot of my junior year, I thought well I have my senior year,” Craft said. “I’ll study hard and do it my senior year and what do you know, I can’t. I do regret it a little bit.”
Planning to major in political science and pre-law, Craft is headed to Trinity University in San Antonio. Choosing Trinity over the University of Texas, Craft said the connection he felt with his professors during his visit was the deciding factor.
“I talked to a few when I was doing the application process,” Craft said. “It felt like they got me and their student to faculty ratio is really small. It feels like the faculty are there to help.”
Craft earned the distinguished accomplishment of salutatorian this year with a 4.0 GPA.
Craft credited his theatre director Morgan Sims for her direction and inspiration for his passion for speech and debate.
“I was in one of her theater arts class and she said I think you should do speech and debate,” Craft said. “It was like a passion that I found. She really pointed me in the right direction that really fits me. I’ve been told in the past that I’m an argumentative person, but I like to think I’ve got a lot of opinions and what I like about speech and debate is you’re able to prepare.”
Craft says he sees himself as an attorney, but the goal is kind of fuzzy right now.
“I want to be an attorney, but I’ve also wanted to be a public official,” Craft said. “I’ve been to a couple of camps and being around the pre-law community, I’ve found myself wanted to be a voice of the people, get things done and change things. Last summer, I was an intern at the Cooke County Attorney’s Office and I kind of realized what is wrong with the criminal justice system is. There are a lot of criminal and civil injustices there.”
While he is excited about college, Craft said his biggest fear right now is that his first year of college will have to be conducted remotely. Craft is looking forward to being around like-minded people that care about the same subjects as he does.
“I’ve been able to process and move on from my senior year, but the idea of doing my semester with Zoom calls to my professor is tough to stomach,” Cook said. “They’ve sent communication that they believe the most important part of college is in-person classes and on-campus experiences. The biggest thing I’m looking forward to in college is being able to talk to people that are experts in their field and be around the best and be around people that share similar passions.”
With graduation right around the corner set to take place May 27 at Texas Motor Speedway, Craft is preparing his salutatorian speech — something his friends have high expectations for.
“I’m incredibly excited about graduation and I’m glad that we’re going to have an in-person ceremony that exists,” Craft said. “To be able to deliver a speech means a lot and I wouldn’t have been able to do that. The thought of speaking at a giant stadium is exciting. I want to talk about how the coronavirus has kind of reminded me about how close the community of Gainesville is and how you can keep in touch with people even though you’re not physically next to someone.”