Female commencement speaker makes history

Caroline Fellows

Senior Annalise Gogarty reads her commencement speech to seniors during Senior Day on April 10. Photo by Caroline Fellows

Senior Annalise Gogarty is the first female commencement speaker since 2009.

“I don’t know why it’s taken so long for a female,” Gogarty said, “but I think it’s neat that it can be me to break that pattern.”

Students interested in being commencement speaker could either self-nominate or be nominated by other students. Six total candidates delivered a draft of their speech at Senior Day on April 10. The candidates were seniors Elliot Williams, Jamie Tabron, Kevin Drexl, Thomas Putnam, Marcus Thompson and Gogarty.

“I had absolutely no intention of (commencement speaker) ever being me,” Gogarty said. However, other seniors saw Gogarty as a potential commencement speaker and nominated her.

Seniors were given a packet before the speeches began and were instructed to award each candidate one through five points for three different criteria.

Seniors not chosen as commencement speaker were still given opportunities to participate in end of year festivities for seniors.

Williams, Thompson and Tabron were emcees at Senior Awards Night on May 3, and will also read Dr. Jon Clark’s speech at graduation on May 18. Putnam and Drexl will be name readers at graduation.
Gogarty said she began to draft her speech by researching online what a commencement speech should include. She said this method was unhelpful and what she found were mostly cliches.

Gogarty struck inspiration by watching previous commencement speeches from WGHS.

“From there it’s just kind of practicing and getting comfortable with my speech so I have it down,” Gogarty said.

Next fall, Gogarty will attend Mizzou, but she is undecided on her major.

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