Elise Berthold and Michael Harry to speak at commencement ceremony

Evan Beiter

Each year, speakers for the commencement ceremony are selected by a committee of faculty and students. Students interested in speaking at the ceremony sign up to audition and prepare a speech. The speech must include the theme selected by the senior class. This year’s senior theme was, “If opportunity doesn’t knock, build a door.”

Thirteen students auditioned this year to become one of the WAHS’s Class of 2023 Commencement speakers. Senior teachers Mrs. Moore and Mrs. Fox organized auditions. This year’s faculty panel included Mrs. Moore, Mrs. Fox, Mr. Flint, and Dr. Ross. The student judges were Lucy Waltz, Maya Clary, and Landon Miller.

On the day of auditions, the seniors arrived at the Black Box theater after school. Students pulled sticks to determine who went first, second, and so on. Next, all but the first speaker went to a holding room to wait their turn. One by one, students went to the podium to present their speeches for the judges who sat in a straight row in front of them.

The next day, the winners were announced during morning announcements.

“Auditioning for commencement speaker gave me the opportunity to step out of my comfort zone and try something unique to our senior year,” Berthold commented.

“My jaw dropped when I heard my name announced! I am so excited to continue to work with Mrs. Fox to polish my speech and deliver a meaningful speech for my classmates, our faculty, and our families,” she added.