Murray named 2022 class speaker

Deepa Gautam, Features Editor

As the class of 2022 walks together one last time, they will reflect on four remarkable years, carrying the weight of a global pandemic, mask mandates, and distant memory of a “normal” freshman year. Now, equipped with the resilience and optimism forged during a time of rapid change, the class will celebrate all they have learned as they head towards a new chapter of their lives. Hoping to bring a similarly positive perspective onto the class’s growth, senior Tadgh Murray will be speaking at the graduation ceremony on June 3rd.

For Murray, the last four years have culminated in various lessons learned, influential teachers, and ultimately an unforgettable high school experience. His desire to bring a lighthearted perspective to the class’ journey propelled him to submit an application as soon as he was aware of the opportunity.

“I saw the email two nights before [it was due] and I was like ‘oh crap’ but I thought I’d give it a try because I really enjoy speaking in public and sharing perspectives,” Murray said. “That coming Tuesday, Mr. Ware responded and said that I was considered for the top seven, which is cool.”

By the next day, Murray had presented his initial speech to a panel of class advisors alongside seven finalists. With his experience speaking at sports banquets and other events, public speaking is not a new endeavor for Murray. Although Murray did recall being nervous for the final round of the application, which had been narrowed down to the top three, he is grateful for the opportunity to share his experiences.

“I’m nervous [about speaking for my class], but in a good way,” Murray said. “I wouldn’t back out of it. I finished the speech a while ago, and now I’m just brushing it up, learning more public speaking techniques, [and] rehearsing it.”

Murray’s speech will center on the importance of cherishing high school years for what they were; a tumultuous, yet thrilling journey muddled with mistakes, new experiences, and people. He hopes to encourage his classmates to let go of the pressure that often encompasses WA, and learn to approach life with a growth mindset.

“I want to convey that life isn’t as serious as people make it out to be,” Murray said. “Because you’re just wasting time if you worry about the little things that won’t matter in a month. Whether it is a quiz, or an embarrassing incident, you’ll forget you even did it. I want people to take away that the [most important thing] is to always learn […] and to be open to new perspectives and never be ignorant.”

While much of the class’s high school career was overshadowed with memories of quarantine and mask mandates, Murray also emphasized the positive growth that came from such times. He believes that after having to learn from home and adapting to the various forms of mental and physical isolation, the class will work harder to live in the moment. Murray also noted that the bond between peers has been strengthened in light of their shared experiences and maintains a positive outlook on the past years.

“I feel that we’re generally pretty lucky compared to other classes because we fall right down the center for COVID; we have a graduation, we got a cotillion, and we didn’t have to do finals or midterms during our hardest years,” Murray said. “But, we’ve all gotten close […] and we have grown. We have a good group of kids graduating together.”

Even as an individual, Murray hopes to be remembered for his easygoing character, as someone who “rolled with the punches” and lightened the atmosphere. Staying true to the ideals he presents in his speech, he surrounded himself with many driven, yet enjoyable friends that shared his ability to make the best of any situation. In fact, some of his favorite memories of WA include spending time with his football teammates and band class.

“[Band] was a great experience,” Murray said.  “You can just be yourself and everyone’s so accepting. [In general] I surround myself with a lot of people who are very easygoing, but also do what they need to do and get  things done.”

According to Dean Bob Ware, Murray had a remarkable presence in the community over the last four years. Whether it was his ability to connect with peers or tackle personal and athletic setbacks with a positive attitude, Ware highlighted Murray’s strong character.

“[Tadgh is] sincere, caring, light, [and a] great participant to our community,” Ware said. “He’s well respected by his peers. He’s a student athlete, a hard working kid, [and] has been first class [through difficult times].  It’s been a pleasure to watch him turn into the man that he is today.”

Moving forward, Murray plans to major in psychology and criminal justice at St. Joseph’s College, as he hopes to eventually become a prison psychologist. Still, despite what the future has in store for him and his classmates, Murray knows the experiences at WA will stick with him forever, even if it lasted only four years.

“The speech is about how high school is really the only place in our lives where we can keep messing up and making mistakes, and get away with it without crazy consequences,” Murray said. “But it’s also about learning new perspectives and meeting new people and mainly just finding out who you are and what you believe in.”

Drawing from the culmination of his high school career, Murray highlights that every experience can result in growth; that despite every challenge the class has overcome or the inevitable obstacles they will encounter in the future, there will always be room for hope.

“Everything happened for a reason in high school, whether we had a bad experience or a good experience,” said Murray. “Whether it is in two weeks or five months or 30 years after we graduate, I think we’ll figure it out.”