A very well-known public figure will be speaking at the commencement for Republic High School’s 26 graduating seniors.
Class President Tyler Weyer was the one who had the idea to approach former Alaska governor and vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin to speak at the small Washington high school’s graduation ceremony.
“Some people brought up popular teachers and prominent community members, and I thought ‘let’s bring up Sarah Palin.’ Our class is very familiar with Sarah Palin. When we first discovered her in 2008, she really struck us, and struck me in particular.”
Weyer calls himself a huge Palin fan. He’s even dressed up as the politician for an annual event for his debate team.
“I don’t normally dress in drag,” says Weyer, who impersonated Palin in a debate competition against a teammate dressed as Hillary Clinton.
His classmates agreed Palin would be a good choice so they began trying to reach her. Their efforts included sending a letter to her parents, the only members of her family listed in the phone book.
In April, they got word that Mrs. Palin would indeed attend their ceremony, meaning their backup speaker, teacher Liz Bremner, would have to step aside.
“She said, ‘How many people can say ‘I was ousted by Sarah Palin?'” says Weyer.
She believes Palin agreed because of her affection for small communities. “I believe that small town America really is close to her heart and I feel like she recognized that we really wanted her, and I think she can relate to how we live and how we think. So I think she was a little sentimental there.”
Even though Palin is definitely a polarizing figure, Weyer says they haven’t received much criticism since the announcement.
“Even people who don’t necessarily agree with Sarah Palin’s politics, they’re just happy for the students graduating. It all boils down to that this is a high school graduation regardless of who the speaker is.”
Weyer will get to introduce Palin at the ceremony and says he’s confident she will give a great speech. “I know the class will take everything she says to heart. We’ll really appreciate whatever advice she has for us.”