Bat is the word: The animal infestation legacy of the Ann Richards School continues


Maya Nunez giving her senior speech over the intercom, supported by her fellow seniors. Photo taken by Erin Lungwitz.

Seventh grader Ruby Seamon and social studies teacher Brianne Welser stand frozen in the large gym, staring at a small black shape floating around close to the floor. The track girls are just about to go on their run Monday morning, and Seamon and Welser are the last ones in the gym.

“We were just looking at it for a while, [we were] kind of surprised,” Seamon said.

However, Seamon was only slightly surprised, because this is not uncommon at school. Just this year, there was a raccoon found in a classroom, an ant infestation in the locker room, and another bat in the band hall just a few weeks prior. As Ann Richards girls do, the track team took action accordingly. They ran.

“Our stuff was in the gym so we had to come back in later and run through the big gym with everyone’s stuff to bring it to the lounge,” Seamon said.

Administrator Kris Waugh was informed early that Monday morning, March 28, when the bat was discovered by custodian Augustin Guzman.

“At that point we needed to make a decision on whether or not to put 800 girls in a gym with a flying bat. So we had a conference call with the superintendent,” Waugh said. “We sat down, we discussed it with the city of Austin officials, and then we decided that one swooping bat towards the sixth grade herd would cause a stampede.”

Thus, they decided to do a morning assembly over the intercom. However, there was another complication: senior Maya Nunez was scheduled to give her senior speech on this very same Monday morning.

Nunez and her introducer, senior Georgia Oldham, were planning on performing their handshake that they made in seventh grade in front of the whole school before Nunez began her speech. With the speech taking place over intercom, that could no longer happen.

“Georgia was probably the most upset about it because she was practicing all night for it,” said Nunez.

Nonetheless, the support was still there. Nunez called for all of her fellow seniors to come to the front office to watch her give the speech over the intercom.

“It was also on a day when the seniors all had the ‘flu,’” Waugh said. “So it was really great that these healthy seniors were here to support her.”

The seniors were excited to celebrate senior skip day when their previously set date had to be rescheduled due President Obama’s presence at South by Southwest.

Nunez is unsure of how it went, because you can’t hear how the announcements sound to the rest of the school from the office. However after each speech given at all-school assembly, the ninth graders give feedback in their STARS classes. Several students gave seemingly playful feedback like “we couldn’t see her,” and “she wasn’t making eye contact.”

Despite all of the complications, Nunez gave her speech, and her friends were there to support her.

“We just kind of went for it,” Nunez said, “it was a fun way to do a senior speech.”