Annie Hayes is confident to enter the male-dominated field of architecture at the University of Texas at Austin.

She explained her experiences gained through graduating as the salutatorian in Waxahachie High School Class of 2018 have molded her into to the diligent woman she is today. But when Hayes looked at her future, a younger version of her appeared.

Hayes recalled her fascination of skyscrapers as a child, which served as the fuel to pursue her dream.

“When you look at the history of humans and how we’ve come along and developed — like making skyscrapers and having that change from wood to steel — it’s mind-boggling. It’s impressive,” Hayes emphasized.

In her spare time, Hayes enjoys drawing geometric shapes and photography. In college, Hayes would like to morph into a mature, well-rounded architect and sees herself producing stage designs. So far, she has not decided on an exact career path.

As she enters a new chapter in her life, she hopes to find her identity, which is the most exciting aspect. When she begins this stage and new academic field, Hayes said she wants "to be more project oriented. I’m a very alone type of person, and I like working alone. But, the field I’m entering it’s more collaborative.”

She is also drawn to the limited amount of women who study the subject. Hayes noticed while in her high school AP science classes that she was one-out-of-three girls in the class.

“It’s interesting how it affects you,” Hayes admitted. “I’m always conscious about representing girls. They can be smart too and achieve highly as well in science. It was something I was conscious about, and I don’t know if I needed to be, but I think it’s important and kind of a responsibility I want to take on, representing women.”

She plans to lead by example and prove herself through the power of knowledge with her collegiate classmates. Males drive the field, which is a bit nerve-wracking.

“Something that I’ve always relied on is intelligence,” Hayes disclosed. “That’s how I’ve gotten the respect in the classroom, so I think I just have to have that mindset in college, so they take me seriously and value what I say.”


Hayes claimed that she could not be who she is today without her educators. She was quick to say her teachers were the number one thing she will remember about Waxahachie High School.

“They are the best people — so down to Earth. You can always talk to them and always get advice from them,” Hayes explained.

Even a dual-credit English teacher, who she did not take, helped her with the salutatorian speech. Hayes experienced first hand how the educators went above for their students.

Hayes played the flute four years in the band. Longtime Waxahachie High School band director, Rich Armstrong, introduced many of her life lessons.

Armstrong taught her the lesson of the importance of leading by example and how sometimes this trait impacts the person rather than who is observing.

Another life lesson she learned was to be accountable for her at the end of the day. Hayes shared she was overwhelmed after first joining the Wind Ensemble. Armstrong stopped her and informed Hayes she was, “in over her head.”

Hayes expressed how she needed to hear that, and from the wisdom of Armstrong, he taught her to fight for her success. She worked harder every day and did not let her struggles define her and improved where she could.

“Ultimately a person has to decide if they want to be successful at something because if you show them you’re serious about it and have success, they may be inspired to do that,” Hayes shared.

Hayes hopes she displayed the proper attitude to the underclassmen so they can be successful. Her thought is if a peer saw her accomplish then her peers will understand how their goals are obtainable too.

Another lesson she learned was to stick with “plan A” because “plan B” should not be necessary. That mindset stuck with Hayes.

“I think it’s because we live in a society that is constantly affected by the way others see us,” she elaborated. “They are always worried about that, checking likes, retweets. And they don’t need to be doing that because you need figure out what you want with your life. When you are like 80, and you’re talking to your grandkids; will it matter what people think about you? It’s going to matter what you did.”

Hayes is passionate about never letting other people’s perceptions change who a person is.

Hayes said she felt most at peace either early in the morning or after school, sitting in the band hall, listening to the jazz band through the walls. The peace is what she will miss most at Waxahachie High School.

Ashley Ford | @aford_news | 469-517-1450