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This Year’s Senior Speaker: Anaya Brannon

By Sasha Ray

Brannon wielding a microphone. Photo by Sebastian Bass

When I sat down to talk with senior speaker Anaya Brannon about her Purchase experience, she was flanked by two of her friends, eagerly awaiting her dismissal, speaking to both the levels of busyness and popularity that follow wherever she goes. As a studio composition major, Anaya Brannon keeps herself busy with classes dedicated to her biggest passion: music.

“I was undeclared freshman year,” Brannon admitted. “When I decided to declare music, I realized I wasn’t as passionate about anything else as I am about music.”

Brannon had been writing songs all her life, but didn’t recognize herself as a serious music student until coming to Purchase. Following her decision to study music as a college student, she subsequently took up opportunities to perform her own songs at events throughout the years.

“I’ve always done musical theater and stuff, but never performed my own music,” Brannon said.

Brannon continues to nurture her passion for music outside of classes as a participant in the Soul Voices musical group and spending much of her spare time writing songs. Following graduation, Brannon plans to focus on music full-time.

As well as being a dedicated student, Brannon has given back to the Purchase community as a residential assistant and working at the on-campus food pantry. Both experiences have enriched Brannon’s time as a student. Currently, Brannon is an RA for the Olde apartment complex, and was an RA for the Outback residence hall in the 2017-2018 school year.

“I feel like I have come into myself more as a person,” Brannon said about her experience at Purchase. “I’ve figured out how to hold space for people and myself, and I’ve learned self-compassion, and compassion for other people. I’ve learned a lot about music, but I’ve learned more about other people, and who I want to be in that context.”

Brannon said that being chosen to speak at commencement was exciting. Brannon initially hadn’t planned to submit her speech, but decided to apply at the encouragement of her boss in both of her jobs, Mario Rapetti.

Self-described as hoping to inspire others, the end of Brannon’s college days seems a good place to start. Giving her fellow classmates a proper send off reflects Brannon’s ability to motivate and inspire those she’s spent her undergrad years with; hopefully leaving them with something to remember.

“I realized I actually had stuff to say,” Brannon said about being selected. “I feel like my year, the class of 2019 specifically, has been through some very difficult stuff, so I think it’s important for whoever speaks to bring all of those emotions together. I’m scared of graduation, but when I think back to my high school graduation, I remember that day pretty clearly because we were all really freaked out and scared, so I’m hoping I can be really honest in my experience.”

Good luck to you, Anaya! You have the support of the class of 2019.



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