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The Voice of the Wildkats

The Student News Site of Willis High School

The Voice of the Wildkats

The Student News Site of Willis High School

The Voice of the Wildkats

US History teacher receives Hall of Fame Award

HALL+OF+FAME.+Posing+with+her+college+coach+Dr.+Kimberly+Williams%2C+US+History+teacher+Amy+McGowen+is+recognized+at+her+Hall+of+Fame+induction
photo or infographic by courtesy of Amy McGowen
HALL OF FAME. Posing with her college coach Dr. Kimberly Williams, US History teacher Amy McGowen is recognized at her Hall of Fame induction

She holds her bat, ready to swing anything that comes towards her. As the ball gets closer she swings it and scores a home run. The start of something she loved would later become an unexpected honor. 

College athletes most often leave their legacy behind after hanging up their cleats for the last time. Not for this teacher. US History teacher Amy McGowen was inducted into her college Hall of Fame on Saturday, November 11th at Grayson College.

It was a special moment at The Point in Denison, as  McGowen became the seventh, and second female inductee into the Grayson College Hall of Fame. Done in front of family and friends, McGowen was inducted by her former coach and fellow hall of fame recipient Dr. Kim Williams.

“Amy was the hardest working and most competitive athlete that I have ever seen,” Williams said. “I have no doubt that she has that same mentality in her career now. Amy bat leadoff for me both years. I knew that all we had to do was get her on first base, and we were going to score. She could draw the walk, bunt, slap.”

Her impressive resume earned her First Team All-Conference, First Team All-Region and First Team All-American (the first in Grayson College history) in 2003. This path to college success and eventual Hall of Fame honors started from childhood.

“My sports career began with me playing select softball as a child,” McGowen said. “I played competitively as I grew up, and it became a goal of mine to play in college. There were a few girls from my select softball team going to play for Grayson College, so this sparked my interest in playing there. Grayson College was a two-year school, and in one of our preseason games, we played Tarleton State University. After this game, the coach from Tarleton began recruiting me, and I would later go on to play for Tarleton for two years.”

When McGowen found out she was being inducted into the Grayson College Hall of Fame, it opened a door of new feelings.

“It was an amazing feeling that is hard to put into words,” she said.”I felt grateful and honored that Grayson College thought enough of me to even consider nominating me for the Hall of Fame, much less selecting me to be inducted.” I  have never been someone who thrived off of being recognized for my hard work or accomplishments, but it was a good feeling to see that it didn’t go unnoticed.”

Assistant athletic director Stephanie Shelly coached McGowen during her high school softball career.

“Amy Braquet was an amazing athlete at WHS,” Shelly said.  “She was a fantastic player, teammate and leader.  What set Amy apart from most other softball players was her great work ethic, her fantastic attitude and her desire to make herself into a D1 athlete,” Shelly said. “She was a four-year letterman here. She was 4 time All-District player at two different positions”

Beyond an amazing athlete, McGowen also developed positive relationships with her coaches.

“I have always loved and respected how she carries herself on and off the field,” Shelly said. “I started out as her coach and now consider her a life-long great friend.”

I would say that you should not rely on other people to influence your drive and work ethic. Elite athletes will put in the work when no one is looking

— Amy McGowen

While the ceremony took place, mixed feelings took place as McGowen was recognized.

“Walking into the venue where the ceremony was being held made me feel a little anxious because I didn’t really know what to expect,” McGowen said. “My coach from my years at Grayson College is the person who gave the speech during my induction. Hearing what she had to say about my time at Grayson made me feel proud and honored for what was taking place. Being surrounded by Grayson’s current athletes, coaches, and staff during my induction ceremony, made the experience surreal. The absolute best part of the ceremony was the fact that my son and my family were able to attend and witness the event.”

With an impacting legacy left at Grayson College, McGowen has advice for future college athletes.

“The advice I would give to future collegiate athletes is to not take anything for granted, because it will be over one day,” McGowen said. “Also, I would say that you should not rely on other people to influence your drive and work ethic. Elite athletes will put in the work when no one is looking,” McGowen said.

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About the Contributor
Jackie Diaz, VOW Staff
Jackie is a senior this year and is on both the newspaper and yearbook staff. Along with the yearbook and newspaper, Jackie is also involved in NHS, UIL speech/journalism competitions, Interact, and is Vice president of DECA. Last year Jackie placed 2nd in editorial writing and qualified for regionals. After high school, Jackie plans on going to Texas A&M University while majoring in journalism with a minor in biology and later attend medical school. It is also a known fact that Jackie is obsessed with Chick-fil-A and despises ranch dressing. You can reach her at [email protected]
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