Spartan Success Story: Kait Kerrigan


Aniyah Racine

Kait Kerrigan, an American playwright/musical theater lyricist/ book writer, graduated from Wyoming Valley West in 1999.

While in high school, Kerrigan joined any chorus, play and/or musical she could. She also created two independent studies. One being creative writing intensive and a women’s literature course. “At the time the only women we read were a handful of poets and short story writers in two short units of Harper Lee,” Kerrigan said.

The books Kerrigan read in class made her feel uninterested and made her want to explore authors on her own. Outside of the school based curriculum, she read Virginia Wolfe, Alice Walker, and Maya Angelou. 

Kerrigan would stay hours after school and would talk with friends about books they were currently reading, artists that inspired them and more. Kerrigan feels strongly that school was a place for her to express her creativity and to pursue her interests no matter what else would hold her back. 

Kerrigan expresses hope for diversity at WVW as her experience wasn’t as inclusive as it is now. “I wish there had been more space made for the kids who are not cis heteronormative and white,” Kerrigan said. “There wasn’t a great deal of diversity in  our time at WVW and a lot of kids who came in contact with people who were ‘different’ were cruel about it.”

Kerrigan started a student-run musical program with the first show being “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown.” Kerrigain directed and produced the musical as the artistic director. The show was funded with student-run bake sales and other fundraisers. The program then went on for another ten years. 

The student-run musical program was the first push for Kerrigan to become who she is now.

Kerrigan has many favorite pieces but she specially recommends one to high school students. “But if I could recommend one to high school students, it would be “The Mad Ones,” which is the piece, in a lot of ways, I learned to be a writer on,” Kerrigan said. “It’s also about high school and grief and coming of age which are some of my favorite topics.” 

Kerrigan advises students to start their journey as soon as possible. All of the resources you need are offered for you all throughout your schooling career, so use them while you still can. 

“You have to be your own advocate. You have to be your own producer,” Kerrigan said to any high school student who is interested or is planning to take on a future of writing, playwriting or others.  You have to know how to make things – not just the words on the paper – but the logistics of getting people into a room to make things together.”