Valedictorian Victoria Worsham '18 delivered the following during the Saint Mary's School commencement exercises on May 20, 2018:
Good morning and welcome Mr. O'Shea, families, faculty, friends, guests, students, and graduates. On behalf of the class of 2018, I would first like to take a moment to extend a heartfelt thank you to all the teachers, parents, advisors, and other important people in our lives for the care, time, and dedication generously given to us graduates throughout the past four years. We are grateful for your unwavering support, and we acknowledge that our success would not be possible without your guidance.
To my fellow classmates, I am both honored and humbled to speak before you. You are a group of highly accomplished, talented, and wonderful women, and I feel privileged to have shared my Saint Mary's experience with you as a class.
Indeed, high school was both difficult and rewarding.
Whether you are a four-year girl or joined the Saint Mary's community later in your high school career, Saint Mary's proved to be a special place with both ups and downs. There were trying times, such as Outward Bound, sophomore year compass week, junior speeches, standardized testing, college applications, and simply the academic rigor of our classes. Yet, we overcame each ordeal and grew both individually and together as a class. Saint Mary's not only provided us with an excellent education, but taught us about ourselves as well. The educators here are truly unparalleled. Mrs. Grabarek stressed the importance of the oxford comma. Mrs. Floyd honed our note-taking skills. Dr. Greenwood brightened our education with unfaltering positivity. Ms. Boyd never failed to remind sophomore year A period to "brace yourselves" each morning. Madame Belknap offered inspiring and unique words of wisdom. Profe kept us sassy. Not to mention Mary Lynn Rampolla, our pocket guide to writing in history. At Saint Mary's we are encouraged to challenge and expand our convictions. We are encouraged to explore, be curious, think critically, and never underestimate ourselves. Saint Mary's instills within us integrity, ambition, and passion for knowledge. We realize the importance of a growth mindset, learning from the past and planning for the future. Although we cultivated our own unique experiences here, one commonality is that we leave Saint Mary's poised to grapple with any adversity we may face or pursue any dream we may have.
Thanks to copious amounts of caffeine, Quizlets, shared google docs, sleepless nights, and our classmates who have inspired, motivated, and carried us throughout the years, we made it. Our hours of hard work paid off. Through the worthwhile challenges we faced, we changed, for at Saint Mary's, we were willing to transform into better versions of ourselves. We all truly deserve to be here and should take pride in how far we all have come.
The Great 18, we have surely left a legacy at Saint Mary's as leaders, artists, musicians, athletes, academics, and dancers alike. Our accomplishments are a testament not only to Saint Mary's but to ourselves as well. I need not look for inspiration outside the grove, for, characterized by your collective perseverance, persistence, and tenacity, you my fellow graduates are role models of the highest quality, and I feel the utmost pride being a part of such a great class.
To the classes of 2019, 2020, and 2021, I want to remind you of the brevity of your experience here at Saint Mary's, an experience that, although short, will impact you for the rest of your lives. School may often feel monotonous or tedious, but do remain appreciative. Do not take for granted your classes, assemblies, chapels, advisory lunches, class meetings, or friendships. In a surprisingly short time, you will be relishing your last moments in this community.
My fellow classmates, exciting opportunities lay beyond the gates. Have confidence that Saint Mary's equipped us with the tools necessary to embark on our future endeavors and face any uncertainty. Act with authority and conviction. Be willing to take risks and fail. Don't fear seizing and committing to lofty goals, for our foundation for doing so is at Saint Mary's. This world can be tough, but look back at your time at Saint Mary's to give you strength, resilience, and bravery. Keep our sisterhood and this school in your hearts, and you are bound to make the right decisions and achieve all you dream. Like the very oaks in the grove, wherever we branch out, we are all deeply rooted and indebted to this place, a place which will always be our home away from home. Saint Mary's has shaped us into who we are today, and classmates, do find comfort that Saint Mary's has given us all the validation we need to succeed.
To conclude I would like to leave you with a quote from author and businessman Joel A. Barker: "Vision without action is merely a dream. Action without vision just passes the time. But vision with action can change the world." Today, as we say goodbye to Saint Mary's and look to the future, we will leave through those gates as girls with dreams and will enter the world as women with vision.
Class of 2018, my sincerest congratulations and best wishes for the future. Thank you.
For more about Commencement 2018 at Saint Mary's School, click here.