Valedictory address

St. Monica Academy High School

Valedictory Address

Good evening, Fr. Sustayta, Fr. Patrick, Mr. Reagan, Mrs. Grimm, Mr. Golbranson, Board Members, teachers, parents, families, and friends. Thank you all for coming. To my fellow graduates, congratulations!

Together we’ve sailed with Odysseus, proved Euclid’s Propositions, collected bugs for our bug projects, explored D.C., traveled with Dante, translated Caesar and Vergil, learned the laws of nature in physics and natural law in moral theology, and discussed the American dream. We’ve performed Shakespeare, recited poetry, sung polyphony, and won championships. We’ve quoted Disney movies, walked like velociraptors, consumed massive amounts of In-n-Out, baked literary confections, discussed the fear factor of tanks, and counted down the days until graduation. Well, here we are. Before us now, we have one end, but so many beginnings. We’ll have new classes, new friends, new cities, new jobs, new frustrations, new challenges, and new successes. But we embark on these new journeys with so much good in us, thanks to our time at St. Monica Academy, thanks to our teachers, families, and friends here. We’ve been taught to love beauty, to seek truth, and to strive for goodness; to read critically, and write clearly, and listen carefully, and discern wisely; to value faith, family, and friendship, and to see God in all things.

I know I speak for more than myself when I say that St. Monica Academy is one of the greatest blessings God has given me. It challenged me to strive for more than disinterested, unimpassioned mediocrity. It was here that I learned through the words and examples of my teachers and friends to love beauty and truth, to live with joy, to be involved, to ask “why” and “how,” to debate and listen and explain and defend, and most importantly, to live and love the faith.

On behalf of my classmates, I want to say: thank you to our parents, for recognizing the good in St. Monica Academy and for sending us here. Thank you to the founders, Board, and benefactors, for striving to improve what is already so great. Thank you to the “behind-the-scenes” ladies in the office, for making sure everything gets done and for always being cheerful. Thank you to our teachers, for inspiring us and challenging us, for making us want to understand, and for fueling the sometimes latent fire of curiosity within us.

I used to wonder why our school was named after St. Monica. After all, she didn’t found a religious order, write a treatise on philosophy, or develop arguments proving doctrines. Yet, she was to St. Augustine just what her academy is to its students—an example of goodness against worldly temptations, a voice of truth amidst a clamor of lies, a guide and a guardian leading to God.

And now, though we leave our alma mater, our nourishing mother St. Monica Academy, we hold in our hearts and minds memories, lessons, and friendships, and we set out into the world, armed with the shield of virtue and the sword of truth, to go and be excellent.

Thank you.