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proud of you


Taryn's speech as class Valedictorian.

Good morning graduates, administrators, faculty, family, and friends.
Our day has finally come to celebrate
the graduation of the class of 2007 of St. Vincent Pallotti.

I feel both privileged and proud to be standing here this morning
representing St. Vincent Pallotti's class of 2007.
I am grateful all of you could be here to commemorate the accomplishments achieved
and memories created by this truly unique
and talented group of individuals.

Today, as we celebrate, look to the future and recognize that,
just as we have succeeded in making it here today,
boundless opportunities lay ahead for us
to once again achieve our goals.

Now, we are not only capable of reaching individual success,
but we are obligated to use this solid foundation
Pallotti has given us to inflict positive change
in our communities and in the world around us.

But before we throw off our caps and go take on the world,
I believe it is more than necessary to recognize
that none of us would be here today without
the persistence and support of our families and teachers.

To our parents, you have been the backbone of our growth and development.
Through your support of us in both our brightest and darkest moments,
you have provided us with the courage
and love we needed to be successful.

Although we often fail to show it,
we know that our education at Pallotti wasn't cheap,
and that you have made numerous sacrifices to send us here.
We love you and sincerely appreciate
the opportunities you have given us by doing so.

To our teachers, who have been not only our educators but our mentors,
coaches, and companions for the last four years,
you have provided us with the knowledge and tools
we will need to be successful in the next stage of our lives.

In the Pallotti community, the student's best interest,
has always been the faculty's main priority,
and this is reflected by the teacher's willingness to do whatever it takes
to ensure that we reached our full potential.

The teacher's compassion for what they do and their
determination to help the students is truly inspiring and uplifting.

From Mr. Rheam, who taught us to never doubt our own abilities
by believing in us more often then we believed in ourselves,
to Ms. Bock, who through her spectacular dancing skills
in class demonstrated to us the more enjoyable side of learning,
to Mr. David Tenney, who opened our eyes and mind to a completely
new way of thinking and living, many of my teachers have had far-reaching
influences on me that go beyond the material we covered in class.

I know my fellow classmates will agree when I say I feel incredibly
lucky to have been blessed with teachers and administrators
that were just as concerned with the development of my character
as they were with my education.
And, although I’ll never quite understand why our socks had to cover our ankles
and our shirts had to be tucked in, not rolled, under our sweaters,
the lessons you taught us and the work ethic
you instilled in us will not soon be forgotten.
So, thank you teachers, administrators, and faculty of Pallotti
for working relentlessly to prepare us for our futures,
you have done a truly remarkable job.

Although we can attribute a large part of our success to our parents and teachers,
there is no denying that our class has accomplished
some amazing feats since we walked through
Pallotti's doors four years ago.
Through our leadership and example we have not only set the bar,
but raised it for the underclassmen.
Whether it be in athletics, academics, the arts,
or our undeniable school spirit, the class of 2007
has without a doubt left its mark on Pallotti High school.

Our class may be small in number compared to other high schools,
but we are abundant in talent and our size has never
stopped us from excelling in the area of athletics.

In the last four years, we have won conference, state,
and even national titles in football, girls basketball,
softball, baseball, boys lacrosse, cheerleading, and poms.

We have won twelve championships in four years,
all of which our class has played a huge role in.
In addition, we are sending numerous athletes
to play for division 1, 2, and 3 schools.

And last, but definitely not least, our girl's soccer team
finished first in regular season play of the A conference
and was ranked in the top 20 in the nation for our
outstanding season in 2006, a gigantic improvement from our humble
beginnings as a struggling B conference team.
Great work ladies!

Huge honors were also given to Pallotti's art program
due to the outstanding ability of some of our seniors.
From receiving singing scholarships to making the Maryland All State Band,
our class has demonstrated tremendous talent in the arts
on both a group and individual level.

Just last month, our concert band won first place in the Music Showcase festival.
And while they were impressing audiences at the showcase in Virginia,
our own drama and chorus program were awing audiences at home
with Smokey Joe's Cafe, one of the best play performances
Pallotti has seen in some time.

Academically, our class has achieved outstanding feats.
As you may have previously heard, we accumulated
an impressive amount of scholarship money.
In addition, we have been accepted into numerous prestigious universities,
including Johns Hopkins University, University of Maryland and their Honors Program,
NYU, Fordham, and UNC Chapel Hill.

Whether it was scoring the thousandth point on the basketball court,
winning a local singing competition,
or receiving a first chair spot in a top local band,
our seniors have demonstrated their strong work ethic
and exceptional talent both within the Pallotti community and abroad.

And last, but not least, the seniors have repeatedly
demonstrated the true meaning of Pallotti pride.
As if our dedication to school, sports, and extra curricular activities wasn't enough,
we took the Spirit Trophy this year and crushed our competition
in the powder puff football game.

Our class has a special way of always coming together when it counts.
When there is a big game, we have all gone out
to support each other, even if it meant driving long distances
and covering ourselves in blue and white face paint.

We have always been able to overcome our differences and pull together
to make experiences like our class trip to Busch Gardens
and our senior retreat truly memorable times.

Our retreats in general, from Circle of friends,
to sophomore service days, to kairos to our senior retreat
were valuable learning experiences, but their success depended on our class's willingness
to release our inhibitions and open up to God and our classmates.

Through our encouragement of one another and ability to work together,
we were able to learn and grow as a class during our retreats,
bringing us more in touch with our faith and closer to each other.
And finally, our class unity was most recently displayed
when we all met in the parking lot of Bottom Dollar,
dressed down, to show up at school together and send a final reminder
to the Pallotti staff and fellow students that
it will be hard to forget the class of 2007.

So now that we have proven that we are capable of achieving greatness,
the challenge becomes continuing this success
outside the walls of Pallotti high school.

Success is defined as The achievement of something desired,
planned, or attempted, but to me, success means a whole lot more than that.

Success is working hard to achieve your dream,
and in turn, being truly happy with what you do.

Everyone's dreams are vastly different; some of us may chose to study medicine,
some may chose to teach, or some may do missionary work.

Despite these apparent differences, all of these dreams require hard work,
persistence, and lot of sacrifice to obtain,
and, when achieved, all of these radiate success.

Mr. Rheam once told us that he has never worked a day in his life.
He loves teaching so much that he does not even consider it work.
This is the kind of success that all of us should dream of obtaining.
Success that has nothing to do with money, status, possessions, or power,
but only that which involves the fulfillment resulting from doing what you love.

So, graduates, whatever your dream is, stop at nothing to make it come true.
Don't let people make you feel dumb for wanting it,
and don't let obstacles deter you from getting it.

Beverly Sills once said, There are no short cuts to any place worth going,
and this holds true for reaching your dream.

Don't let the fear of mistakes, hard times, and pain
stop you from going after what you want,
because it will be the challenging times throughout our journey
that make the end result that much sweeter.

Not only do we have the foundation to achieve individual success,
but we have an obligation to do our part to bring
positive change to the world around us.
It's easy to get discouraged about the current state of our world.

With the war in Iraq, widespread poverty and sickness,
and murder on our own college campuses,
it's hard to imagine that we, as individuals,
could make a difference in such a complicated world.
However, this is the type of mentality that both
Pallotti and our Christian faith have urged us not to slip into.

Gandhi once said, Be the change you want to see in the world,
and although this is probably the biggest challenge
that faces my fellow classmates and I,
it is one that we are more than capable of doing.

Be the leaders of your new communities.
Hold your ground when it comes to ethical issues,
stand up against the injustices you see around you
and go out of your way to help those who are unable to help themselves.
This type of behavior is contagious, and these actions
can only lead to positive change around you.

I was told my speech was supposed to be about the future, and its purpose
was to motivate you, my fellow classmates, for what lies ahead.
I hope I have done a good job so far,
but I found this slightly ironic given that I am in the same position as you.

Although it is exciting to finally get out of high school,
it's frightening at the same time.

Our futures are uncertain, and now, more than ever before,
we are responsible for what direction our lives will take
and what type of people we will become.

This responsibility can be overwhelming, considering we have no idea
what will be asked of us and what challenges we will face.
Whether you are living at home next year or moving away
from your family and friends for the first time,
we are all venturing into unchartered territory,
and these unknowns can be really scary.
However, it's OK to be nervous about these uncertainties,
as long as you mold your fear into a source of motivation,
and you don't allow it to hold you back.

It was once said "The biggest mistake you can make is
continually fearing you will make one".
We will all, at some point, make mistakes,
but it is in those moments where we will
learn some of our most valuable lessons.

So don't be afraid to take risks, take every advantage given to try new things,
and don't hesitate to venture outside of your comfort zone.
Because although we are all uncertain about what our futures hold,
I am more than certain that all of us
are fully prepared to face any challenge that comes our way.

Good luck and God's Speed to the class of 2007.
(End of Speech)

It's been said that life is like a book,
lived one chapter at a time.
If you think that your most fruitful years are behind you~
Remember you're writing a new chapter now.
Learn to live each day in the present.

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