Pomp and Circumstance resounded across Miracle Field again as the Montrose community gathered to celebrate the graduation of the Class of 2019. Thirty five women graced onto the stage with shining caps and gowns, stunning red heels, and bright smiles. Friends and family snapped photos and, perhaps, shed a few tears during the ceremony. Additionally, the entire student body was in attendance, a new aspect to Montrose graduations that brought our sisterhood together for one last time with the seniors. In reflection of this special event, we congratulate the Class of 2019 and wish them a happy summer.
Valedictorian: Caroline Churney ‘19
Salutatorians: Isabella Rinaldi ‘19, Krystal Wu ‘19
Below you will find the Caroline’s Valedictorian Address. We wish her luck at Wesleyan University next year!
Good morning Dr. Bohlin, Montrose faculty, distinguished guests, students, family, friends, and the class of 2019. I am truly blessed to be standing here in front of you today and to be graduating with such a strong, driven class of girls.
Before I came to Montrose, I really struggled. I had serious health problems and I was in and out of doctor’s appointments and hospital stays throughout my 8th grade year. Honestly, it was kind of a horrible blur. Except for one day. On that day, I visited Montrose School for the very first time. I stepped through the front doors and immediately two girls from my class, Julia Phillips and Bella Rinaldi shouted “Hi Caroline!” to me and I recognized them from middle school. I remember Mrs. Leist asking me what I was learning in math and me frantically racking my brain for some kind of intelligent answer. I remember Kiki as class president rallying my class together to practice their Christmas skit amidst sing-alongs to the classic rendition of Drummer Boy by Justin Bieber. And I remember writing an essay about wishing to eat lunch with Amelia Earhart so I could learn where she got all her courage from. But all my mom remembers was seeing the biggest smile she had seen on my face in a long time when I walked out the doors.
Over the next four years, that smile rarely left my face. High school is never exactly perfect. You still have to face failed tests, friend drama, and waking up at 6am or earlier to get to school. But, there’s something special about Montrose where I can look back and honestly say there’s no school like it.
I’ve spent a lot of time in the past couple of days being nostalgic and I realized something. My favorite memories aren’t semi-formals or junior ring ceremonies or even proms. The memories that resound in my mind aren’t the ones we’re told we’ll remember. It’s the little moments everyday that speak volumes about the character of each girl on this stage and even the character of this school.
I remember my class dressing up as mimes for our Spirit Week class costume and walking into Mrs. Whitlock’s freshman english class, boldly refusing to speak. Unimpressed, she handed us a pop quiz for our efforts to our utter dismay. I remember our class Christmas skit when we faked a Christmas pageant leg injury and turned it into a mass flash mob on stage. I remember Montrose School’s inaugural mannequin challenge in Mrs. Young’s 10th grade theology class with girls standing on tables and pulling each other’s hair, and with a kneeling Mrs. Young in the center praying for our troubled souls. I remember singing about German unification in AP Euro class to the tune of “All I do is Win” by the iconic DJ Khaled and with Mariel Rosati shredding the rap portion.
What I’m trying to say here is you’re going to have a lot of expectations and a lot of dreams. They won’t always be fulfilled. And you know what? That’s okay. Just remember to keep your eyes open because there’s a lot of beautiful things happening all around you. Goals will change. And some dreams might be thrown straight out the window. But your values should not. Montrose has taught us that.
I’m really and truly honored to be graduating with this class. I never thought I’d graduate from high school and be able to honestly call each member of my class my friend. I have tremendous respect for each of you and I can’t believe I’m graduating with such an enormously talented class. I’m graduating with soon-to-be engineers, doctors, programmers, nurses, chefs, politicians, and psychologists. I’m graduating with the girl that founded the volleyball program here at Montrose. I’m graduating with the girls that spent over 12 hours working on a math challenge. I’m graduating with the girl that captained 3 sports teams in her senior year to championships. I’m graduating with the girl that spent her April vacation painting sets for the musical. I’m graduating with the girl that led the entire school in a day of service. I’m graduating with the girl that organized Montrose’s first voter registration drive. And I’m graduating with the girls who spent their spring break volunteering at an orphanage in Jamaica. The dedication and perseverance of this class is undeniable. And the legacy they leave at Montrose will never be forgotten.
On that very first visit to Montrose, I wished to know where Amelia Earhart got all her strength from. Four years later, I know. I know without a doubt. Little did I know I was about to join a community where every girl was called to exhibit strength and character, but they never did it alone. I leave Montrose knowing that one’s strength comes from those around you. Four years ago, I could have never seen myself debating about foreign politics or co-captaining a sports team to success. But thanks to this incredible, driven, and passionate class of girls, I have found my own source of strength. As we journey to the next phase of our lives, we won’t walk without fear. But we will walk with a boldness of vision and firmness of character that can only come from a Montrose education. We will walk knowing that fear is no match for even the tiniest dash of courage. And we will walk with the unshakeable force of the strong community of Montrose women behind us.
I cannot wait to watch each of you succeed as you leave here and I truly could not be prouder of each of you. Thank you for allowing me the chance to speak before you all today and congratulations to the class of 2019.