A Fond Farewell to the Spirited Class of 2023


Adam Richins

The Class of 2023 tosses their caps atop the Montrose M on Miracle Field.

Saint Therese of Lisieux once said: “Miss no single opportunity of making some small sacrifice, here by a smiling look, there by a kindly word; always doing the smallest right and doing it all for love.” These loving, little moments of gratitude, spirit, love, and celebration encompassed the Commencement exercises for this year’s graduation ceremony.

With the white tent standing tall above Miracle Field, the Montrose M painted across the grass, the faculty in academic regalia, and the Class of 2023 fashioning their signature red heels, it was time to celebrate the Class of 2023. 

For some reason, whenever I hear “Pomp and Circumstance,” I immediately feel emotions of sadness but also celebration. This year, as a junior who formed part of the graduation “receiving line,” I watched not only the faculty but also the graduates process in with the most celebratory, confident faces that I had ever seen before. After I had wiped away my initial tears of seeing fellow friends and peers approach the stage in which they would end their high school careers, I accompanied my classmates and the entire student body to Miracle Field. 

After the procession ended, Father John offered the Invocation, and when everyone was seated, senior class co-president Ali Quinn introduced Chairman of the Board of Trustees Bill Noonan. Mr. Noonan began by thanking God for the beautiful day he had bestowed on the graduates. He also thanked the board of trustees, faculty, and staff for their contributions to “educating young women in greatness” and “shaping them to change the world.” Mr. Noonan then addressed the parents of the Class of 2023. He thanked them for “partnering with Montrose” to educate their daughters and for their small sacrifices to achieve the graduates’ education. 

One of my favorite moments from Mr. Noonan’s speech came when he quoted Saint Josemaria Escriva, founder of Opus Dei: “Why fly like a barnyard hen when you can soar like an eagle?” He called on the graduates to discover the courage to “take the leap” and strive to habituate the habits of mind, heart, and character they have learned at Montrose. Mr. Noonan also quoted Thomas Edison: “Success is 1% perspiration and 99% perspiration.” Mr. Noonan went on to explain how many are trying to create a new, revised version of this inspirational saying. Instead of “99% perspiration,” the quote would read “99% preparation.” 

Chairman Noonan said that this spirited, talented class would change the world and advised them not to become overwhelmed by this change. He asked them to “change it in a million little ways” by hugging their moms, reflecting on their blessings, and giving thanks for the millions of things done well in their lives. 

Following Mr. Noonan’s remarks, referred to by the Board of Trustees and the broader Montrose community as “our fearless leader,” Mrs. Elrod addressed the graduating class. She first welcomed the graduates into the “illustrious ranks” of Montrose alumni who will lead the world with their love, talent, and conviction. In Mrs. Elrod’s words, the Class of 2023 now “stands on the shoulders of giants,” joining a group of diverse women who all share one thing in common: a love for our amazing school. Mrs. Elrod then spoke about the character education the Class of 2023 has received at Montrose and how it can apply to their lives after graduation. “Here you were formed in ‘Caritas’- the world needs your great heart to love others nobly; ‘Veritas’- the world needs your great mind hungry to understand and pursue the truth in all you do. And ‘Libertas’- the world needs your character, your desire and your drive to do good in the world. These ideals hold the secret to your dignity, your power, and your purpose as women. They provide a compass for you to take with you into the world. Consult it often.” 

If you have been at Montrose for seven years or only one, you probably know Mrs. Elrod’s favorite saying, which not only encompasses the habits of mind, heart, and character but also our Montrose mission: “You are created unique, unrepeatable, and called by God to greatness.” Mrs. Elrod finished with this inspirational saying, reminding the girls of their unique individuality and their amazing talents which they will bring to the greater world around them. 

Next, the salutatorian, Theresa Marcucci, offered some witty yet wise remarks. Theresa began by describing her struggle in writing this speech to address not only her fellow classmates but also their parents, peers, and teachers. Theresa even confessed to consulting ChatGPT, yielding no results but a description of the Class of 2023 as a “fearless flock of fabulous females.” Theresa then defined what many believe is a “corporate understanding of success.” This definition encompassed those who value a data-driven approach marked by accumulation of wealth and stature. 

For Theresa, what matters most is for someone to make a difference that has an “undeniable impact” on their community. She quoted a lyric from her favorite Andy Grammer song: “I am not merely an economic unit, I’m a human.” Theresa reminded us that we are called by God to honor and respect the dignity of others, with the care for His people and creation. 

Theresa also recounted some of her favorite memories of the Class of 2023. From Min Park’s dinosaur obsession to a debate over their class fish, Theresa emphasized that “simplicity, love, and connection connect the dots of life’s achievements.” In Theresa’s words, the Class of 2023 has been “tested, encouraged, and strengthened.” Their “love” for one another has and will always leave a lasting impact on them for years to come. She also encouraged everyone to remind themselves that your worth is not “defined by what college you attend” but rather your respect for the inherent dignity of others. 

Theresa Marcucci’s final words, as sung by Taylor Swift in her hit song “You’re On Your Own Kid,” brought everyone to tears: “So make the friendship bracelets, take the moment and taste it, you’ve got no reason to be afraid.” Instead of ending with “you’re on your own kid, you always have been,” she said that the Class of 2023 will never be alone because of the deep love and connection they have formed with one another in their time at Montrose.

Following Theresa’s remarks, the alumna address was given by Dr. Laura (Daher) Rabideau ‘03, Montrose Alum and Associate Medical Director at Tufts Medical Center Community Care in Wellesley. Known by her class as an avid creative writer, speech champion, thespian, and a beloved Montrosian, Dr. Rabideau’s enthusiasm for our beloved school shone through her entire speech. 

Dr. Rabideau began by describing the close and valued relationships she had formed with her classmates in her time at Montrose. Even after graduation, Dr. Rabideau described the many moments where, even through onset labor and marriage proposals, her friends from the Class of 2003 had fostered their close connections made at Montrose and sought to keep these friendships alive. 

In her professional career, Dr. Rabideau credits the overwhelming feelings of stress and confusion to the thought that “for every path you choose, there is one left behind.” Dr. Rabideau, receiving conflicting advice and guiding examples from colleagues, family, and friends, continually was asking the question: “How do you do it all?” 

Like a true, intellectually curious Montrosian would do, she sought and discovered the answer in a commencement address given by Shonda Rimes to Dartmouth’s graduation class in 2014. Shonda’s answer to this question: “You don’t.” Dr. Rabideau also quoted Saint Catherine of Siena: “I have not given everything to one person…All should be ministers of the gifts they have received from me.” 

Dr. Rabideau emphasized the importance of the Class of 2023 being givers and receivers of Christian love. She also remarked: “There is a peace in knowing that when you fall short, someone can give grace.” As a parent, Laura experiences this grace each and every day, learning that it is ok to receive help and grace when there is a short supply in her life. 

Just like the themes conveyed by Saint Therese of Lisieux and Theresa Marcucci’s salutatory address, Dr. Rabideau highlighted how heroism comes from the smallest places. Whether in an operating room, music hall, classroom, or a sports field, Montrose has bestowed on all its students, past, current, and future, the ability to discern their calling and “drown out the noise that does not matter in life.” Quoting our beloved and founding chaplain, Father Dick, Dr. Rabideau reminded the graduates that “to know God, to love Him, to serve Him on this earth, and to be happy with Him in heaven” is the most important advice for discovering our purpose and what we are called to do in life. When we make mistakes, we will be wiser because God will “speak to us in a million different ways.” 

Dr. Rabideau also highlighted the importance of understanding that God’s plan is a gift. It may not be what you expected or wished for, but it will help each and every one of us to find the peace in which the world cannot give. Finally, Dr. Rabideau asked the graduates to combat fear and uncertainty with the solidarity and discernment they have been given by their friends, family, teachers, mentors, and loved ones. Her final words brought smiles and inspired looks to every graduate’s face: “Go out there and surprise us.” 

After Dr. Rabideau’s inspiring words, there was the distribution of diplomas along with the beautiful written senior tributes. As a small school, all faculty and staff have the opportunity to honor each member of the graduating class by highlighting the unique talents and skills that each have contributed to the Montrose community. I always look forward to the funny yet memorable ways in which they are honored. 

Following the distribution of diplomas, Ava Russo offered the valedictory address. She began by remembering some of her favorite memories with the Class of 2023. Some include the trial of Dorian Grey in their AP Lit Class and the “cutthroat” 2023 senior assassin competition. Ava credits Montrose with an ability to nurture “Aristotelian virtue.” This understanding has helped not only herself, but also her classmates support and celebrate each other in many different ways. 

Concerning her class, Ava said: “Enthusiasm is the common variable.” For this year’s graduating class, I would agree with this statement wholeheartedly. Although the seniors will be spread across 6,500 miles at 21 different colleges and universities, Ava is confident that they will be able to “face the world with tenacity and compassion.” Ava also illustrated how Aristotle’s idea of a three-part soul has helped her to discover the truth, seek God, help others to flourish, and to experience the beautiful. Ava remarked: “The world needs more people who care for each other and embody the pillars of service.” She then called on the Class of 2023 to “embrace mistakes with faith and enthusiasm.” According to Ava, if we utilize our Montrose education as a foundation to explore new ideas, we will shape the world around us and make a positive, lasting impact. 

Concluding with a final blessing, the receiving line of teachers, and the hat toss in front of the Montrose M on Miracle Field, the Class of 2023 officially graduated. To the Class of 2023, thank you for your spirit, caring advice, and loving wisdom that you have shared in your time at Montrose. The student body, to whom you bid a fond farewell, will carry on the practical wisdom you have taught us and strive to value the little things in life given to us by our family, friends, teachers, and mentors.


By Kate Novack ‘24, Co-Editor-in-Chief and Features Editor