Salutatorian, Avery Kim, Addresses the Class of 2024

Salutatorian, Avery Kim, Addresses the Class of 2024

Avery Kim is the Class of 2024 salutatorian. In the fall of 2024, Avery will attend Cornell University. 

To all the family and friends gathered here in this unforgettable

moment: your presence in celebration of the achievements of the

graduating class means a great deal to us. To all the teachers who

join us today: I express my heartfelt gratitude to you for educating

us to be the young women of character who we are and will

continue to be. To my 74 sisters:

 

The diplomas we have just received represent our academic

accomplishments, contained within the familiar Sacred-Heart-

Greenwich-green of these cases. And yet, our diplomas represent so

much more than our dedication to classwork. Like the gold lettering

pressed onto their covers, these certificates also show the shining

impact that this education has pressed into us as people.

 

When I reflect on the impact my SH education has had on me, the

question seems better framed as “what impact has my SH education

not had on me?” As a Lifer, my education here is inseparable from

my childhood, but I know I also speak for my peers who have joined

us throughout the years when I say that we have grown up here.

 

These grounds have been the backdrop for countless memories,

from our very first time under this tent as 5-year-olds practicing our

curtsies, to dance classes with Ms. Parker, corn husk dolls with Ms.

Bogin, and witch’s brew with Mrs. Carrasquero; from Middle

 

School gymnastics and 4-square and Mrs. DePeter’s brain spray spray and

brownie points, to playing Fireboy and Watergirl in between writing

essays about chocolate milk, or singing songs about cells and

organelles, or shouting Huzzah to win an Oreo from 8th grade Mr.

Maier.

 

I could go on and on about our shared memories-- the daily routine

of walking into the Core Center as Mrs. Bader is coming around the

corner, saying “Good morning Girls”; the small moments; the times

that seemed insignificant; the passing periods; the breaks and frees

where we met with teachers who believe in us and embraced friends

who love us. These moments are the bits of gold that are pressed

into our hearts.

 

Looking around at this place, my home, and these girls, my family,

the truth is that our graduation is bittersweet. I feel as if my years

here have been a gift from God. It feels like he’s been looking down

on this truly outstanding group of young women and saying “I love

you.” Now, in response, I say to God, “thank you, thank you so

much.” And yet, what he says back is, “when your parents say that

they love you, you don’t say thank you, do you? You say I love you

too.” And so I’m quiet for a moment, and then I say, “I love you

too.”

 

How will I show that in my life? Having received all these blessings

on this beautiful hill on King Street, how will I live my life in such a

way as to echo forward this love, passing on the impact that SH has

had on me?

 

As we learned in Mr. Martone’s class, love is not a feeling. It’s not

infatuation or happiness. Rather, it’s a choice. Love, as I’ve come to

see it, is something we’ve encountered each day at school, as our

educators chose to prioritize our growth and success as students and

people. Love is all the hours that Dr. Baptista spent working on our

research papers, as she guided us to become better writers. Love is

Mrs. Angiolillo letting us borrow her tape dispenser, and Sra. García

giving Nova her secret sweet treats, as they guided us to become

better friends. Love is when all the history teachers are standing

outside of their doors with the biggest and warmest smiles, greeting

us each by name even on early and exhausting mornings.

 

I think our class realizes the impact that this love has had on our

time here. After all, Jane chose to memorialize our school year with

the theme of Lead with Love. After so many moments where

faculty, staff, and other students have shown us their care, we now

have a desire and duty to echo that back, as Leaders, saying not only

“thank you,” but also, through our actions in the years to come, “we

love you, too.”

 

It is our 175th year as a school, and St. Madeleine Sophie is such an

inspiration to me, so I could hardly get away without quoting her

here. St. Madeleine Sophie said, “be humble, be simple, and bring

joy to others.” This call to humility, simplicity, and service may not

strike you, at first, as the epitome of a leader, but it is the epitome of

love. And I think that this love -- that is, the active choice to care for

others -- is the real meaning of leadership. A leader is not necessarily

the one who stands ahead of everyone with a blazing

torch, but a leader is the one who lights the world by lighting each

individual’s candle.

 

I will close by quoting Lana del Rey. As she sings in her song “The

Grants,” I’m gonna take mine of you with me. So I say to you, today,

on this remarkable occasion of accomplishment, I’m gonna take

mine of you with me. I’m gonna take my memories -- all the times

Emma Marvin scared Bella Nardis in the halls and all the times

Jaimie and Mrs McDonald saw each other and held up their hands in

the shape of a heart. I’m gonna take my values -- the faith, intellect,

service, community, and wisdom. And finally I’m gonna take with

me all the love in which we have flourished here -- the dedication of

our teachers, administrators, staff, and peers. In the weeks and years

to come, we’re gonna take all the love we have been given and echo

back “we love you too,” and echo it to the whole world around,

through each daily action we take, pressing these lessons like gold

into the hearts of everyone we encounter.

 

So with that, Class of 2024, I love you all more than words can say,

and CONGRATULATIONS! We did it!


Click here to watch Class of 2024 Graduation Livestream