Valedictorian, Lindsay Taylor, Delivers Remarks to Class of 2024

Valedictorian, Lindsay Taylor, Delivers Remarks to Class of 2024

Lindsay Taylor is the Class of 2024 valedictorian. In the fall of 2024, Lindsay will attend California Institute of Technology. 

 

"How do you commemorate excellence? How do you animate a million miniscule

moments in a matter of mere minutes? That’s what I am attempting to do today.

Specifically, to total the triumphs and tribulations, memories and mementos,

successes and setbacks of the Class of 2024 in the hope of illustrating how our

shared Sacred Heart experience has profoundly impacted all of us for the better.

I wanted to commence with an excerpt from one of our dear Dr. Mottolese’s

favorite essays and prayers, “Oremus” by Padraig O Tuama.

 

“Prayer, like poetry, like breath, like our own names, has a fundamental rhythm in

our bodies. It changes, it adapts, it varies from the canon. It sings, it swears, it is

syncopated by the rhythm underneath the rhythm, the love underneath the love, the

rhyme underneath the rhyme, the name underneath the name, the welcome

underneath the welcome, the prayer beneath the prayer. So let us pick up the stones

over which we stumble, friends, and build altars.”

 

Now, throughout my 5 year journey at Sacred Heart, I have stumbled over quite a

few stones. From the infamous freshman year French test to my personal struggles

I have faced countless challenges in pursuit of true excellence. Whether that be a

grade on a test or an acceptance letter from a college, I never considered myself

“good enough” let alone “excellent.” Oftentimes, I struggled to consider myself

good. If excellence stema from the root of “excel,” how then can this stem from

our innately infallible lives?

 

In life, it is so easy to let our missteps define us. We’ve all been there, late for

some event or other, feeling like we are the worst person on Earth for it. But really,

I don’t think most of us realize what true excellence is. It is during my time at

Sacred Heart that I have learned that excellence is in the rhythm of our bodies, in

the intricacies and imperfections that make us unique and human.

 

I think we all get blindsided by numbers sometimes. We try to quantify our reality

in a way that makes its mystery more tangible and comprehensible. While that

might work when we look inwards, often fragmenting our spirits and crippling our

confidence, it fails when we look at the beauty and breadth of those we love.

When I look at my classmates, the thing that sticks out to me is their character.

Sharp, witty, warm. Unique. Good. Great. Reflecting the beauty of themselves and

the world around them.

 

I also think about the memories contained within each of the little worlds we call

our minds. The way that our education and our communities have shaped every

one of us. Now, for me, our education hasn’t only been in decrypting the motifs in

English class or unpacking the roots of the Civil War in APUSH, but it has also

been in the lunchrooms, tears, and laughter that we have shared allowing us to

develop into a unique class.

 

I started by asking how we commemorate excellence, and I believe there is a

simple answer to this question. We can’t. Excellence is as alive as each one of us.

It is in the Earth we trip over, it is in the books we study, it is in our fingers, in our

wild hair. It’s in our spirit. It is the rhythm and rhyme of our breath. It is in the love

of God that fills our very being.

 

Sacred Heart has allowed me to unlock this perspective. It has allowed me to look

at the light that is brought about through the darkest of night, hold hands with the

unknown, and listen to the voice of the universe. Over the course of my four years

in Upper School, I have struggled with self-image and depression. After the

COVID-19 pandemic, I think many of us have experienced similar challenges with

not feeling adequate and excellent compared to our peers. But through it all, the

one thing I could count on was the people around me. My classmates, faculty, and

community showed me the excellence that comes from embracing the common

rhythm of the world and turning our failure into the very thing that we worship.

That allows us to uplift others and show them the light. These people looked at me

with goodness, kindness, and faith. Faith in me and in the world. Faith that

together we were great. Faith that this universe needs all of us.

 

Throughout my time at Sacred Heart, this school has become an altar, the place

where our challenges turn into our greatest triumphs, and where our uncertainties

turn into wonder. At Sacred Heart, I have learned that it is our pain and

vulnerability that allows us to heal others. It is our very weakness, our humanity

that makes us strong. As we move on, the most critical thing that I ask my

classmates to take into their futures is this kaleidoscope of life. Let us take our

brokenness and reflect rainbows. Let us take our struggles and reflect hope. Let us

remember that we are all one–individual but part of the vast and beautiful whole

that is Sacred Heart Greenwich. The world needs all of us." 

Click here to watch Class of 2024 Graduation Livestream