Ursuline News

Graduation 2022: Valedictorian and Salutatorian Speeches

Read excerpts of the speeches given by Valedictorian Jamie Lim and Salutatorian Sarah Grace Kerber at the Graduation Ceremony for the Class of 2022 on May 22, 2022.

These excerpts will also appear in The Texas Catholic.

Excerpts from Jamie Lim's Valedictory Address

I believe that service is not service until you fail to gain anything but the pure joy of helping another person. We must remember to balance our ambitions with a humble and selfless concern for the greater community. Through opportunities like senior service, our class has learned incredible ways to give back – whether working at a food pantry, teaching children to read, or caring for shelter animals. But the Serviam spirit can also be embodied in everyday actions, namely the kindness and love that we show to those around us.

For example, I have always felt at home in the Philippines, where my extended family lives. But when my grandparents passed away last year, the thought of flying back became less appealing. I realized that what I loved about the Philippines was not the food nor the shopping nor the adventure, but rather the fact that my grandparents were there. I share this story because I want to emphasize the beauty of impacting someone’s life so much so that you are the reason they feel at home in a foreign place. That, I believe, is a hallmark of the Serviam spirit.

As we prepare to leave for college, I would also like to highlight the importance of maintaining a strong character and good work ethic. As Albus Dumbledore once explained (shoutout to our junior intramurals theme of Harry Potter), “it is not our abilities that show what we truly are. It is our choices.” Someone once told me that he did not know how ordinary he was until he went to college and met all these young geniuses from around the world. I say, do not adopt this discouraging mindset nor let it hinder your success.

You have all heard of the saying, hard work beats talent when talent does not work hard. Acknowledge and work on your weaknesses; recognize and capitalize on your strengths. We have all been blessed with gifts. There will always be someone in a better position; there will always be someone in a worse position. But that does not matter. What matters is what we choose to do with our gifts, how far we choose to go, and how meaningful of an impact we choose to make in this world.

I want to end with a quote from Doc, a reference to our senior intramurals theme of Back to the Future: “Roads? Where we’re going, we don’t need roads.” There is no set path for each of us because we are marking our own unique paths with every passing day. So no, we do not need to drive along a pre-built road. Be brave. We already have what we need to go far in life – a brilliant mind, a compassionate heart, a place to call home, a strong support system, and the Serviam spirit. Now, all we need to do is make the choice, hit the gas pedal, and accelerate into the next chapter of our lives.

Excerpts from Sarah Grace Kerber's Salutatory Address

Two hundred and nine women will graduate today as part of the magnificent Class of 2022, reaping the rewards for four years of hard work and complete dedication. All those late-night study sessions, the increasing love for coffee (mostly iced coffee, if my observations are correct), and the time spent crafting persuasive arguments as to why we don’t necessarily have to take that quiz or test today have all meant something. That something is made tangible today.

The Class of 2022 is fundamentally resilient. Our sisterhood has stood the test of time—from learning the ropes freshman year, to devastating intramural defeats and COVID sophomore year, to academic intensity in junior year, and finally to our college decisions in senior year—we’ve weathered it all together.

Among my favorite Ursuline traditions are the pins we all put on our blazers. At the beginning of freshman year, each of us started out with this crisp, plain blazer. We all received our very first pin at the same time, at freshman convocation, where we were officially initiated into the Ursuline community. And from that point on, each of our blazers slowly became different. Our blazers became a unique representation of who we are and what we are most passionate about; yet, the blazer itself, the foundation, remains the same. Although we are individuals, we are forever united in Ursuline sisterhood. Our blazer reminds us of the place that encouraged each of us in those unique pursuits and passions that define us.

Every single one of these graduates, with their own different combinations of blazer pins, has brought something beautiful to Ursuline.

While I am sad to leave this wonderful community we’ve built, I can only be encouraged by the fact that in our departure from one another, each of us will take a piece of Ursuline with them—that Serviam spirit will continue to spread across the globe, as each Ursuline girl plants the seeds for a new community filled with the same generosity and passion. I know that each person here will go on to do great things—I’m already in awe of everything that you’ve accomplished. I am, above all, proud to be graduating with such an extraordinary class, so I must end by saying thank you. Thank you Class of 2022, and congratulations! I love you all.