Ursuline News

Graduation 2018: Valedictorian and Salutatorian Speeches
Graduation 2018: Valedictorian and Salutatorian Speeches

Read excerpts of the speeches given by Valedictorian Anna Grace Rehagen and Salutatorian Isabella Rose Mihalic at the Graduation Ceremony for the Class of 2018 on May 27, 2018.

These excerpts will also appear in The Texas Catholic. View photo album.

Excerpts from Anna Grace Rehagen's Valedictory Address

It's safe to say that there have been more than a few bumps on the long road that brought us here today. Each girl on this stage has overcome her own hardships, great and small, and as a class we have endured difficulties preparing us for the journey ahead.

We have been challenged to look at problems from multiple angles, never confining ourselves to one assumption or opinion. In morality class we questioned the world around us and applied Catholic teaching to modern scenarios. We lost sleep over solving mind-boggling equations and learning the periodic table by heart. We benefited from the honest criticism and insightful guidance of English teachers as they edited fifteen-page essays. We studied Chinese, Arabic, Spanish, and French and many of us traveled thousands of miles to experience life alongside our Ursuline Sisters abroad. We pushed our creative abilities in art, music, and theater, and physical abilities in nearly a dozen different sports.

Our teachers and mentors have done more than test the limits of our memorization skills, and at times our sanity. Our minds and hearts have been cultivated, and we depart with tools that we will retain long after we receive our diplomas tonight...We find consolation in the knowledge that we have become young women who speak our minds without fear, who serve without hesitation, and who go great lengths to achieve success without trampling others in the process...

Class of 2018, it is now our turn to work for the benefit of all. Following in the footsteps of the six Ursuline Sisters who founded this school in 1874 and honoring the legacy of our beloved Sister Margaret Ann Moser and her companions, we perpetuate the spirit of Serviam that has stirred the hearts of Ursuline girls for generations. Thanks to the education we have received at Ursuline Academy, we know better than to take headlines at face value; we analyze, evaluate, and think for ourselves.We are activists, not bystanders. We are advocates for those whose voices are not heard and defenders of those whose value is forgotten.

My classmates, fellow graduates, sisters, and friends. I am unbelievably proud of your accomplishments and perseverance up to this point, and cannot wait to see where your futures lead. You enrich the lives of those around you, from the new friends we will meet in the next few months to the lifelong friends who stand at our sides today.

Thank you for your kindness, loyalty, and constant encouragement. Thank you for your flexibility and spirit of innovation when things haven't gone exactly to plan. Most importantly, thank you for your willingness to give of yourself, holding nothing back, for the good of our class, our school, and all those whose lives we've touched during these four years.

Excerpts from Isabella Rose Mihalic's Salutatory Address

Soon after we arrived at Ursuline, our English teachers introduced us to the Hero's Journey, a basic pattern that many heroic narratives such as The Odyssey, The Hobbit, and even Star Wars follow. In this pattern, the hero enters a special world in which she encounters various trials that ultimately transform her and aid her in bringing positive change to the ordinary world. Our journey through Ursuline closely follows this pattern.

Along the way, we met our mentors: older students who participated in the same activities we did, the teachers we had, and the administrators and staff ... We began to filter out what we weren't interested in to discover what we were truly passionate about. We learned about the power of women in our English classes, we became more familiar with our mentors, and we strengthened our relationships with our classmates and with God at our retreat. We juggled our intense schoolwork, rigorous SAT and ACT preparation, and our various extracurricular activities.

Junior year ... We decided to make America our Intramurals theme ... and our (heroes') ordeal reared its ugly head when we heard 4th in video, 4th in hallway, and 4th in spirit ... Many would have begun assigning blame, but not this class, not my sisters. Our passion for intramurals and our close bond worked in tandem instead of opposition, and we turned our attention to senior year: our year of redemption.

Senior year has been the culmination of our journey as Ursuline girls: we joyfully embodied the spirit of Serviam in our senior service projects, we celebrated our classmates at our Community Days talent show ... But most of all, we conquered our ordeal in the best possible fashion. After weeks of late nights painting hallway panels and three days of screaming at the top of our lungs, we pulled off what many had thought impossible: a senior sweep (at Intramurals).

Once the hero conquers her trials, she receives a gift to bring back to the ordinary world. Our gifts are the unique set of passions each of us has discovered and the support we will always have from each other.

My beautiful sisters, today we stand poised to return to the ordinary world and go our separate ways. The hero's responsibility upon her return to the ordinary world is to use her gift to bring about positive change. Whether it's for STEM, English, art, theater, sports, or your faith, each of you puts your heart and soul into every aspect of what you do. Just as the Ursuline Sisters worked tirelessly to build this school into the beautiful force for change it is today, you must never lose that diligence and tenacity that defines our class.

Class of 2018 ... I can't wait to see where your next journey takes you. I am fully confident that with these passions and our unbreakable bond, we will be the heroes that change this world for the better.