The Ultimate Two: Valedictorian and Salutatorian

Written  By Elizabeth Bradley |
Cover Photo by Outlook Press 

Congratulations to The Morgan School Class of 2014 Valedictorian and Salutatorian: Emily Cuseo and Stacie Candela

Webster Dictionary defines valedictorian as “The student having the highest rank in a graduating class who delivers the valedictory address at the commencement exercises” otherwise known as graduation. Webster Dictionary also defines salutatorian as “The student having the second highest rank in a graduating class who delivers the salutatory address at the commencement exercises.” Although these definitions are correct and informative, I don’t believe they come even close to covering how hard Emily and Stacie worked for these titles. My own definition of a valedictorian and salutatorian would be, “the top two students, who in the past four years of high school have dedicated all of their time, including sleep, and effort to learning as well as stepping up to any challenges and handling them gracefully along the way.” As Vice President of the Class of 2014, I am more than proud to have Emily and Stacie represent us.

EmilyValedictorian Emily Cuseo, is attending the University of New Haven in the fall. She is living on campus and has planned to double major in forensic science and chemistry. Next Wednesday, June 18th at 6:00 pm the commencement ceremony will begin, and Emily will share the speech she has been preparing for weeks. I asked her what it was like to be valedictorian, and she had a rather humble response. She said, “I didn’t really think much of it.  I was able to put it on college applications, but it didn’t really have an effect on me until these last couple weeks when I realized I had to write a speech for graduation. So that has been a little stressful, but besides that, being valedictorian is rather uneventful.”

Emily had a demanding course schedule that helped her prepare for a future in forensics:”I took honors or AP classes for my core classes, plus Spanish, band and graphic design.  My senior year, I relaxed more in English, taking Creative Writing and Film Study, and in social studies, taking Philosophy and Criminal Law, so that I could focus on my AP math and science classes since that is the direction I am going into in college.  My classes helped me get into the top ten because they were higher-level courses, and I managed to do well in them, so they boosted my GPA.  Plus, I found the workload helpful as a preparation for my college years.”

Senior Erika Renkl can attest to Emily’s hard work and determination. She said, “She’s a genius, no, but seriously she works her butt off for what she has, and she really deserves it. She’s going far in life because she’ll always be better than he rest, but in a good way.” Although school has been important to Emily, she still made time for her extra curricula such as the Environmental Club, National Honors Society, Uganda Club, and the High School Bowl Team. Also, for the past 16 years, Emily has done gymnastics, first at Gymnastics World then Campbell’s Gymnastics. People may know that Emily also went to a fire spinning and circus arts retreat last summer, and she is going to continue with the skills she learned, including poi and hula-hoop! Emily would like to leave these words of advice, “I would say that the best thing to do is try your hardest; do your homework even if it’s annoying and ask for help when you need it.  Make the best of high school while it lasts.  Go out, have fun, and be yourself.”

Salutatorian Stacie Candela is attending Middlesex Community College in Middletown in the fall. She is commuting and has aStacie plan to earn her associates degree in engineering science. I was curious as to what course load propelled Stacie to the number two spot, and she said,  “I have taken all honors and AP classes. I’m in the honors program-during my time at Morgan. This rigorous set of courses helped me stay focused and hard-working. They were all great classes that I recommend to any incoming student. I would hope that the words “honors” and “advanced placement” would not scare anyone away because they sound too hard because they’re not all that bad, and they’re quite rewarding in the end. The classes I’ve taken have definitely prepared me for anything that college might throw at me, and the skills of patience, organization, note-taking, and overall the math, reading, writing, and science I’ve learned will all be useful in the future no matter what I do.”

Senior Sarah Anderson, who admires Stacie’s character and charisma, had this to say, “Stacie is honestly such a nice and awesome person. Whatever she chooses to do with her life, she will be great at because of her kind personality.” During Stacie’s time here at Morgan she was a member of the High School Bowl team, co-president of the ‘Straight but Not Narrow’ club, member of the Environmental Club, and president of the Uganda Club. Although school work has taken much of her other time, she said, “Now that it’s summer I hope to “find myself.” In a last piece of advice to underclassmen and future Morgan students, Stacie said, “I would never do any bit of my life differently because how things happen is how they are supposed to happen. Do I wish I didn’t procrastinate so much? Well, of course, but I still would never change any of my high school career because I like it how it was: full of craziness and last-minuteness and ‘wonderfulness’. Do what you like to do. Never shy away from something because it’s not “cool” or whatever. Follow your heart, and you’ll find what’s right for you. Never give up!”

2 responses to “The Ultimate Two: Valedictorian and Salutatorian

  1. Wow, one of the longest articles I have read on the Pawprint! Awesome job. I liked reading about the classes that Emily took senior year. She seemed so modest about her role as salutatorian, although it is a very large accomplishment. It was great how a quote from Sarah Anderson was included about Stacie.. just something to add about her peers view on her, instead of the quotes from Stacie specifically.

    Like

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