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Last week at the Farewell Assembly, Mr. Adler announced that Madelyn Blum was the Valedictorian for the Class of 2014.  She will be attending McDonogh School in the fall.  As Valedictorian, Madelyn spoke at the Graduation Ceremony, a beautiful evening ceremony held in the St. James Church.

We would like to share with you Madelyn’s speech.
Madelyn Blum, Valedictorian for the Class of 2014

Good evening, Mr. Adler, Mrs. Dembo, Mrs. Fowler, Mrs. Davolos, Fr. Hailey, Fr. Barten, teachers, administrators, parents, and fellow classmates. I am so honored to be able to speak tonight as our time at St. James comes to an end. I’m here to reflect on some memories that I’ve had at St. James Academy and of course, graduate with the rest of my class. It’s hard to believe that just nine months ago we were starting off our final year at SJA. There were so many things to look forward to… like Disney, Hershey Park, and of course, not having to take final exams. Oh well, two out of three isn’t so bad. All that’s behind us now, and all we have left to do is graduate.

 While there are a lot of things I am going to miss about St. James, let’s start with a list of my top three things I won’t miss…

#3: ALEKS. Not my brother Alex, but the computer program. I don’t think anyone will miss ALEKS. Especially when you think you’re about to finish your objective and then ALEKS gives you the gift of an assessment.

#2: Mr. Walsh’s science tests. We’re in 8th grade Mr. Walsh, not college. Not yet anyway. But thanks to you we’ll know what to expect.

#1: You all were probably expecting this… the number one thing I won’t miss is: Running the Path in gym. All I have to say is WE ARE SO DONE WITH THIS.

 And now for the top three things I will miss the most.

#3: The teachers. We’ve been so lucky to have great teachers who have been dedicated to helping us learn and prepare us for high school and life. We really appreciate all that you have done for us and can’t thank you enough for your time, guidance and support. We will miss you next year.

#2: The SJA community. We are so grateful for the faculty, staff, parents, and fellow students who make St. James the amazing community it is today. As we move forward to different schools, we can only hope to find a sense of community as incredible as the one here at St. James.

And the #1 thing I think we will all miss: Our classmates. The friendships we have made over the years will no doubt last well beyond our time at St. James. We are, and will remain, part of the St. James family forever.

 There are so many great memories from my years at SJA. Who could forget the Character Parade, where Jack Owen’s Patrick Paranoid taught us to always watch our back? Or when we took ballroom dancing and learned how to do the waltz? It’s impossible to forget our middle school trip to Sheridan. Despite all the bugs, we learned how to work together as a team and strengthened our friendships with each other. And how about the time when Scott ran into a wall and we got out of running? Thanks again, Scott, that was one of my favorite gym classes. I’ll always remember working with Kathryn, Ellie, and Allie on our trilogy of film masterpieces for our history classes. One day when Allie is a famous director, I’ll say… I knew her when.

 I came across a great quote I wanted to share with everyone. I feel like it’s good advice for the future. It comes from a speech Oprah Winfrey gave at Harvard University, she said, “It doesn’t matter how far you might rise. At some point you are bound to stumble… if you’re constantly pushing yourself higher… the law of averages predicts that you will at some point fall. And when you do, remember this: There is no such thing as failure. Failure is just LIFE trying to move us in another direction.”

 In closing, I will end with a final quote, this one from Ellen Degeneres and its great advice for me, my fellow graduates and everyone else… “Follow your passion, stay true to yourself, NEVER follow someone else’s path… Unless you’re lost in the woods and you SEE a path… then by all means you should follow that… Be true to yourself and everything will be fine”.

On behalf of myself and the Class of 2014, thank you … we look forward to moving forward and doing great things with our lives but will always remember our time at St. James.