Thursday, June 17, 2010

Bay View valedictorian tells classmates it's time to 'leave comfort zone'

Warwick Beacon
June 17, 2010
Text by: Jennifer Cowart

Last Monday night at the Cathedral of Saints Peter and Paul, in Providence, St. Mary Academy, Bay View graduated 142 young women. This year, 24 graduates hailed from Warwick, including Ariana Santopietro, who ranked first in her class.

Santopietro addressed her class during the commencement ceremonies congratulating them on completing their four years at Bay View.

“The famous Beatles song begins, ‘There are places I’ll remember all my life, though some have changed, some forever, not for better, some have gone and some remain,’” Santopietro said. “Reflecting on the last four years at Bay View, we will have many of these same feelings,” she said.

Santopietro shared with the audience her understanding that although many of the students, like herself, had anticipated graduation day with excitement, there were still others who were dreading the day, as it meant being pushed out of their “ultimate comfort zone.”

“For my sister students feeling as I do, all I can do is offer my sincere congratulations. These last four years have been long and at times, such as the last month, they have felt as if they would never end. However, we made it through relatively in tact, and we have our entire futures ahead of us,” she said.

For students who are looking at the future with mixed emotions, Santopietro was reassuring.

“What I can offer you is the assurance that you are prepared to step forward in your lives. Bay View has prepared us in terms of both strong education and enduring relationships. I am confident that there is no group of women better than our class to take on the world,” she said, adding, “The uncertainty of the future may seem scary now, but it is this uncertainty, and the surprises that come with it that make life worth living.”

Bay View’s President Sister Elizabeth McAuliffe echoed Santopietro’s sentiments during her graduation address by quoting the poet E. E. Cummings.

“To be nobody but yourself in a world that is doing its best, night and day, to make you everybody but yourself, means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight and never stop fighting,” McAuliffe read.

She recognized the choice Santopietro’s parents and the parents of the rest of the class made when choosing a Bay View education for their children. “Those who love you chose a Mercy education for you. They wanted you to find you, with all your many facets.”

Santopietro instilled her philosophy of life upon her sister graduates, saying, “I live by the saying that everything happens for a reason and I implore you to do the same. No matter what the future has in store, I am sure you will approach challenges with the same boldness and poise with which you have tackled problems over the past four years.”

McAuliffe challenged the graduates with the following words: “Great responsibility awaits you. Our world awaits you; a world where women and children, in particular, are very vulnerable. Make a difference in their lives.”

Santopietro reminded her fellow graduates that their graduation day was in fact, a turning point in their lives, whether for better or for worse.

“Today is about looking to the future, and looking towards what we will become after we leave this stage of our lives. As I look at my sister graduates, I no longer see individuals for who they were, but for who they will be: future business leaders, doctors, musicians, teachers and maybe even a president. The future is boundless for us.”

Bay View graduates from Warwick are:
Molly Alves *
Alexandra Baccari *
Amanda Blezard *
Adria Bonaccorsi !*
Maria Christianson *
Lindsay Coffey !*
Katherine Coutu *
Kayleigh Doherty !*
Kelly Harrop !*
Laura Hattoy
Megan Holmes !*
Elizabeth Jones *
So Youn Kweon !*
Hannah Lawson !*
Lauren Mancini
Cristina Marcello
Gina Marzilli
Allison Menard
Elizabeth Miller !*
Christine Nguyen !*
Katelyn Perlini !*
Erika Pistacchio *
Connielyn Ramos !*
Ariana Santopietro !*
Jordan Werner *

! represents National Honor Society
* represents Rhode Island Honor Society

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