Addressing the Senior Class

by Samantha Boccia ’16, now at Georgetown University

Let me begin by expressing our sincere gratitude to our parents, families, friends, teachers, and all who helped us get where we are today.

It feels like just yesterday that I walked through a sea of green in the gym at our Freshman Orientation in August 2012, but that was almost four years ago.

I reflect on how nervous all of us must have been as we were thrown into a room full of our new classmates, the majority of which we had never met before. And yet, I can’t imagine a day that I didn’t know each and every one of you.

From the freshman locker hallway to the senior lounge, we have all developed into successful young women, friends connected by shared memories, wearers of the same ring, personifications of the color green, and sisters united through Kairos.

And when we reached the senior lounge, we knew it was only a matter of time before we left it. Nevertheless, there are two things that ring true.

Our legacy will live on in the heart of Holy Child and the Holy Child spirit will live on in our hearts. When we walk out of these doors as graduates today, remember that this does not mean our class will be forgotten. As a student in, and leader of this class, I have time and time again seen the in-erasable imprint we have worked so hard to leave on the Holy Child community.
For example, our Opening Day Senior dance was reviewed across the board as the best in school history, and we have consistently had the loudest cheer section at any given spirit event, complete with water bottle shakers, drum sets, and the screams of 58 competitive young women.

But most importantly, we broke down barriers between classes. Sure, for Opening Day, the army theme elicited intimidation, and during Spirit Week, we competed for domination, but I have never heard of, or been a member of, a student body more integrated than that of this year’s at Holy Child.

We brought the school together, demonstrating that as the leaders of the school, we relish in this position, but do not exploit it. We formed friendships with younger classes and made connections with others in the school without bias.

I witnessed the strength of our student body’s bond during Color Day this past Spirit Week. After an exhausting day of competitions, one would assume the day would end with each class going their separate ways, perhaps holding grudges about crossing a finish line too late in the Wheelbarrow Race, or having a chair taken out from under them in Musical Chairs.

But instead, after listening to the final results of Spirit Week, we had a dance party together.
In fact, the pictures that captured the dance show one large group dancing in the center of the gym, orange, blue, purple, pink, and green, all mixed together, forming a rainbow that truly represents our school as a whole.

The experience revealed to me that although we have class spirit, as we each take pride in the color we represent, we also have school spirit, as we value being united as Holy Child Tigers.

Likewise, as we head out of these doors as graduates today, remember that the spirit of Holy Child is not left behind. In fact, in the words of the Holy Child cheer that we could never quite get down:

You may journey far and yonder to where the end of nowhere starts, but however far you wander you’ll hear it echo in your hearts, RA RA, when the last grey shades have fallen and life’s long journey’s through, you’ll hear the HC spirit calling out to you.

It is a reminder that although we are moving on to new and bigger experiences, some outside of our comfort zone, and outside the walls of Holy Child, we are forever influenced by our experience and what we learned here.
This sure does include BELIEVE and Actions not Words.

First, live by Actions not Words. Take action with your passions and your beliefs. Don’t be a bystander to injustice. Speak up for those without a voice. Be present for those in need.
Stand up to the haters. Challenge the wrong and the ignorant. Make it happen, whatever it is. Work for your goals. Be courageous. And approach a challenge with vigor.

Finally, live by BELIEVE. In all honesty, this may be a challenge you will have to approach openly. Especially in today’s society, it isn’t easy for girls to believe in themselves.

We are all swimming against the tide of socially-constructed pressures to be perfect
and prevalent gender discrimination. But, remembering to BELIEVE will provide you with the strength to stay afloat.

Approach this unforeseen journey with confidence. Believe in yourself. Be your version of yourself, not society’s. Blaze your own trail. And do not be afraid to take pride in the great things you accomplished in the past and will accomplish in the future.

But in terms of the present, I hope you are as proud of yourselves today as we were of ourselves when we won Group Day as freshman, carrying on the Green Group Day winning tradition for the fifth year.

We are at the culmination of four years that required profound determination and diligence. And, in the words of Harvey Mackay, “a great accomplishment shouldn’t be the end of the road, just the starting point for the next leap forward.”

Congratulations, Class of 2016. We did it!