Graduation 2018 Student Speaker

WSM_6357

Graduation 2018 Student Speaker:
Sheila McGuinness '18

"FOUR YEARS AGO, I walked across this very lawn for the first time as a Holy Child Tiger for my fres-hman orientation. I remember some things very vividly, like the older girls decked out in our class color of purple waiting to welcome me, and sitting in the library as Dr. Gomez welcomed her first freshmen class into Holy Child. Some things are a bit hazier, like the awkward icebreaker games we played, but I eventually ended up sitting in my homeroom, surrounded by nine other girls, who unbeknownst to me would become some of my closest friends and confidants. My advisor, Mr. Rosenberg, in an attempt to ease the nervous energy in the room, began to ask questions about our summers and give some advice about how to navigate the next four years. Two things he said have stayed with me since that day. First, he told us that by senior year we would never come to homeroom anymore, something that he has spent the past year denying he ever said.  Now he says that he didn’t really mean that and that yes, we still have to be present. But the second thing Mr. Rosenberg said really resonated with me because I just couldn’t fathom how it could be true. 'Make sure to make the most of high school, because four years might seem like a while, but it flies by faster than you’d think.' I didn’t believe him. Four whole years! How could that possibly go by quickly? But I blinked and here we are at our graduation, which seemed so far away that sunny August day, and we are about to embark on another four-year journey. Our high school experience has been marked by immense personal growth, some of which is evident externally, through our changed appearances and shorter skirts, but there have also been internal changes in each of us that aren’t as easy to spot.

Holy Child has instilled in each of us a deeply rooted sense of self-confidence and self-worth that cannot be shaken. The teachers and faculty have an unwavering belief in each of us, which allows us to believe in our-selves. We have been encouraged to go outside of any box that we may have inadvertently grown comfortable in for the first 14 or 15 years of our lives. Because of this our class is made up of lacrosse players that double as cast members in the play, swimmers that spearhead service organizations, and photographers that can ace a serve on the volleyball court. In our little bubble in Potomac, we have learned to seek out and embrace new opportunities, and not to fear failure.

We saw this example firsthand as a new era of Holy Child was ushered in during our time here. Throughout that time, the school has gone through a complete culture shift, including many small, but impactful changes. The teachers and administrators relied on us to be flexible as they made adaptations to everything from the sche-dule, to Blue/Gold, to the furniture in our classrooms. We were always given a chance to articulate both our praise and critiques, knowing that the administration would take our opinions into consideration. Their wi-llingness to listen to us taught us that real growth and innovation require taking risks. They allowed us to help mold a new and better version of the place that we have come to regard as a second home. Our class willingness to go with the flow, while at the same time voicing our opinions about what we wanted to stay the same—the warm, loving, faith filled environment, that is the Holy Child hallmark—helped transform Holy Child into the forward thinking, challenging, and progressive place it is today."