“Have courage. Go forward. Make noise.”

Good evening. My name is Gillian Earl. I am the Salutatorian of the Class of 2015, but more importantly, I am a part of the class that contributed to the most incredible four years of my life. I know I do not speak alone when I say it has also been the most challenging four years of my life. Tears have been shed, laughs have been shared, and memories have been made.

What is most special about Academy is that we have a special bond no other school can brag about. Academy women are comfortable in their own skin. We do not hide behind makeup or looks. We love and respect each other for what really counts. We support each other in our adventures, our struggles, and our victories. We want each other to succeed.

The theme for this school year was “Celebrating each other, creating a family.” This phrase is so important to our class – we truly celebrate each other; we really are a family. We celebrate our differences and new ideas; we celebrate the various flavors that each of us brings to our class. Through this special bond of love and support, we form one big family, a sisterhood. The warmth and kindness and sense of family at Academy is never ending. It is abundant in joy and faith and spirit.

My personal experience at Academy would not have been possible without my family. Thank you, Dad, for sacrificing so that I can have the best education possible. You work so hard for our family. You are my number one role model for working hard and never giving up.

Thank you to my brother, Joshua, for setting the best example possible. You are so humble in all that you do. I aspire to be the kind of student and person you are. I know you will become a great doctor someday.

Thank you, Mom. You are my biggest supporter and my best friend. Through countless late nights of homework and studying, you are right by my side. And though I hate to admit it, you are the best quizzer in the whole entire world. Most importantly, however, I thank my family for instilling a strong foundation of faith. I want to thank Academy, all the teachers, Sisters, administration, and students for further implanting that message of faith and love. I would not be the graduate I am today without my faith.

And finally, I want to say thank you to the Class of 2015, my sisters. We have journeyed together, and now we are at our destination. This does not mean our bond of love and friendship is over. We will always be a family, no matter where we go.

I want to leave my class with a final quote: “Have courage. Go forward. Make noise.” Remember these simple and straight to the point words from Pope Francis. I hope we all find our own way to make noise in the world, purely of faith and love. May our noise be filled with the values and appreciation that we learned at Academy.

I wish all my sisters the best of luck in college and beyond. I love you all. Thank you.