It took a plate of cheese fries and her two best friends to calm the nerves of Stephanie Iaccarino as she waited to hear if she would be the class of 2011 valedictorian. Less than half an hour after Iaccarino auditioned for the role, she received a phone call that put her at ease.
“It was around 5:15 p.m. when my phone rang and I noticed it was the 902 number synonymous with Cabrini College,” Iaccarino said. “Then Dr. Gingerich told me the news and confirmed my belief that I was going to be the valedictorian.”
Iaccarino, senior English and secondary education major, was ecstatic to receive the honor and she began working on her speech. “My speech is generally about the concept of commencement and how it is a new beginning even though we are ending a chapter of our lives,” Iaccarino said.
Iaccarino’s speech will be revised by Dr. Thomas Stretton for content and delivery.
“I am nervous because I view this honor as a responsibility to the class of 2011,” Iaccarino said. “This speech is less about me and more about the class as a whole.”
Receiving the honor of valedictorian is something that anyone should be proud of. Iaccarino credits her family, friends and professors for all of her life achievements.
“My parents gave me the incentive throughout my life to be the best that I could be,” Iaccarino said. “Because of them I have succeeded in so many things. I attribute all of my success to them.”
Iaccarino was academically successful throughout high school and was honored as salutatorian of Kennedy-Kenrick Catholic High School in Norristown, Pa. for the Class of 2007.
Iaccarino maintained around a 95 average cumulatively and was very active in both theatre and sports. Iaccarino carried her talents and interests on through college where she was involved in theatre, stage crew, choir and the Center for Teaching and Learning.
Throughout all four years, Iaccarino maintained a 4.0 GPA and was inducted in several honor societies including Alpha Lambda Delta.
Iaccarino’s parents, Anthony and Terry, were elated to find out that their daughter was chosen from several other worthy candidates. Anthony Iaccarino finds it extremely gratifying that the selection committee sees what he sees without the paternal bias. According to Iaccarino’s father, Cabrini represents exactly what he stresses in his life, being family-oriented.
“All the pieces of the puzzle are there, you just have to put in the time to sort them all out and properly assemble them,” Anthony Iaccarino said. “It is what you make it to be.”
He believes Cabrini had a positive effect on his daughter because it taught her responsibility. Her tells the story of how she had to give up playing volleyball to focus on other aspects of life including academics.
“Life is full of difficult choices, and one of the purposes of college, I believe, is to help you reason out a difficult decision,” Anthony Iaccarino said. “Even though she was not able to participate in a college sport, she was able to do so much more.”
Iaccarino’s mother, Terry, was one of the first people to receive the news about Iaccarino’s valedictorian honor.Terry Iaccarino believes her daughter took advantage of all the many different diverse classes and extracurricular activities Cabrini has to offer, especially the theatre program and singing at Sunday Mass.
“I know that Stephanie is grateful for all of the experiences she has had over the past four years,” Terry Iaccarino said. “It seemed as if it went by in a flash. It is a part of her life that I know she will never forget and nor will I.”
After college Iaccarino has plans of pursuing teaching, law or music. Her family is planning on being there for her no matter what.
“Steph has the complete support of her father and I as well as the rest of our family,” Terry Iaccarino said. “With some of God’s graces and a touch of humility I know that in my heart she will be a well-rounded successful person.” Iaccarino will debut her valedictorian speech Sunday, May 15, during the graduation of the Cabrini College class of 2011.
“I just hope that I am able to represent the class as best I can and give the class some final thoughts that will linger with them as they prepare for a new part of their lives to begin,” Iaccarino said.