With the school year quickly coming to an end and graduation right around the corner, seniors are in full swing ready to move their tassel from right to left.
With commencement just over a month away, there was one important role that needed to be filled to lead that transition; the valedictorian.
Meet this years valedictorian, Taylor Barker.
Barker, Pre-K-4 Elementary Education with Pre-K-12 Special Education major, said that throughout her four years at Cabrini, it has been anything but shy of opportunities.
She has been in the honors program for the last four years, as well as being on the President’s List for eight consecutive semesters. She is also a member of Cabrini’s Alpha Lambda Delta Honor Society, the Sigma Rho chapter of the Kappa Delta Pi Honor Society and the Delta Xi chapter of the Delta Epsilon Sigma Honor Society.
Barker has also participated in field experience opportunities in the education field, including the Florida field immersion trip to Naples, Florida.
She has been a member of the Cabrini Dance Team all four years, including being on their executive board. She has held the position of Treasurer for one year and the position of captain for two and a half years.
“I have worked towards providing a positive, safe environment for dancers to thrive and be inspired. I promote new opportunities in terms of the Cabrini dance team being both an athletic club and a student-run organization,” she said.
Barker also has organized events and performances for the dance team, including halftime at Sixers games, Phillies games and Cabrini’s basketball and baseball games. Through the dance team, she has had the opportunity to volunteer at various alumni events, including ‘Christmas at Cabrini’ and ‘Breakfast with the Bunny.’
Furthermore, she has been involved in awareness events, such as a Breast Cancer Support fundraiser, Lupus Support fundraiser and Cabrini’s Cav-a-thon event. Additionally, she serves as a representative for Cabrini’s Student Athletic Advisory Committee (SAAC).
“I really like that [Cabrini] viewed their chosen valedictorian through a holistic view, focusing on various aspects of the student and their active involvement with Cabrini. It makes me feel accomplished as a well-rounded student,” she said.
Barker said that when she got the call so quickly that she had been chosen, she was in complete shock. “I was the happiest, most thrilled I had been in a long time. Prior to my draft speech presentation, I had a rough day filled with a lot of different emotions. Therefore, when I got the call that I was selected, I was completely filled with joy and pride.”
She expressed how proud of herself she was being selected among the many students deserving of this honor. “This is a great way to summarize the diligence I have displayed in my four years at Cabrini,” she said.
Barker, just like anyone else, had to overcome challenges, her’s being time management.
“I have always been involved in many different activities inside and outside of school. At one point in my college career, I was juggling a semester of being a full-time student, the captain of the Cabrini dance team, working 20 hours per week, working out, field experience once a week, babysitting every weekend, homework and maintaining a social life all at once. I also work as an assistant teacher at a childcare center, when I am not a full-time student teacher,” she said.
“This is a challenge because it is all things that I love to do and I did not want to give anything up, but I kept finding myself pulled between being overwhelmed and grateful for every opportunity that I had.”
However, Barker always made it a point to realize how grateful she was to be able to participate in so many things that she loves.
This year, the graduation ceremony is even more special, with all of the commencements being held inperson.
“I am incredibly grateful that I am able to speak in front of the Class of 2022 at in-person commencement ceremonies. With so many changes in the past two years, we cannot take things for granted that used to be certain and typical. Getting the chance to speak in-person at all commencement ceremonies is a true honor,” Barker said.
After graduation, Barker will work as a summer Stepping Up teacher in the Phoenixville area school district as well as currently applying for many different Pre-K-4 Elementary teaching positions. She also has the opportunity to study abroad in Florida for a semester with the Disney College Program.
“I would tell future students with the goal of valedictorian, or students in general, to always be themselves. It’s important to find a healthy balance between schoolwork and social life. Know when to prioritize self-care. Know how to develop a strong work ethic and pay attention to all of the remarkable moments that get you to your end goals. Hold onto valuable relationships and create a life that you love in these important years!”