Hard work pays off for valedictorian

By Kelsey Kastrava
April 20, 2010

The valedictorian of the class of 2010 was selected Friday, April 16 after careful consideration.

Shannon Winters, senior English and secondary education major, was humbled with gratitude when she received the news of her honorary position.

“When I found out I was very thankful,” Winters said. “I said ‘thank you’ 7,000 times when I got the phone call.”

Winters was always an honor student throughout her high school years at Archbishop Malloy High School in Queens, N.Y., but never at the top of her class.

“My high school was like a preparatory school so everyone did well. It was almost weird if you didn’t,” Winters said.

Winters considers that prep school environment to be the fuel behind her self-motivation in attaining academic success. In fact, she considers herself to be her biggest competition in life.

“I psych myself out if I don’t get the grade I hoped for. My dad was always like ‘if you get a 99 you have to get a 100,’” Winters said.

Winters was selected to represent the class of 2010 because of her heavy involvement on campus as well as maintaining a GPA of 3.5. Her activities on campus include the theater, chorus, academic honesty board, student ambassador, peer tutor, resident assistant and literary magazine.

Winters also belongs to three honors societies that are Sigma Rho, Lambda Ioda Tau and is vice president of Delta Epsilon Sigma. To cap off her extra curricular endeavors she is spending the final semester of her college career student teaching in Kennedy Kendrick in Norristown, PA.

The committee who selected who would be making the valedictorian speech included Dr. Thomas Stretton, Jr., assistant professor of education. Stretton explained that Winters’ reading of her rough draft speech during her audition was another factor that awarded her the honor.

“Shannon no doubt moved the committee with her speech,” Stretton said. “The speech can only be five minutes or less and she was effective and engaging in that short moment.”

Stretton has acted as Winters adviser over the past four years and considers her to be “an amazing human being.”

“Shannon has this tireless energy,” Stretton said. “She does so many, many things and she does them all well.”

Shannon’s parents, Tom and Pat Winters, would also vouch for Winters’ worthiness of the honor.

“They (the committee) saw what we have known over 21 years,” Winters’ parents said. “There is no quit or denying in Shannon. It is fitting it comes at the conclusion of her undergraduate academic career. Though we know there are also bigger things ahead of her in the future.”

Stretton does not doubt Winters’ success of life after Cabrini.

“She is one of the most extraordinary people as far as achievements,” Stretton said. “She doesn’t go around holding a spotlight over her head, she just gets the job done.”

Winters expressed that although she realizes the title valedictorian will set her apart from her competition in the working world, she considers this to be more of an honor than anything else.

“I’m grateful for the opportunity to address the class,” Winters said. “I just hope what I end up saying has some kind of effect that everyone can take with them.”

Winters’ parents are elated of their daughter’s success.

“There will be nothing like sitting in the audience seeing your daughter, siblings and granddaughter address a community of academia as the shining example of what is right about education and Cabrini College,” Tom Winters said.

Winters will debut her valedictorian speech Sunday, May 16, leading to the official commencement of her Cabrini College experience.

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Kelsey Kastrava

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