Christendom College has named its valedictorian and salutatorian for the Class of 2020, in advance of the college’s Commencement ceremonies on August 9. Isabella Reilly, who majored in philosophy, has been honored as this year’s valedictorian, while Emily Palm, who majored in mathematics and natural science, has been honored as the salutatorian.
“I feel exceedingly privileged and honored [to win this award],” said Reilly. “After going through four years of classes with my fellow classmates, I know that I am not the smartest or wisest in my class. So many of my fellow classmates are brilliant, talented, and kind. So many of the Class of 2020 are impassioned with a real desire for wisdom and truth and have great and beautiful futures ahead of them. Now that I have been offered this great honor and opportunity to represent my class, I realize that I did work hard. I realize, however, that my hard work is simply a testament to the quality of my professors, my college, and my fellow classmates.”
Reilly, who also minored in theology, finished her Christendom education with a thesis titled, “Expressing Man: A Philosophy Critique and Defense of Fashion.” Since finishing her education, Reilly has returned to her alma mater to serve as the new alumni and gift planning assistant for Christendom, supporting both the executive director of planned giving and the director of alumni and donor relations in her role.
In the case of Palm, she is excited to represent not only the mathematics department as salutatorian but also Christendom’s athletics department, after competing in varsity softball and varsity cross-country as a student.
“Ever since I started attending Christendom, I wanted to graduate as the valedictorian or the salutatorian,” said Palm. “Knowing that I have accomplished this goal is surreal because there were so many times when I thought that I couldn’t do it. I am super thankful for all the support and prayers from my family and friends that helped me achieve my goal.”
Palm, who wrote her thesis on “The Linear Algebra Behind Search Engines,” is now serving as an analyst and support desk intern for Sole Solutions Inc. (SSI), with the long-term goal of pursuing a career in IT/computer programming.
Looking back on her four years at Christendom, Palm is grateful for so many aspects of her Christendom education, but especially encouraged future students to make time for Mass in the midst of studies.
“Really strive to lead a well-balanced life with exercise, friends, studies, and time with Our Lord. In the midst of my busy schedule, Mass was the one thing I never missed. I encourage you to make a spot in your day for Our Lord and don’t let anything displace Him. Never forget that you can do all things through Christ who strengthens you,” said Palm.
Reilly agreed with Palm’s statement, adding that students should focus their studies on learning the Truth, rather than simply trying to impress others.
“Don’t learn and study simply to impress others. Instead, truly care about the truth because Truth does Exist, and it can be found. Try and do your best in each class but judge your performance on how hard you tried and not on what grades you receive,” concluded Reilly.
Reilly and Palm will both deliver addresses at Christendom’s Commencement ceremonies on Sunday, August 9. Members of the Class of 2020 will return to campus after completing their coursework online this spring, with the college’s faculty and staff gathering together as well to celebrate the accomplishments of the class. Radio personality and author Patrick Madrid will serve as this year’s Commencement speaker.