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This fall at Christendom, the college will welcome ten high school valedictorians and salutatorians who all chose Christendom as their college of choice.

Being named the valedictorian or salutatorian of a high school class is an incredible achievement — a testament not only to a student’s academic prowess but to one’s incredible discipline and commitment to studies as well. Valedictorians are highly sought after by colleges and often have multiple higher education options available to them. This fall at Christendom, the college will welcome eleven high school valedictorians and salutatorians who all chose Christendom as their college of choice. Why? Because the college offered something they could not get anywhere else: a challenging Catholic liberal arts education taught within a vibrant Catholic culture.

These valedictorians and salutatorians come from all across the United States, including Arizona, Colorado, Minnesota, Texas, and Virginia. Each finished high school at the top of their class, and each ultimately chose Christendom as the place they wanted to spend their formative college years. For Jillian Vincent, who was valedictorian for her high school class at Founders Classical Academy in Schertz, Texas, the thing that made Christendom stand out from other Catholic colleges was the quality of the community.

“I was able to sit in on five different classes during my visit in March, and I was really impressed by the amount of class involvement I witnessed,” says Vincent. “The students were engaged and truly wanted to learn, something I did not find at every school I visited—in fact, of all the schools whose classes I sat in for a day, Christendom had the most student participation. I love the fact that each class is small and intimate so that students really can be engaged.”

Christendom's vibrant Catholicism extends to the classroom, where 100% of the faculty are Catholic and teach from a Catholic worldview.

Christendom’s vibrant Catholicism extends to the classroom, where 100% of the faculty are Catholic and teach from a Catholic worldview.

While Vincent attended a classical charter school, Christendom will mark the first time she will study at a Catholic school, both in the education and in the culture. She is excited to begin diving into theology and the rest of the liberal arts within such a supportive environment, as she seeks to learn the truth, live the faith, and thrive as a Catholic at Christendom.

“I love the way Christendom strives to form ‘the whole person,’ both academically and spiritually,” says Vincent. “I was most attracted by the theology classes, which I had never experienced at my non-religiously affiliated charter school. The fact that being a theology major is not required to study the subject was especially appealing. As someone who loves all of the liberal arts, I am very excited to study them all at Christendom in the years to come.”

Like Vincent, Matthew Giftakis also was attracted to Christendom because of the authentically Catholic culture. A native of Otsego, Minnesota, Giftakis was the valedictorian of his high school class at Holy Spirit Academy in Monticello, Minnesota, and first discovered the college thanks to his theology teacher, alumna Eileen Hester.

“Her passion and her love for the college was a testament to me,” says Giftakis. “Additionally, the college’s combination of academic rigor and faithfulness really drew me to the school. When I discovered that all the professors take the Oath of Fidelity to the Magisterium, I decided to visit the school and learn more about it.”

Why did these 10 valedictorians and salutatorians choose to come to Christendom, rather than another school? Because the college offered something they could not get anywhere else: a challenging Catholic liberal arts education taught within a vibrant Catholic culture.

Why did these 10 valedictorians and salutatorians choose to come to Christendom, rather than another school? Because the college offered something they could not get anywhere else: a challenging Catholic liberal arts education taught within a vibrant Catholic culture.

Ultimately, the school’s vibrant Catholic culture, both in and outside the classroom, led Giftakis to apply for admission. This fall, he will begin his studies at Christendom, with the hopes of majoring in either philosophy or mathematics and minoring in sacred music. In addition, he hopes to get involved in Christendom’s musical performance opportunities, such as St. Cecilia’s Night and the Senior Benefit Concert, and volunteer for the college’s pro-life group Shield of Roses.

At Christendom, there are numerous opportunities to grow in knowledge, faith, and in friendships over the course of four years. Evelyn Polley, whose parents are both alumni of the college, was drawn to the college for all these reasons, seeing it as the perfect place to “to build lifelong friendships while participating in the faith-centered culture that is unique to Christendom.”

“I wanted to attend Christendom not only because of the fantastic experiences my family had there but also because Christendom offers an integrated education that very few other colleges offer,” says Polley, who hails from Littleton, Colorado.

Polley graduated high school from the Chesterton Academy of Our Lady of Victory, where she was also valedictorian of her class. Like Giftakis, she also plans on participating in pro-life activities, such as Shield of Roses, at Christendom, while also majoring in history.

What led Vincent, Giftakis, and Polley to choose Christendom? For each, the answer was ultimately the same: the college’s authentically Catholic liberal arts education, coupled with the vibrant Catholic culture that they could not find at any other school.

The vibrant Catholic culture found in the classroom is found outside of it as well. After all sports games, for example, student-athletes join together in prayers — win or lose.

The vibrant Catholic culture found in the classroom is found outside of it as well. After all sports games, for example, student-athletes join together in prayers — win or lose.

This sentiment extended to the rest of the valedictorians and salutatorians who will be attending the college this fall as well, including Moira Haggerty, who was salutatorian of Seton School in Virginia; Frank Woltering, who was salutatorian of Holy Family Academy in Virginia; Joseph Twyford, who was salutatorian of Shiner Catholic High School in Texas; Serena Keller, who was salutatorian of Bishop McDevitt High School in Pennsylvania; Bea Stanford, who was valedictorian of Chelsea Academy in Virginia; Joseph Spiering, who was valedictorian at John Paul the Great Montessori in Virginia; Audrey Speier, who was valedictorian of Ville de Marie Academy in Arizona; and Anna Marie West, who was valedictorian at St. Anne’s in Rock Hill, South Carolina.

A Christendom College education is not for the faint of heart, but for those who truly desire to become the men and women that Christ has called them to be. These ten students are taking those first steps this fall at Christendom, ready to make an impact in the classroom and beyond.

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