Skip To Main Content

Toggle Close Container

Mobile Main Nav

Caitlin Biddle Represents the Class of 2024 as Valedictorian

Caitlin Biddle Represents the Class of 2024 as Valedictorian

In Little Women, Lousia May Alcott’s iconic Jo March wisely asserts, “Women, they have minds, and they have souls, as well as just hearts. And they’ve got ambition, and they’ve got talent, as well as just beauty. I’m so sick of people saying that love is all a woman is fit for.” Being a woman, at the very least, is difficult. An inherent aspect of womanhood is our drive; our grit; and our unfailing, though often debilitating, desire to prove ourselves. This desire manifests itself differently in each and every one of us. To athletes, proving oneself perhaps means achieving a new personal record, becoming captain of a sports team, or receiving an award or medal; to musicians, hitting a note that was previously difficult, mastering a new piece, or scoring a solo; to artists, completing a painting, a drawing, or a sculpture that took many hours, days, or even weeks. We have all felt the immediate gratification of personal achievement to some capacity throughout our lives, but something is irrefutably more special about being able to say that we have graduated. Reflecting upon our experiences at the Mount, I have realized why a significant component of our mission emphasizes unity and sisterhood. What we experience becomes infinitely more meaningful when we share it with people who understand us, look like us, or possess a shared identity.

For us at the Mount, our shared identity is our womanhood. We bond over the challenges and setbacks that present themselves in the process of self-discovery and in the complexities of being a teenage girl. One of my favorite phrases that I, and likely many of you, have picked up from TikTok is “We were girls together.” This sentiment comes to mind when I think about my female friendships, particularly the ones that I have built throughout my years at the Mount. Beyond personal friendships alone, however, I also think about all of us. I think about the fact that when we look back on our high school years as a whole, we will forget certain faces, names, and detailed memories, but something that each of us will not forget is the way that we felt. We will remember the excitement of Founders’ Day. We will remember the laughs we shared on Charity Day. We will remember the tension of being the first UNITAS group, and the relief we all felt after realizing that it really was not that bad. We will remember that we were not alone, that the memories we made were all unifying in their own way. We were girls together. Pulitzer Prize winning American poet Mary Oliver wrote, “Someone I loved once gave me a box full of darkness. It took me years to understand that this too, was a gift.” Much of our high school experience was consumed by universal illness, suffering, war, and conflict.

COVID-19 particularly affected our learning environments, our attention spans, our mental health, and our overall cognitive development. Additionally, COVID-19 cemented the importance of social interaction and building meaningful relationships in our lives. Many of us unwillingly grieved the loss of our loved ones. Social exchanges became increasingly difficult when masks had to be worn and distance had to be kept. COVID-19 was a time of seemingly endless isolation and loneliness; however, it also opened up more opportunities for us to self reflect, develop new hobbies, and deepen our understanding of ourselves. Our bones became denser because we struggled, and our hearts became softer because we had a taste of life without human connection. With the ongoing Russo-Ukrainian war and Israeli-Palestinian conflict, education, advocacy, and empathy are more important than ever. We are called to be instruments of peace and change in a world that often silences the marginalized and remains complicit in times of urgent conflict and need. Clearly, we are blessed to live lives beyond the assurance of basic necessities. The pain that we feel for these communities is our driving force. Let us tap into that pain and channel it into future efforts of activism and advocacy. Let us be assertive about the changes that we want to see and be proactive with the methods that we undertake to effect those changes. We owe much of our inclination to service and our values of unity and reconciliation to the Catholic faith.

The original six sisters of the Sisters of Saint Joseph were ordinary women. They were not wealthy or educated and did not have the proper resources to make their initiatives widespread. As a result of the religious unrest during the French Revolution, the congregation disbanded. Some sisters were martyred for their Catholic faith, some returned home, and others went into hiding. After the Revolution, Jeanne Fontbonne became a hero. She escaped the guillotine and refounded the congregation that would later spread across the United States. The six sisters were humble in meeting the needs of the people. They were merely witnesses to the unifying love of God and neighbor.

We are grateful to our sisters and to God for teaching us the power of silent service, forgiveness, and reconciliation. Sometimes, God’s presence can be felt through those who mean the most to us. We are thankful to our parents and families for their boundless love and support, their sacrifices, and the hugs that always feel like home.

We are thankful to our teachers for their extensive knowledge, expertise, patience, and resilience. We are thankful to faculty and administration for demonstrating the importance of discipline and work ethic and for being the backbone of our community.

Last, we are thankful to one another. Stephen Chbosky, American film director and author of The Perks of Being a Wallflower, wrote, “… even if we don't have the power to choose where we come from, we can still choose where we go from there.” Let us take full advantage of the opportunities and privileges which the Mount has afforded us and dedicate ourselves and our careers to fostering change. The Mount empowers young women to learn and know their potential, and we each have so much of it. Let us emulate the wise words of Jo March, for we have minds, we have souls, we have ambition, and we have talent. Let her advice propel us into the next chapter of our lives. The Mount has given us everything we need to be the future leaders and founders of our society. Enjoy and embrace the beauty and even the panic of what is to come. We, like our founding sisters, will shatter boundaries, overcome obstacles, and exceed expectations by proving ourselves as empowered, educated young women, whose voices will inspire unity and reconciliation in our global community. 

Congratulations, Class of 2024!

  • Commencement
  • School News
  • student life