Arts and Sciences Valedictorian

By: Adriana DiBenedetto

Through the nerve-wracking process of selecting our year’s Valedictorian, narrowing down the list again and again and examining each eligible student’s  academic career,  we now know who will be representing our year. The SJC community would like to take this time to introduce our 2016 Valedictorian, Claudia Fernandes.

Claudia is a Child Study major with a double major in Speech, has been an Orientation Team Leader for three years, has taken part in the SLE Program, and has been a member of the Child Study Club, the Speech Club, and Campus Ministry.

Claudia has also been a Student Ambassador for four years, she has been a Peer Advisor for the FYE Program, and if all that wasn’t enough she is also president of the Alpha Epsilon Omega chapter of Kapa Delta Pi.

Her passion is a combination of two things: working with children and learning. ”Children are truly amazing,” she says. “Their endless energy, eagerness, inquisitive minds, and ability to see life through simple and just eyes are inspiring. If you don’t believe me, just spend ten minutes with a class of first graders and you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about, especially the endless energy part. Every day as a teacher is an opportunity to learn. To be able to end each day having learned something new while helping children develop a love of learning is what drives me each and every day.”

She hopes to become a full-time teacher by this upcoming September, and will be rejoining the SJC community for her Master’s Degree. She highlights the fact that SJC has become like her extended family, and that although she is graduating, “family is forever.”

She believes that, “each one of the (valedictory) nominees and all the students have given something so special to the college and have taken with them lessons and memories to last a lifetime. I truly believe that this honor is owed to my parents, brothers, and everyone I have encountered at St. Joe’s these past four years: students, professors, and faculty. They have shaped my college experience and helped me to grow as a student, leader, and future professional. I don’t want to give away too much about my speech, but my hope is that the Class of 2016 walks out of their graduation feeling empowered and ready to take on this new adventure in life.”

Congrats to the Class of 2016!


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