Good Hope Country Day School graduates 40

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ST. CROIX - Good Hope Country Day School graduated 40 students on Saturday at Island Center for the Performing Arts. It was the first graduating class since the two schools merged last August. In an effort to recognize the academic achievements of students from both schools, the commencement exercise was punctuated with two valedictory and salutatory addresses.

Selesha Subnaik, 18, valedictorian for Good Hope School, said she was instrumental in helping the two schools through the transition.

"I helped to merge together the traditions and best qualities of both Good Hope School and Country Day School by taking leadership positions in Student Council and Good Hope Country Day's Interact Club," she said.

In addition to navigating the upheaval in her academic environment, Subnaik weathered an even bigger challenge at home. Her father relocated to Texas for work after HOVENSA was shuttered last year, and her mother and younger brother soon followed. Subnaik, however, remained on St. Croix to complete her final year of high school.

"I had to overcome the hardship of completing my senior year while … my parents were thousands of miles away in Texas," she said.

Subnaik's counterpart, Jenna Wallace, 17, valedictorian for Country Day School, said her strategies for success were to keep herself motivated, set goals and reward herself. She further offered advice to the rising seniors, "Push off senioritis for as long as you can, but master some key studying and accomplishing habits, so that when it hits, you are practicing good habits already."

Speaking of good habits, Lily Taylor, 18, Country Day School salutatorian, said finding a quiet place to study and trimming back her after-school activities proved beneficial. She also noted that working hard will produce positive results.

"Even though a student might … not have the advantage of natural ability or wealth that other students might have, as long as they are persistent and diligent in their work, they will succeed," said the dancer and visual artist.

She also challenged her classmates to "use your education to serve the world in a productive way."

In his address, Jean Devera, Good Hope School salutatorian, praised his parents for their steadfast support and encouraged graduates to build upon the foundation they received at the school.

In her closing remarks, Subnaik offered this quote from the late poet and author, Dr. Maya Angelou: "People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel."

To that, she added, "I believe I will have succeeded in life once I have left a positive impact on this world by bringing out the best feelings in people."

Subnaik will attend Texas A&M and major in chemical engineering. She is the recipient of the university's Academic Achievement Award valued at $2,500 a year.

Wallace will attend the University of North Carolina at Wilmington where she will study mathematics; Taylor is headed to Barnard College of Columbia University in New York City, where she has received a college grant of $36,530; and Devera will study pre-med at his university of choice.

Good Hope Country Day School Graduation BOX

Good Hope Valedictorian: Selesha Sunbnaik

Good Hope Salutatorian: Jean Devera

Country Day Valedictorian: Jenna Wallace

Country Day Salutatorian: Lily Taylor

Number of Graduates: 40

Graduates who started at Country Day School: 23

Graudates who started at Good Hope School: 17

Number going to College: 33

Number going to Military: 5

Number going to Workforce: 2

Institutions students will attend: Barnard College, Barry University, Boston University, Carson-Newman College Eugene Lang College, George Washington University, Hampton University, Hillsborough Community College, Humboldt State University, Indian River State University, Iowa College, Johnson and Wales College, Loyola University, Mercer University, Rider University, Roanoke College, Savannah College of Art and Design, Seton Hill University, Suffolk University, Temple University, Texas A and M University, University of Mexico, University of North Carolina, University of Pennsylvania, University of Tampa, University of the Virgin Islands and Valencia College.

Military: Air Force Academy Prep School, Air Force Academy, U.S. Merchant Marine Academy, U.S. Army

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