Starting at three o’clock in the afternoon on Friday, May 19, the 2017 senior class of Ma- rymount Manhattan College will be experienc- ing their last social gathering where they are all still fellow classmates. By the time they walk out the doors of David Geffen Hall at Lincoln Center, they will no longer be known as stu- dents at this establishment, but as alumni. As many know, graduating college is a life-chang- ing experience. The changes they will undergo in the following months, and even the follow- ing year, will either bring them exactly what they wanted, or something they never imagined. With an occasion of such importance, it is clear that whatever goes on in this event must be done with a lot of thought and meaning. This is met by not just walking across the stage to receive the diploma, but also by the speeches that are made that day. This year’s speeches
are going to be made by several individuals: The Honorary Degree recipient Stanley Nelson, an American director and producer of documentaries that delve into the history and the everyday expe- riences of being African-American; the Student Class speaker, Anika Ferdoash, a double-major in Finance and International Business and a dou- ble-minor in Economics and Accounting; the two valedictorians this year, Hiu Ching (Penny) Pun, a double-major in English and World Literatures and Theatre Arts with a concentration in Writing for the Stage; and Jaime Bartolett, a Theatre Arts major with a concentration in Acting and a minor in Business. This is the rst time in MMC histo- ry where there have been two valedictorians in a graduating class. What made it so dif cult to only choose one is that they both have a GPA of about 3.96 and have consistently had two extracur- ricular activites. While this may seem odd, what is even more eye-opening is knowing that these two students have the exact same GPA and same amount of extracurricular activities, yet they are two totally different people.
Pun, originally from Hong Kong, is busy with her studies on campus, her po- sition as the News Editor on The Monitor, and interning at the Theatre Communications Group. Pun mentioned that she enjoyed being a double major but mentioned, that being an English and World Literatures major at MMC, a school that is known for its Theater department, was her most rewarding experience during her four years. “Being an English and World Literatures major you won’t expect it, but the way the curriculum of the department is structured the courses were the most liberating classes I’ve ever taken at Marymount”.
Bartolett, from Bridgewater, New Jersey, is the Treasurer for Student Theater at Marymount (S.T.A.M.) and spends a lot of time at her work- study in the theater recruitment of ce, a place that she actually mentions is the most rewarding experience at MMC. “Working in the recruitment of ce… I was on the phone with a student from Canada who was having issues deciding whether or not she wanted to go internationally for col- lege and come to Marymount, or stay close to home and go to a school not far from her. I was able to help her sort things out…[it] showed a passion that I have for teaching,” said Bartolett.
After meeting the valedictorians and re- alizing how they do share similarities in GPA and have the same amount of extracurricular activities on and off campus, it’s interesting to see how two people from totally different backgrounds could be similar enough in num- bers to share such an important title for the Class of 2017 and to the MMC community.
Surprisingly, becoming valedictorian was not a goal for either student. They both strived to do well in their studies, but this was not something that they thought to be on the horizon. While they were both shocked and happy about what they have achieved, their reactions weren’t exactly the same. Bartolett found it to be one of the coolest moments of her life. She felt like all her hard work had paid off, while Pun said she had already be- gun thinking about what to write for her speech.
What exactly does one do to achieve such a high academic standing? While both students mentioned being studious and always putting their academics to the highest of im- portance in life, Bartolett also mentioned, “The most important thing is balance, especially fresh- man year. Do things a week in advance…but cut yourself some slack when necessary. Don’t just study, study, study. Try to be a mentally and socially happy person. You need balance.”
Being the valedictorian, or valedictorians in this case, is an important gure at com- mencement because it shows the high academic achievement for the students involved and also re ects well on the departments that the students major in. Bartolett, who majors in Theatre Arts with a concentration in Acting, is the third con- secutive valedictorian at MMC who achieved this high academic standing as a Theatre Arts major. While Pun is a double major and one of her majors is Theatre Arts with a concentration in Writing for the Stage, her other major in En- glish and World Literatures makes her the first valedictorian in the past ve years alone to have achieved this position as an English and World Literatures major, which shows highly on the Department of English and World Literatures.
The Valedictorians, Class Speaker, and the Honorary Degree recipient are all important figures for a Commencement Ceremony. The most important figure at graduation is you. Being able to graduate college, after spending years trying to achieve that goal, has finally come. You’ve done it! You’ve graduated!
The 2017 Commencement Ceremony will be held on Friday, May 19 at David Geffen Hall at Lincoln Center at 3:00pm.