Valedictorian of the Class of 2022 Kate Oliver’s Remarks at Graduation

Kate Oliver ’22 is the Valedictorian for the Class of 2022. Here are the remarks she delivered at Graduation in May.

We all chose to come to MICDS for different reasons. I came for a very specific reason: math. This will surprise absolutely no one, but I can remember the moment on a bike trail with my mom when I asked if I could apply to MICDS; I wanted the ability to challenge myself beyond what was available at my previous school. In completely unexpected ways, MICDS has provided each of us with the opportunity to challenge ourselves with a variety of different paths.

Hopefully, no one remembers this, but on my first day at MICDS, I came crashing to the lunchroom floor when I slipped on a nearly invisible puddle of apple juice. With a stained shirt and red face, I got back up and thought about how I had started the day trying to avoid embarrassment, and despite my best efforts, had still failed. MICDS encourages us, however, to do exactly that: try new things and take risks, regardless of whether or not we will fail. Going to school here has allowed me to chart my own academic journey; especially in these last two years, I have been able to decide what I wanted to do, including creating my own independent study about how math acts in the real world. That is the beauty of going to school here. Everyone is given the opportunity to choose their own path and face the positive or negative consequences. Our class had advisors, teachers, college counselors, and our beloved Mr. George to support us in both triumphs and faceplants.

For many of us, there have been unexpected blessings from our time here that helped shape our experience. For me, that was sculpture. Yes, math was everything I had dreamed of, but if you had told me four years ago I would be an AP art student, I wouldn’t have believed you. Mr. Heinemann loves to remind me that I told him during my freshman year I would not last past sophomore year; safe to say that was not the case. To my utmost surprise, it became my favorite class as we were whittled down over the years to our final group of eight. Between us, we can claim collegiate athletes, the May queen, a rocket scientist, an outstanding baker, and a Phishhead among our many identities. This is one of the many surprising paths I chose that made my time at MICDS memorable, and it is an opportunity I know every one of us has experienced in our own way.

In truth, the thing I hope we as a class will all remember most about our time here are the little moments of kindness. I can point to many in high school, each just as meaningful as the next when someone went out of their way to positively impact my day. I still remember my sophomore year, I walked into class looking like a zombie; I had been up all night studying for a calculus test and was half-awake. By the time class was over, there was a cup of electrolytes on my desk to help boost me through the rest of my day; the care my teacher took to notice and proactively respond to my apparent state has stayed with me. I know each of us has had this moment in high school, whether it was with a teacher, coach, friend, or someone we really weren’t close with, and it is a testament to the type of actions that are fostered through the community we have here at MICDS.

As I look forward to college, my time at MICDS constantly reminds me to never underestimate the value of taking risks. That is one of the many positive byproducts that come from having so much freedom in high school. I am highly confident that when we get to college, we are not going to be the students who fall through the cracks. We know to go to office hours, establish relationships with teachers, and reason our way out of problems because that is what has been encouraged for our entire high school career. While we may not be experts in little things, like how to open a bank account or file our taxes, we know the intangible skills of multitasking, collaborating with people who are different from ourselves and taking advantage of every resource available to us. These skills are just as important as knowing the mitochondria is the powerhouse of the cell and Dr. Eckleburg was a billboard, not a person, but they will serve us better in the world we are about to enter.

To say this school is hard is an understatement, but it has prepared us to take on the rest of our lives. So congrats class of 2022, we did it!