After four years of hard work and achievement, we said goodbye to our 92nd graduating class... the Class of 2018. This class was filled with scholars, athletes, artists and servants whose talents and successes in the classrooms and throughout our community will take them to new heights. We are immensely proud of the Class of 2018!
Father Ryan High School graduates have performed on stages, made life-saving discoveries, become high-ranking business executives and defended our freedom in service to our country. They have attended the nation’s finest colleges and universities. They have built a lasting legacy, and one we will remember. And it all started with Father Ryan. They are known. They are loved.
The Class of 2018 is no exception. This Class submitted 1,093 applications (an average of more than five per student) to 229 unique colleges and universities. Members of the class will attend 71 different institutions of higher learning.
Scholarships received to date total more than $33 million, averaging $156,000+ per graduate, and awards are still coming in.
Below is an interactive map of all the schools members of the Class of 2018 will be attending in the fall. Each crest represents a different university, and the number of Irish attending that institution can be found by clicking on the crest.
Meet the 2018 Valedictorian
Each year, we honor the student from the senior class with the highest GPA. Michael Valencia, with a 100.1455 weighted GPA, has earned the title of Valedictorian of the Class of 2018. But the sum of his parts is so much more than one number. Michael is a scholar, a leader, an artist, a scientist, a brilliant speaker and an all-around good guy.
This hard-working, scholarly senior has been inducted into the Father Black Honor Society, National Honor Society, Sociedad Honoraria Hispanica and Cum Laude Society. He has been recognized as a National Hispanic Scholar, National Merit Finalist, and has had the highest average in several classes including AP Chemistry, British Literature and AP Spanish Literature.
Michael, a St. Edward graduate, is not only tops in his class academically; he is a proven leader who has been front and center of his class since his freshmen year. His many leadership roles include Peer Mentor, Lead Sound Assistant, Cum Laude Chapter President, Captain of the Science Olympiad team, President of the National Spanish Honor Society, Chief Sound Engineer Sophomore and Junior year and Vice President of the Multi-Cultural Student Union. Michael’s service leadership includes winning the Father Black Award his freshman year and volunteering at Safe Haven Family Shelter and St. Thomas Medical Mission.
As Captain of the Science Olympiad, Michael not only inspired his teammates to one of their best finishes to date, but he competed in many events including Astronomy, Materials Science, Chemistry, and Fermi Questions, placing 1st and 2nd in the state in Astronomy.
Michael also earned another state title as a member of his favorite activity at Father Ryan, the Speech & Debate team. Michael won the State title in Congressional Debate, and his team won first in Interpretation Theatre for State Qualifications.
And while Michael was also a member of the Chess and Wrestling teams, it is his time as a part of the Purple Masque Players that he will remember most. “The unity and cohesion between the Purple Masque Players has amazed me more with every production, and seeing how many time-honored traditions survive through countless generations of students is astounding,” he says. “Seeing that I still remember many of the show tunes years later, I would say the theater has had a large impact on my time at FRHS.”
Michael has certainly had an impact on the Class of 2018 and on Father Ryan. We will miss him next year as he studies Chemistry on a Pre-Med track at Vanderbilt University.
Meet the 2018 Salutatorian
Caroline’s love of learning may only be eclipsed by her love of her family and her pets. Caroline, who has cats, dogs, turtles, fish, chickens and horses, loves to learn and plans to be a life-long learner. She has used her passion for education to earn a 99.8070 weighted GPA and propel her to this year’s Salutatorian honor.
During her time at Father Ryan, Caroline has been recognized as a National Merit Finalist, Honorable Merit on the National Latin Exam, received the Algebra I award, Principal’s List Award along with several recognitions as an Outstanding student in Algebra II, American Literature, British Literature, AP Chemistry, Chemistry, Latin II and Theology III.
This motivated and academically driven senior has been inducted into the National Honor Society, Latin Honor Society, Mu Alpha Theta (where she served as President her senior year), International Thespian Society, Cardinal Newman Association, Cum Laude Society, and Father Black Honor Society.
During her time at Father Ryan, she was involved in Purple Masque Players, Speech and Debate team, Latin Club, March for Life, Relay for Life and Peer Mentor Program. But, her favorite activity by far was the Speech & Debate team where she served as Secretary and President and “gained confidence, speaking abilities, a more informed worldview, and most importantly lifelong friends and a lifelong mentor, Mrs. Kieffner.” Caroline holds the National Speech and Debate Degree of Special Distinction and was elected Presiding Officer of State Congressional Debate in 2016 and 2017.
Outside of Father Ryan, Caroline remains very active serving others. She tutors, babysits, and volunteers at Dismas House, cooking dinner and eating with former offenders transitioning out of prison. She plans to volunteer at Bethlehem Farms this summer.
Caroline, a Holy Rosary graduate, will attend the University of Mississippi next year in the Pharmacy program where she plans to earn her B.S. in Pharmaceutical Sciences and then her Doctorate of Pharmacy.
But, she says she will miss her teachers the most next year. “My teachers have challenged me with a constant attitude of encouragement while expanding my worldview and teaching me valuable skills. I am forever grateful for my teachers at Father Ryan, and will sorely miss them!
We will miss you too, Caroline! Congratulations, and good luck!
The Excellence in the Arts Awards has been established by the Fine Arts Department and is presented to a student or students who have demonstrated superior talent and dedication and who have attained personal achievement in the arts both in and out of school.
This year's recipient for the Excellence in the Arts Award for Women is Hallie Braeuner.
This year's recipient for the Excellence in the Arts Award for Men is Everett Delaney.
The Scholar Athlete Awards are presented to a young woman and a young man who rank very high in the graduating class academically and who have also made major contributions to the school through participation as athletes.
The recipient of the Women’s Scholar Athlete Award is Lauren Cato.
The recipient of the Men’s Scholar Athlete Award is Jackson Byrd.
The Monsignor Albert A. Siener Memorial Award is presented to the young woman who has ranked high in her religion class work, and at the same time has shown the finest practical application of religious principles and ideals in her daily life.
This year the award is presented to Caroline Long.
The Bishop Alphonse J. Smith Award is given in memory of Bishop Smith, founder of our school, to the young man who is ranked high in his religion class work and at the same time has shown a true application of religious principles and ideals in his daily life.
The General Excellence Awards are given to the students showing, to the highest degree, all those qualities which Father Ryan High School seeks to promote in its students: excellence in the classroom, ingenuity, accomplishment in extra-curricular activities, leadership, and exemplary conduct.
The General Excellence Award for Women is presented to Abbey Avila.
The General Excellence Award for Men is presented to Will Drexler.