Randolph-Macon Academy (R-MA) held its graduation on May 28, 2011, giving diplomas to 73 seniors and one postgraduate student. English teacher Craig Porter, who retired this spring after spending 29 years at R-MA as a teacher and academic dean, was awarded an honorary R-MA diploma.
R-MA’s class of 2011 received over $5.1 million in college scholarship offers, along with 280 total college acceptances to 156 different colleges. The valedictorian was Kalie Plasier of Sioux Center, Iowa, and the salutatorians were Ashley Birk and Allyson Doran, both of Front Royal.
The commencement speaker was Major General Kim Siniscalchi, the Assistant Air Force Surgeon General, Medical Force Development, and Assistant Air Force Surgeon General, Nursing Services, Office of the Surgeon General, Headquarters U.S. Air Force, Bolling Air Force Base, D.C.
The student speeches of the three days' worth of events can be viewed here:
Ashley Birk, Salutatorian
Allyson Doran, Salutatorian
Kira Dalrymple, Senior Class President 2011
Ellen Wang at Senior Luncheon
Kelly Catafalmo at Senior Luncheon
Kenneth Goodrich at Senior Luncheon
Carla Williams at Senior Luncheon
Cara Brown at Senior Luncheon
Cooper Bourdon & Sam McClintock at Senior Luncheon
Kalie Plasier, Valedictorian, Speaks at Graduation
The commencement speaker, Maj Gen Kimberly Siniscalchi, may not have known how many speeches the graduates had already heard over the three-day period, but she quickly acknowledged that they would most likely not remember her name, and gave them a “pass” for that. However, she stated, “I do want you to remember my three main points…attitude, passion, and leadership.”
“I can isolate three pillars that have guided me throughout my career, touchstones to think about for your future,” she said to the Class of 2011. “Those three principles are attitude, passion, and leadership—they provide a foundation on which to build a successful career and a successful life.
“‘Attitude is the mind’s paint brush, it can color any situation,’” she quoted. The author of that statement is unknown. “Attitude is the ultimate internal force. I am convinced that any success in my career is 10% what happens to me and 905 how I respond to it. Your outlook is under your complete control and can change external vectors dramatically. A positive attitude is the difference between adversity and adventure when you meet a challenge.”
Regarding passion, she said, “Without passion you may still achieve success, but there will be something missing in your life. So as you begin this next step in your life, think about the things that truly move you…that make you want to get out of bed every day. Things that you can do all day and do not feel tired…in fact you can do them all day and you are even more energized. That is your passion speaking to you.”
“Leadership matters,” Siniscalchi emphasized. “It is often your ability to step up to the challenge and lead a new initiative, lead change, or lead a team that will set you apart from others. One’s ability to lead is key to a successful career. Leadership, at its most basic, is influencing those around you to achieve a common goal.”
Randolph-Macon Academy (R-MA), founded in 1892, is a college-preparatory, coeducational day and boarding school for students in grades 6 through 12. Students in grades 9-12 participate in R-MA’s 91st Air Force Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (JROTC) and have the option to participate in a unique flight program. R-MA is affiliated with the United Methodist Church and is located in Front Royal, VA.