Grace Alexander was one of two students to give a speech during the 2013 Homecoming Ceremonies. What she had to say captured the hearts of many of her fellow students and the alumni gathered there. Below is her full speech.
I am honored to be able to speak with you today. After being at RMA for four years and working in the Development office for two summers, I know how important the Alumni are to this school. You are a very special group of people, because you provide moral and financial support to current students and the school.
I moved here from a rural town where I would have graduated with 10 students. I came to R-MA, because I was excited to have so many valuable opportunities.
The school teaches us to strive to be our best in all ways. The JROTC program teaches us leadership skills and the value of service. The JROTC program teaches me that there is no higher honor than serving the public and my country.
Four years ago I didn’t even know the meaning of a “right face” or what a Service Academy was.
- Now as Corps Vice Commander of the school, I am honored to be able to give orders on the parade field.
- The JROTC faculty members teach us leadership skills and provide us with physical training to prepare us to participate in ROTC programs at universities and qualify as candidates for entry into U.S. Service Academies.
The school’s flight program is unique. Flight instructors give up their weekends to fly with students, and it seems they only have days off when it is rainy or windy when we can’t fly. As part of my flight training, I was able to fly to Carnegie Mellon for an Admissions interview. When I told them I flew up, they were automatically impressed by our school’s program.
Also, an R-MA alumnus who is a pilot helps me along the way. He gave me a flight scholarship my sophomore year and we’ve continued to have a strong friendship since then. He is my mentor. He has written me letters, offered advice and sent me uplifting emails. He and the supportive flight instructors are the reason I was able to solo. I am pursuing my Private Pilots License this year. I always feel, “A pilot never flies alone. “ All those who have helped are always flying with me. It is an honor for each of us when we receive our wings.
The faculty and staff go the extra mile and actively show their devotion to us and their passion for the subjects they teach.
- When I applied to one of the Service Academies I needed to list teacher references that included their phone numbers. When one of my teachers did not get a phone call, he called the academy and asked to speak on my behalf.
- In my engineering class last year a few of my classmates and I had the opportunity to go to NASA Johnson Space Center. There we presented our invention: a prototype of a bicycle that generates “green” electricity. Our teacher gave up his time, his weekends, his house, and his snacks. He coached us all the way to becoming one of five finalist teams in the “Green Energy” category.
The staff takes a genuine interest in the students. I have multiple mentors at this school who would do just about anything to see me succeed. They offer needed support and guidance.
I want to thank you for your support and for caring about Randolph-Macon Academy. I feel blessed to be here, and I thank you for all you do for this fine school. You each make a difference. You positively change our lives.