Trinity Produces 2013 Valedictorian and Salutatorian

| February 5, 2014
2013 Valedictorian and Salutatorian, Trinity Catholic School

Sarah Mancuso, left, was the 2013 Oswego High School salutatorian, and Madeline Galvin, right, was the 2013 Mexico Central High School valedictorian. Both are proud graduates of Trinity Catholic School in Oswego.

CATHOLIC SCHOOL FOUNDATION LEADS TO ACADEMIC SUCCESS

BY PAT SHEA

It’s the age-old question of nature vs. nurture: does having a Catholic school education, even if it’s only during the elementary school years, better pre­pare a young student for a more successful academic future? Judging by college freshmen Sarah Mancuso and Madeline Galvin, that answer would be yes.

Mancuso and Galvin met 13 years ago as 5 year olds attending kindergarten class at Trinity Catholic School in Oswego, NY. The girls immediately became best friends and were inseparable, despite Mancuso being a native of Oswego and Galvin making the daily trip from Mexico, N.Y.

Throughout grades K-6, both girls shined academically at Trinity. Following their 6th grade graduation, without a Catholic middle school nearby, the girls were enrolled in public middle schools in their respective towns, forcing them to leave their friendship and Catholic education behind.

“It would have been great if I could have kept going to a Catholic school after Trinity, but there weren’t any middle schools in Oswego,” explained Mancuso.

Just prior to Mancuso’s and Galvin’s June 2013 high school graduations, Trinity Catholic School Principal Barb Sugar was informed that Mancuso
had been selected as Oswego High School’s 2013 salutatorian, and Galvin had been chosen as 2013 valedictorian for Mexico Central High School. Sugar was delighted that two former Trinity students had received such high honors in their high school academic careers and invited both girls to return to Trinity this past June to receive recognition awards for academic excellence.

“They [Mancuso and Galvin] both had such a love of learning while they were here at Trinity. I wasn’t surprised to hear they had been selected as valedictorian and salutatorian,” stated Sugar. “At Trinity, we believe every student should be able to work up to their potential and we [teachers] accept that potential is different for each child. Sarah and Madeline always excelled.”

In reminiscing about Mancuso and Galvin, Sugar believes the academic foundation Trinity Catholic School provided helped both young women develop important skills for a successful academic future.

“When our students leave the 6th grade they are so prepared for middle school compared to what the other students have faced,” said Sugar. “Our students often come back and tell me that middle school was a ‘piece of cake,’ because of all the preparation we did with them.”

Both Mancuso and Galvin agreed that Trinity’s curriculum and teaching methods helped develop skills they still rely on today at college.

“At Trinity, we focused on writing, math and developing good study habits. We were in 2nd grade and putting on presentations I think some of my college classmates might have difficulty doing today,” said Galvin. “Learning these skills at Trinity put me at a definite advantage in middle school, high school and now college.”

Mancuso agreed. “Trinity also wouldn’t tolerate students who didn’t do their homework, which set up a good process for me,” explained Mancuso. “If it wasn’t allowed in elementary school, I just assumed it wouldn’t be allowed in middle or high school, and I took it upon myself to always do the homework. Even now in college if it’s not required or checked it doesn’t matter; I still do all the homework and start the year off on the right foot.”

How else did Catholic school help Galvin and Mancuso? “I think my character was structured by a Catholic school environment,” explained Galvin. “My experience there helped me learn to always open up to new ideas, and I feel it helped me develop a morally good character.”

For Mancuso, Catholic school taught her to always rise to a challenge, even if it seemed overwhelming at first. “The biggest change from Trinity to public middle school was the size,” said Mancuso. “Trinity had approximately 100 students in the entire school, and at my middle school we had over 350 students in my class alone, and over 700 in the school.”

Mancuso also felt Trinity gave both her and Galvin an edge. “Teachers at my middle school always told me they could pick out which were the students from Trinity immediately because those students had great manners and were disciplined in their study habits,” she said.

When Mancuso and Galvin returned to Trinity in June, Sugar was impressed not only with their intelligence but with their poise. “I occasionally get the chance to see Sarah because her family goes to my church, but I hadn’t seen Madeline in years until she came for the recognition award,” said Sugar. “When I saw [Mancuso and Galvin] together again at Trinity, what I saw were two very mature young ladies, ready and excited to begin college.”

Since their meeting in June, Galvin has gone on to attend Rochester Institute of Technology (R.I.T) and is studying for a career in engineering. “I love being here,” stated Galvin in a phone interview from the campus of R.I.T. “I’ve been meeting a lot of interesting people, and I’m exploring different types of engineering. Next year I will decide on what type of engineering I want to focus on.”

Mancuso, a freshman at SUNY Geneseo whois planning to go into the health field, is also enjoying college life. “I really like Geneseo and I like the classes in my major, biology and chemistry,” she said.

Mancuso recently traveled to Oswego to visit her family and found it interesting that her parents were still helping out at fundraisers at Trinity. “That’s another interesting thing about Catholic school,” stated Mancuso. “Families get to know other families and they become friends. If there’s an event that my parents can help out at, even though I don’t attend the school anymore, they just go.”

As college freshmen, Mancuso and Galvin are busy now with classes, but Mancuso did have a few words of wisdom for Oswego High School’s 2014 salutatorian: “Keep working hard after high school. It might seem like the title of salutatorian or valedictorian should be the end point, but, in truth, it’s a midway point. It’s important to keep up on the work and know there’s more ahead of you than behind you,” she said. n

Pat Shea is the associate editor of The Catholic Sun.

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