Senior Abigail Wojtaszek has tirelessly worked for four years to become her graduating class’ valedictorian. Since her freshman year in 2018, she’s had her heart set on being the top graduate of her class. Now, with her senior year quickly coming to a close, her dream is finally coming true.
“I’ve always wanted to be my class’ valedictorian since I was in middle school, and I’m so glad to have made my middle school self tremendously proud,” said Wojtaszek.
Wojtaszek, however, didn’t always imagine herself as valedictorian. Struggling with mental health and burnout in the middle of her junior year was a huge setback in her academic and regular life. Through her struggles, she learned that it isn’t weak to ask for help and that she is so much more stronger than she ever realized. This setback pushed aside the idea of ever being valedictorian in her mind. In the fourth quarter of her junior year though, many of her peers helped her realize that she would rise to the occasion.
“People always told me that I was going to be the valedictorian for my class, but I didn’t believe them until the fourth quarter of my junior year,” said Wojtaszek.
Wojtaszek has her mom to thank for being her main source of motivation through it all. She has always been there for Wojtaszek and taught her how to hold herself accountable in life and push harder. She also has always had a strong desire to learn, motivating her to be an active student as well. In terms of teachers, Wojtaszek has three Bishop Noll staff members she owes her future to. Speech and drama teacher Kayla Konkle and social studies teacher Ryan Julian have ignited a fire inside her and inspired her in her journey in discovering her college majors. Konkle has given Wojtaszek compassion and kindness and taught her the art of patience – something she simply does not have. Julian on the other hand, has fostered her naturally inquisitive nature and inspires her every day with the happiness he has in his job. Math teacher Victoria Hibbler had the pleasure of teaching Wojtaszek honors precalculus and pushed her to full potential, challenging her everyday in and out of the classroom in a cutthroat environment.
“I have an innate desire to be the best in everything I do, and that cutthroat ambition shined in my journey to becoming valedictorian. I like and want to lift up others, but at the end of the day, I’m not going to sacrifice my success at the hands of other people,” said Wojtaszek.
Without Bishop Noll, Wojtaszek wouldn’t have the opportunity to embark on her dream high school experience or discover her passion through a multitude of courses and people who have shaped her into the person she is today. In just this year alone, Wojtaszek cemented her career path for the fall sitting in DC Government with Mr Julian and Theatre Production with Mrs Konkle. Without the many opportunities BNI has given Wojtaszek, she also may never have applied to Saint Mary’s College in Notre Dame, IN to become a Belle this fall double-majoring in Theatre and Political Science. With the end of an era for Wojtaszek, a new door has opened for her showing a horizon full of ambition.
“I see myself working in one of my two chosen fields, whether it’s politics or theatre,” said Wojtaszek. “In my life, I’d like to have both professional stage experience and experience in holding political office.”
Some of Wojtaszek’s most cherished moments took place during her senior year. At the beginning of the year, she was officially made NHS president and recently had the honor of signing off on acceptance letters and inducting new members.
“I knew how much it would mean for some of my underclassmen friends to see my name on the bottom of their National Honor Society acceptance letter and to see a friendly, hard-working face at their induction,” said Wojtaszek.
She also was invited to speak at the centennial gala in September 2021.
“I loved being able to share my story with some of the donors who actually give the money that allows Bishop Noll to produce students like me,” said Wojtaszek. “I achieved becoming valedictorian through years of hard work and promises to myself. Finally I’d like to thank my sister for inspiring me to be a role model for her everyday.”