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Congratulations to Class of 2019 Valedictorian, Bernadette Miao and Salutatorian, Cassidy Latchford



The valedictorian for the Class of 2019 is Bernadette Miao of Western Springs. Bernadette is a product of St. John of the Cross Parish and School in Western Springs. Her academic performance here at Benet has earned her the distinction of being ranked first in her class with a cumulative, weighted grade point average of 101.35%. This is especially impressive given her active participation in a variety of school and community activities. At Benet, she has dedicated her time and energies to the Marians, the Recycling Club, and the Spanish Club, and she has been the president and captain of the Scholastic Bowl Team and a state qualifier for the Math Team. In addition, she served as a Catalyst leader, a SALT Discipleship leader, and a Eucharistic minister. She has also been active in the community at large, serving as a math tutor and NHS peer tutor, participating as a Junior Board Member of Young Hearts for Life, and conducting research at Northwestern University. Her greatest passion by far, however, has been volunteering, coaching, organizing, and judging spelling bees. Having attained Finalist standing in the 2015 Scripps National Spelling Bee, Bernadette, or “Bee” as she’s known in spelling bee circles, has done much to encourage and promote spelling bee competitions. She has even created her own competitions in Western Springs over the past couple of years. In recent years she has received a variety of recognitions such as being inducted into the Classical and World Language Honor Society and the National Honor Society, being named an Illinois State Scholar, being awarded an AP Scholar with Distinction, and being recognized as a Commended Scholar in the 2019 National Merit Scholarship Program. At Benet, she was awarded the Al Rychtarik Mathematics Award and also received departmental awards in Classical and World Languages, specifically Spanish, English, Mathematics, Religion, Science, and Social Studies. Next year she will be commencing her collegiate studies in Chemistry at the University of Chicago.



​​​​​​​The salutatorian for the Class of 2019 is Cassidy Latchford of Naperville who attended Gregory Middle School and is a parishioner of St. Francis Assisi Parish in Bolingbrook. She has attained this recognition by sustaining a cumulative, weighted grade point average of 100.85% during her previous seven semesters at Benet. She has been an incredibly active participant in a variety of extracurricular organizations here at Benet, most notably as a participant in service and campus ministry activities on the one hand and competitive sports and academic teams on the other. For example, in addition to participating in the Catalyst and Logos Retreats and being a Eucharistic minister this year, she has been active in SALT, gone on the March for Life pilgrimage to Washington, D.C. and spent her last two spring vacations volunteering on mission trips to Tijuana, Mexico and Antigua, Guatemala, and in her spare time she has lent a helping hand at Feed My Starving Children, Habitat for Humanity, Hesed House, Lurie’s Children’s Hospital, SEASPAR, and the Western DuPage Special Recreation Center. In between all this service to others, Cassidy has also been active on the Math Team, the German Club, and, after starting off as a soccer player, turned her attention to tennis, becoming one of the team’s leaders during both her junior and senior years. She also spent two of the last three summers in special medical institutes in Boston and Washington, D.C. Additionally, she has been named a member of the Classical and World Language Honor Society, the National Honor Society and its Executive Board, an Illinois State Scholar, an AP Scholar with Distinction, and a National Merit Commended Student. She was presented with the "Instrument of Peace" Award from the Diocese of Joliet. At Benet, she received the St. Benedict Religion Award and also received departmental scholarship awards for Classical and World Languages, specifically German, English, Mathematics, Religion, Science, and Social Studies. Next year she will be attending Vanderbilt University, where she intends to pursue a major in Neuroscience with a double minor in German and Spanish.