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St. Vincent Pallotti High School valedictorian and salutatorian

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Posted on: July 10, 2024

By AIESHA SOLOMON

St. Vincent Pallotti High School valedictorian, Chidum Obiadi, 18, and salutatorian, Daniela Jackson, 17, at graduation.
Courtesy of Daniela Jackson]

On May 22, St. Vincent Pallotti High School held its 2024 graduation ceremony. Chidum Obiadi, 18, the valedictorian, delivered a speech reminding everyone to make the future they want to see a reality.

“We are stepping into a world full of possibilities, and I have no doubt that each of us will make our mark,” Obiadi wrote in a draft of her speech.

Obiadi graduated from Pallotti with a GPA of 4.5 and will attend the University of Maryland, College Park this fall. She was awarded UMD’s President’s Scholarship and plans to major in chemistry, with a musical theater minor. She said in an interview that she has her sights set on being a psychiatrist working with patients in a hospital setting.

Obiadi played volleyball at Pallotti and was captain of the varsity team. She also played softball, was a cheerleader and on the dance team.  She served as president of Pallotti’s chapter of the National Honor Society and coordinated religious events at the school. She was also a member of the Shakespeare monologue club and acted in musicals and plays.

David Tenney, Pallotti’s assistant principal for academics, varsity cross country coach and head of the religion department, instructed Obiadi and the salutatorian, Daniela Jackson, in the senior honors ethics course. 

In a phone interview, Tenney described Obiadi as an enthusiastic student. 

“She sat right up front and was always very engaged. She had lots of great questions, lots of great comments. She was never one to be shy to jump into class discussions … She was always somebody who engaged with other students,” Tenney said.

Daniela Jackson, 17, graduated with a 4.49 GPA and was admitted to the nursing program at West Virginia University with numerous scholarships, she said in a phone interview. Jackson was also a cross country runner.

“Danny was a member of the team for four years, and she was just the heart and soul of that team. We made her a captain her senior year, and she just had this incredible enthusiasm and love for the sport,” Tenney said.

Jackson played softball for three years and managed [her] senior year, performed flute in wind ensemble and cello in strings ensemble, and belonged to the National Honor, National English Honor and the National Spanish Honor societies. Jackson was also the recipient of the Leader of the Pack Award, which is awarded by the Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland to a senior across all three conferences in the association.

“It’s a big honor because there’s only one given each year, and so Danny was given that award this year for all the girls out of cross country, for the whole IAAM. She was recognized for her just dedication to the sport and her leadership on the team,” Tenney said.

In her speech at the senior banquet, Jackson focused on the importance of connections and how they carry through life.

“We all have our own stories, but tonight and the upcoming days are about remembering how we became part of other people’s stories, how we left an impact on our school, and the impact we want to make on the world,” Jackson wrote.

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