Arianna Simon

Arianna Simon

Being named Salutatorian is a lifelong dream realized, echoing back to my first-grade ambitions of addressing my graduating class. The significance of this title extends beyond mere acknowledgment; it symbolizes years of dedicated effort and exemplifies the positive outcomes derived from wholehearted commitment.

Reflecting on my academic journey, a pivotal moment occurred last summer when I had the privilege of studying at Oxford University in the UK for two weeks. This experience, cultivated from an aspiration since age eleven, not only granted me the opportunity to delve into academia at Oxford but also affirmed my proficiency as an academic writer. It stands as the highlight of my scholastic endeavors, reinforcing my resolve to pursue a Ph.D. in history and embark on a career in teaching.

Throughout high school, my godmother, Jeannie, served as an unwavering inspiration. Her tireless work ethic, mirrored from high school to her current leadership role in a major consulting firm, motivates me to strive for success. Whenever I felt fatigued or lacked motivation, I recalled Jeannie's journey, fueling my determination to achieve similar levels of fulfillment and accomplishment.

Influencing my academic pursuits profoundly is Sister Angelina, my grammar school principal. Her mantra, "Good, Better, Best. Never let it rest until the good is better and the better is best," has been a guiding principle, shaping not only my academic pursuits but all aspects of my life as I step into college.

Overcoming a significant challenge, I conquered test anxiety that plagued me for four years by recognizing that a grade doesn't define my worth. This newfound perspective liberated me to focus on the depth of my knowledge rather than fixating on test scores.

One particularly rewarding experience was teaching fourth-grade religious education at St. Catherine of Siena parish. Despite initial challenges with a challenging group of boys, the end of the year brought acknowledgment of their appreciation, highlighting the power of hard work and the fulfillment derived from teaching.

Balancing academic excellence with extracurricular activities necessitated mastering time management. Planning my week meticulously and completing assignments promptly enabled me to not only maintain high grades but also actively participate in various activities.

My community involvement includes being a 4th-grade CCD teacher at St. Catherine of Siena, exemplifying my commitment to giving back and nurturing the academic growth of younger students.

Miss Weingarten, a multifaceted teacher, inspired me with her ability to excel in various roles while ensuring students feel supported. Her example fuels my belief in embracing diverse interests.

Mrs. Fallon, my guidance counselor, has played a pivotal role in my success by offering unwavering support and understanding. Her ability to alleviate my concerns and make me feel seen and heard has been instrumental in my journey.

Participating in Kairos, both as a retreatant and a student leader, left an indelible mark, offering life-changing experiences and fostering a deep understanding of faith. The peace found in Kairos is something I will cherish forever.

Looking ahead, my academic and personal plans involve attending a four-year university outside of New Jersey, focusing on history, education, and anthropology. With aspirations of obtaining a master's in museum education and a Ph.D. in medieval history, my goal is to teach in a museum setting, making an impact on underserved communities in a city.

To my fellow students striving for academic excellence, my advice is simple yet profound: Never Give Up. You possess the power to achieve anything you set your mind to; let perseverance be your guide.

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