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Close SMC friends named co-valedictorians

Alicia Smith | Monday, March 22, 2010

From kindergarten graduation to the College’s Commencement, Saint Mary’s seniors Audrey Marrah and Carly O’Connor have been through the ups and the downs together.

“We went to the same school since kindergarten and we’ve been like best friends since eighth grade. We both separately decided to come to Saint Mary’s but we’ve still remained friends,” Marrah said.

Marrah and O’Connor have a lot in common. They share the same hometown of Kokomo, Ind., and they graduated from Northwestern High School together. Marrah and O’Connor achieved the same 4.0 GPA throughout their time at the College, and now, they have been both been awarded the honor of co-valedictorian for Commencement this May.

“I was really excited,” Marrah said. “We had been hoping we would be able to share the honor together. My main concern when I found out was ‘oh, did Carly get it too?’ because it’s more fun if we can both share it together.”

Marrah said she and O’Connor learned the news via e-mail a few weeks before Spring Break.

“[The e-mail] said I was co-valedictorian but it didn’t say who else it was going to be,” O’Connor said. “So I was really hoping it would be Audrey because I knew that it was likely that she was going to be the valedictorian.”

Because of their friendship and history together, both Marrah and O’Connor said they were excited to share the title of co-valedictorian with each other.

“I’m so excited,” O’Connor said. “Having known her for so long, and we were roommates for three semesters and being good friends with her — it’s such an honor to share that with her, to share in her hard work and who she is. We get to really share that honor together and I think it’s a really special gift that we’ve been given.”

Though the girls have attended school together since kindergarten, they will part ways post graduation. Marrah, a biology major, said she plans to participate in some international service work after graduation on May 15.

“There’s a program in Guyana, South America that I’m looking at,” Marrah said. “There’s another one through the Holy Cross Brothers over at Notre Dame, and that program’s in Uganda.”

O’Connor majored in English Literature and plans to attend graduate school at the John Paul II Institute in Washington, D.C.

“I’ll be getting a masters in theology focused on marriage and the family,” O’Connor said. “This summer I am working at my parish at home as an intern in Family Life Ministry.”

Though they will have to say their goodbyes, both Marrah and O’Connor said they were grateful to share their valedictorian experiences together.

“It’s been a wonderful gift and I’m very thankful for it,” O’Connor said. “I feel truly blessed.”