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2022 Valedictorian and Salutatorian Announcement

2022 Valedictorian and Salutatorian Announcement
Posted on 05/05/2022

Victoria Coey of Flemington and Olivia Gaibor of Martinsville have been named the Class of 2022’s Valedictorian and Salutatorian.  Immaculata’s Baccalaureate Mass is Thursday, June 2nd at 6:00 PM at Immaculate Conception Church with Immaculata High School Director Rev. Msgr. Joseph G. Celano as the main celebrant.  The Graduation Ceremony is Friday, June 3rd at 6:00 PM at Immaculate Conception Church.  The Most Rev. Bishop James F. Checchio, Bishop of the Diocese of Metuchen, will distribute diplomas. Tickets are required for both events.

In September, Coey will be attending Florida State University as a choral music education major. A National Merit Commended Scholar and National Honor Society member, Coey has participated in nearly every aspect of Immaculata’s illustrious music program.  She is a member of the school’s renowned marching band and served as a drum major during her senior year.  Coey had the honor of being selected as a member of the Central Jersey Music Educators Association (CJMEA) Region Chorus, New Jersey Music Educators Association (NJMEA) All-State Chorus, and the National Association for Music Education (NAfME) All-Eastern Chorus.

Vice president of the school’s Tri-M Music Honor Society, Coey was a section leader in Indoor Drumline and performed as pianist in Music Ministry and Spartan Choir, euphoniumist in the Wind Ensemble, and percussionist in Marching Band. She was a vocalist in the A Capella, Chamber, and Parish choirs, as well as a volunteer for the Music Department’s Summer Symphony and Summer Players. She also played key roles each year in the school’s spring musicals. 

“I learned so much about music at Immaculata,” says Coey.  “But more valuable than that, the music faculty gave me great leadership opportunities, from being a drum major to conducting the freshman band this year, and running choir rehearsals or sectionals. I grew in my role as a future music educator by experimenting, making mistakes, and learning.  Their guidance and faith in me gave me great confidence for my future goals.”

As a high school freshman and sophomore, Coey won the high school division of the Young Composers Contest, sponsored by Hunterdon County. The goal of the contest is to write an original composition using the instrumentation chosen by the contest committee.

In addition to her extensive involvement with the Music Department, Coey was an active participant in Campus Ministry, where she served as a member of the Board.  Throughout her Immaculata career, she embraced the school’s pillar of Service by organizing and filling the Thanksgiving baskets for marginalized people, publicizing service collections to the school community, and organizing toy donations for needy children at Christmas.  Coey also was selected to be on the leadership team for two retreats and Lata Living.  Last fall, Coey was recognized by the Diocese of Metuchen with their prestigious St. Timothy Award, acknowledging her leadership and service contributions and her example as a positive role model for others.

How has Immaculata helped Coey reach her professional and academic goals?  “I would not be the student or the person I am today if it were not for the support of the entire Immaculata community. The teachers have not just made themselves available for extra help, but have taken time to deepen my interest in what we are learning. My peers are kind and encouraging, which has created a comfortable environment for taking academic risks. The Christian community has kept me grounded in faith, which has been the foundation of the habits and virtues necessary for academic success,” says Coey. 

Olivia Gaibor will attend Boston College this Fall to major in international studies. “My experience in Model UN ignited my passion to study foreign relations and international crises, as well as to appreciate various cultures, all while working with future diplomats and national leaders to resolve problems,” Gaibor says. A member of the National Honor Society and Spanish Honor Society, Gaibor served on the Student Council Executive Board.  As president of the Culture, Arts and Beauty Club, her role was to plan trips, host meetings, and organize fundraisers. Trips to New York and Washington DC allowed club members to explore aspects of certain cultures, such as museum exhibits, art shows, musicals, festivals, and plays. 

As a four-year member of Immaculata’s invitation-only Marian Scholar program, which is designed to foster a lifetime interest in learning, Gaibor explored such diverse topics as Girls' Education in West Africa, The Effects of Mindfulness Programs on Stress, Reducing the Maternal Mortality Rate in Sub-Saharan Africa, Disabled Athletes in Esports, and Classroom Design for High Schoolers with Autism: The Elements that Provide the Best Educational Experience.  

Gaibor commends the program for developing her public speaking and listening skills, as well as her ability to intellectually evaluate both sides of an argument. Additionally, she believes her research skills, including checking source credibility, citing these sources, and integrating them into a project, will prove invaluable.  “I feel that this program significantly prepared me for college and beyond; for that I am eternally grateful,” says Gaibor.

Outside of school, Gaibor was involved in Destination Imagination (DI), an organization dedicated to creatively solving open-ended STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, and math) challenges. Gaibor, teamed with five other young women, has worked for several years to design creative solutions to problems and make presentations on their approaches. As a result of their DI work, they formed “With Love,” a non-profit organization. Through “With Love,” they raised $10,000 for aid to send girls to schools in Africa and Asia.  

In addition, they collected hundreds of donations over the years for food banks and low-income areas that were in need of Christmas toys, school supplies, and personal care supplies.  As a result, her team placed in the state finals annually for the past 8 years. That enabled them to compete at the Global Finals and place among the top 10 globally many times and win the Torchbearer Award for greatest service. 

“Immaculata High School provided me with the safe space I needed to explore my passions and grow my faith,” says Gaibor.  “It also gave me the support that allowed me to expand out of my comfort zone and reach new heights. The students and faculty alike encouraged me to join new clubs, work hard in new classes, and ultimately prepared me for the success I hope to achieve after my years as a Spartan.”