Meet the outstanding students from the Class of 2013

Profiles in Excellence: Agnes Irwin's Georgia Fortunato

Georgia was chosen as Class Speaker for this year's commencement.

Monday, Jun 17, 2013  |  Updated 9:00 AM EDT
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Profiles in Excellence: Georgia Fortunato

The Agnes Irwin School

Georgia Fotunato was chosen to be Class Speaker at this year's commencement for The Agnes Irwin School.

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Georgia Fortunato's outstanding accomplishments during her time at The Agnes Irwin school include honors for academics, athletics and leadership.

Fortunato achieved Highest Honors all four years, received the AP Scholar with Distinction Award , High Honors from the Society of Women Engineers, The Agnes Irwin School's Heather Thiermann Writing Prize, History Prize, Modern Language Prize for Spanish and Harvard Book Club Prize.

She played Varsity Softball all four years and ran Varsity Cross-Country. During her senior year, Fortunato received the Stephanie Christie Athletic Award for "loyalty, perseverance, leadership and humor in her athletic endeavors," and the Best Irwin's Girl award in recognition of leadership skills.

Fortunato was selected as Class Speaker and gave this speech to the graduating Class of 2013:


     l would like to start by telling you a story. It can be what you wish it to be, a

myth, a legend or even a fairytale. Once upon a time, in the year 2008, a group of

eighth grade girls travelled to Lowell, Massachusetts. Miraculously, their trip had

not been cancelled. Stranger yet, their bus hadn't broken down! And can you

believe it? A freak snowstorm hadn't buried them alive! The unexpected absence

of misfortune puzzled the girls, but, lulled into a false sense of security, they

pushed the limits of their luck and visited the one site in Massachusetts that

would seal their fate. With the chill of Halloween still haunting the autumn air,

they stood above the graves of the Salem Witches, who happily decided to renew

the curse of the class of 2013. I came up with this theory when my sister, Lauren,

came home from her last day of eighth grade at lrwins wearing a purple t-shirt

with "Reverse the Curse" emblazoned on the front. | was homeschooled at the

time, and upon seeing the shirt, instantly dreaded the September day when I

would join such doomed individuals. Having spent four unforgettable years with

them, l can now say that l wouldn't have it any other way. Good morning, my

name is Georgia Fortunato and l could not be more proud to be speaking on

behalf of this unlucky group of girls.

     Our mishaps have morphed into memories that have brought us together

and will keep us forever connected. Though We will go down in school history as

the grade who never won the hallway competition, or any other contest for that

matter, let us look at what lies behind that dismal title: pure imagination. It is no

coincidence that Willie Wonka was the theme of our hallway this year. We have

chosen his brand of imagination to lead our every endeavor, willing to leap into

the unknown rather than beat the trodden path. By taking risks, like making that

infamous vineyard out of purple balloons sophomore year, We have been

rewarded with the satisfaction of being example-Setters. Doers not re-doers. Our

grade's quality of creativity has served us especially well this year as we have

been able to produce solutions to the challenges that inevitably come our way.

Our broken down buses and hurricane survival days, our lost passports, lost

students and just being lost in general were not for naught because from

adversity we have gained resilience, patience and perseverance. Before coming to

lrwins, I fell into believing the popular misconception that private schools pamper

and shelter their students compared to public schools. While we generally enjoy

better funding and more privileges, l can comfortably say that we have grown skin

thick enough to succeed against life's harsh realities. We should be flattered that

the administration, recognizing our adaptability, has repeatedly chosen to test its

pilot programs on us. They even thought it fitting to provide us with guinea pig

shirts after the inaugural C21 Challenge launch! | knew I'd been officially initiated

into the Class of 2013 when l put on a shirt featuring a giant rodent. Since that

moment, with the passing of time, the lower school memories that l missed have

become mine too. Dancing around the may pole during May Fair and feasting

during Medieval Night recall the same vivid nostalgia as competing on EA Day and

singing the 12 Days of Christmas. Whether a super survivor or the grade's newest

member, there's a special place for each of us in our family of 66. Let's just not

     Out of all of our attributes, l am most thankful that my grade understands

the power of appreciation. A ridiculous number of people have been the Wind in

our sails, ferrying us to this day, all of Whom deserve the gratitude l wish to

express on behalf of my class. First, | would like to thank Bryn Mawr College for

providing us with the space to graduate. Without your generosity, we would be

stuck indefinitely in high school. Now, in all seriousness, thank you parents for

sending us to this school, from which We graduate today, looking like incarnates

of the goddess Athena whose strength and virtues we've been taught to admire.

The gift of our education is something we promise to repay with life-long

accomplishments which attending Agnes Irwin has prepared us to achieve. We

will forever be grateful for your open ears, your calming words and your endless

hearts. Gracias, merci and gratias faculty and staff for your devotion to the

noblest of causes: education. Your Willingness to share your knowledge and

Wisdom will inspire us to do the same for the many lives We will touch in the

future. By allowing us to steer conversations away from the conventional toward

the controversial, you've encouraged us to face the problems from which society

so often shies away. Thank you for being our champions, confidantes, co-

conspirators, companions - ok l can't keep this "c" thing up anymore, so I'm just

going to say and "friends". Coaches, thank you, for making our skin even thicker

and for identifying the talent inherent in each of us. You don't seek credit for

victory and you don't seek glory, yet you deserve it all. Finally, for the fairest of

them all, thank you class of 2013. I wish l could turn around and look each and

every one of you in the eye so you can see how sincerely | mean what about

to say. Because of your humbling intellect, every classroom conversation l got to

be a part of was meaningful and thought-provoking. Because of your energizing

enthusiasm, I was inspired to involve myself in running the Athletic Board, to join

clubs and to play the cello in the Instrumental Ensemble. Because of your love, I

love life and eagerly await the surprises it will bring. Thanks for laughing at my

oversized ear joke during my AA speech because if you hadn't | might not have

had the confidence to carry on. Yes, audience, my right ear is bigger than my left

and my feet are also different sizes if you're wondering. Anyway, to express my

gratitude for the past four years, l am going to embarrass myself again. In the

musical Wicked, Glìnda (a good witch!) sings:

"I've heard it said

That people come into our lives for a reason

Bringing something we must learn

And we are led

To those who help us most to grow

If we let them

And we help them in return

Well, | don't know if l believe that's true

But | know l'm who l am today

Because I knew you..."

Glinda isn't sure if people come into our lives for a reason, but I am. I believe that

everything happens for a reason. We were brought together not to be the cursed

class or the guinea pig grade but to be the spell-casters, the star-gazers and the

trailblazers. And no matter how much today's graduation and tomorrow's life

scatter us like stars across a nighttime sky, we'll always form a constellation that

will guide even the farthest wanderer back to the light. Thank you.

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