Notre Dame valedictorian to grads: ‘You only live once’
NAME: Robbie Getty
BEST KNOWN AS: Class of 2012 valedictorian
SCHOOL: Notre Dame College Prep in Niles
Updated: July 8, 2012 8:27AM
When Robbie Getty was getting ready in the morning on graduation day, May 26, the nerves started to kick-in.
Getty, valedictorian of the class of 2012 at Notre Dame College Prep in Niles, was a little worried people wouldn’t like his speech, but was also excited to deliver an address that was the product of a week-long process. He felt anxious and eager at the same time.
“It was pretty difficult, because there was no real outline or anything,” Getty said. “It was me writing it from scratch.”
He added: “My initial rough draft looked nothing like the final thing. There was a lot of editing.”
Getty, who graduated with a 4.63 cumulative grade point average on a 4.0 scale, will study engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. As an elementary-school student he attended St. John Brebeuf School in Niles.
While at Notre Dame College Prep, Getty was secretary of the National Honor Society senior year, a member of the baseball team all four years, a member of student council and co-president of Pep Club that organizes sporting events. He also participated in two senior-year religious retreats in Wisconsin.
“You learn a lot about yourself, and your relationship with your friends and with God,” Getty said of the retreats.
Getty also received the Faith, Scholarship and Service award.
“Graduation is a time to look back on all of the accomplishments we have achieved, and all the wonderful memories we’ve made. We’ve been through a lot in our four years and we’ve accomplished so much,” Getty stated in his valedictorian speech, which lasted about 8 minutes. “We are the largest graduating class in over 25 years.”
Getty encouraged graduates to reach for their goals, no matter what they are.
“One of us could create the hovercraft, or set foot on mars, or invent the next Facebook. As Gandhi once said, ‘You must be the change you want to see in the world.’ With the grace and guidance of God and the love and support of our families and friends, I have no doubt we will all go on and do great things,” he encouraged his fellow graduates.
Getty said he will miss his days at Notre Dame College Prep.
“I will definitely miss going to the sporting events and seeing my friends play and playing myself,” he said. “The teachers were great at Notre Dame. Junior and senior year I really started to grow personal relationships with them.
“So whether you were at the top of the class, or middle of the pack; whether you crammed every waking moment studying for a big test, or did absolutely nothing in school — you know who you are — we all made it here!” Getty said at the end of his inspirational speech. “And that is something to be proud of! As I conclude this speech, there is one final nugget of wisdom I would like to leave with you. YOLO.
“For those of you that do not know what that stands for, it means ‘You Only Live Once,’ and to quote Mae West, ‘You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough.’ ”