St. Paul Catholic High School’s valedictorian is Jordan Rinaldi and its salutatorian is Hannah Mulcahy.
Rinaldi, a Plantsville resident, said the “overwhelming sense of community” he experienced at St. Paul allowed him to want to step outside of his comfort zone.
He cited “the fact that the teachers reach out to you, the fact that the upperclassmen when I was an underclassman reached out to me, and just let me know that I was home and that I would be able to try new things that I would never have thought I would have gotten involved in.”
Rinaldi said he thinks that all incoming freshmen and underclassmen shouldn’t feel afraid to reach out to peers, upperclassmen, and their teachers because, “everyone is here to help you succeed.”
During his four years at St. Paul, he was a member of student government, serving as the vice president his senior year; he was a Blue Key Club student ambassador; he was a member of the National Honor Society and Spanish Honor Society; he was a member of the Social Media Task Force, the Data Analytics Club, and the Bristol Sports Hall of Fame Leadership Group; and completed his service work for school in Bristol’s Cambridge Park.
Rinaldi participated in varsity cross country, where he was a senior captain, varsity indoor track, junior varsity baseball, golf, track and field, and baseball during his freshman year.
He was honored with varsity letters in cross country and indoor track. He was selected for the Fall Sports Season All Naugatuck Valley League Academic Honor and the Winter Sports Season All Naugatuck Valley League Academic Honor, the Bristol Sports Hall of Fame Scholar-Athlete Recognition Award, and selected to the All-Iron Division Team for boys cross country.
“I’ve been able to take on leadership roles in those sports that I never thought I would have wanted to do, nevertheless actually done, but now I’ve done them here. I’m glad I did,” said Rinaldi.
In the fall, Rinaldi will head to Washington D.C. where he will attend Georgetown University, majoring in mathematics. He is hoping for a career in sports analytics.
“I’m keeping other options open because I’m a huge stats guy, I got it from sports, that’s kind of how I became interested in it,” said Rinaldi. “But I’ve also been interested in the field of actuarial science and data analytics from other perspectives because statistics is a growing field, it’s available everywhere.”
Rinaldi earned Excellence in Honors Pre-Calculus, was selected to attend the Actuarial Day at Travelers Insurance Company, Selected to take the American Mathematics Competition Test, and selected to participate in the 2018 Academic Team Bowl, amongst other awards.
Being selected as valedictorian is “the culmination of my academic career,” said Rinaldi, “everything that you’ve worked for has paid off, but the journey is not done.”
Mulcahy, a Bristol resident, said that St. Paul not only guaranteed her the opportunity to excel in academics but gave her the opportunity to experience extracurricular activities and sense community that she never thought she would have.
“St. Paul is such a welcoming environment that you can basically excel in anything here,” said Mulcahy. “Just be open to all opportunities in high school, you’re going to have regrets if you don’t take them.”
The lifelong gymnast found herself joining the cheerleading squad, participating in drama productions, and running track. She also volunteered at Bristol Hospital, Ingraham Manor, soup kitchens and homeless shelters, and at the Plainville Family Fest.
She will head to the University of Connecticut come the fall, majoring in health sciences on a pre-med track, which she hopes will culminate in attending medical school.
“I’m trying to decide if I want to go either research or healthcare, like, patient care. So I feel like those four years will allow me to decide,” said Mulcahy. “I’m really interested in genetics and that’s a growing field in today’s world. I really like doing labs and stuff like that, but I also really like talking to people and patient care. I shadowed doctors and volunteered at hospitals, so, I understand what patient care is and I love it so much, but I also like the lab aspect of it too.”
The salutatorian described herself as a “go, go, go person,” saying that she likes to keep her schedule busy so that she gets her work done. On some nights, she said, she’ll “be coming home at 9 p.m.,” and doing her homework, but, she feels like “that’s the best way to do it.”
During her four years at St. Paul she was honored with excellence in Latin, AP Language, and Advanced Genetics, was a Furman Scholar Award winner, a Yale Book Award winner, a Bristol Sports Hall of Fame Scholar-Athlete, and participated in the Inspiring Women in Engineering and Medicine program through the UCONN Health Team.
One of Mulcahy’s lasting memories from St. Paul will be senior night for cheerleading. She explained that the group of about 10 senior cheerleaders created their own routine which they then performed.
“It was our last time actually being on the gymnasium floor after four years, and we were just having so much fun. I was with this group of friends for four years and this is our last moment together,” said Mulcahy. “We were just having so much fun – we didn’t even care what other people thought of us, we had a ball.”
To comment on this story or to contact staff writer Taylor Murchison-Gallagher, email her at TMurchison@BristolObserver.com.