Saint Mary’s valedictorian Darya Bondarenko discusses academic journey

first_imgEditor’s note: This is the first of a five-part series profiling the valedictorians of Saint Mary‘s class of 2018.For the first time in history, Saint Mary’s has five valedictorians. Molecular biology major Darya Bondarenko is one of the five students honored with the valedictorian title this year — an honor which represents the mind of Saint Mary’s, according to the commencement website.Bondarenko found out she was named valedictorian in an email from senior academic advisor Tracy White, who asked that she come meet the other valedictorians and discuss the commencement speech. Bondarenko said she was pleasantly surprised by the number of valedictorians. “I think I was the second person [at the meeting], and as more people started filing in, it was surprising,” she said. “It‘s also kind of exciting. It‘s really fun that we have so many students who have accomplished such a high honor.”Each of the valedictorians will deliver a speech about one of the core values at Saint Mary’s. Bondarenko will speak about justice, which she said is a challenging topic to discuss in a both candid and positive manner.“I want the speech to be a positive experience, but with the topic that I have, that’s sometimes difficult, especially with the current climate,” she said. “So many people have so many diverse opinions of what justice is. It’s a personal experience, and I think that’s also really difficult. You have to on some level open up on what’s happened to you and how you reacted to it. Sometimes that’s difficult.”Despite these challenges, Bondarenko said she enjoyed the speech writing process.“When I started writing the speech, it started becoming more personal and more of a statement,” she said.Although she does not enjoy speaking in front of large crowds, Bondarenko said her initial nervousness about the speech changed into excitement as she prepared.“I was more nervous than excited initially, I’m a little more excited now,” she said. “I hope people enjoy it,” Bondarenko said her family moved from Ukraine to the United States in 2003, and has lived in Mississippi and North Carolina.Immediately after she found out about the honor, Bondarenko told her family but she waited to tell her friends until it was publicly announced.“It’s an exciting thing. My family was excited,” Bondarenko said. “[When my friends found out], I got a lot of congratulations. I think they were maybe even a little more excited than I was.”Bondarenko said is currently assessing post-graduation plans.“Right now, I’m waiting to hear back from some medical schools,” she said. “Eventually I want to go to medical school, but I’m also looking for backup job. It’s mostly research jobs that I would want to work at for a year or so.”Bondarenko said she was only slightly surprised to receive the valedictorian honor, but still felt proud nonetheless. “I had a 4.0 [G.P.A.], so I kind of expected I would be somewhere high up,” she said “I knew I’d graduate with some kind of honors, but I did not know if that’d be valedictorian or not because I don’t know how they categorize that or if anything else contributes to it. I wasn’t  necessarily that surprised, but it was a very pleasant experience.”Bondarenko said that though she has a high G.P.A., grades are not everything to her and the grades came naturally for her because of the passion she had for her courses.“I don’t think grades were the most difficult part of college for me,” she said. “It was about finding what I’m passionate about, and once you find that, the grades kind of go away and you stop thinking about that. [Grades were] never my goal. It was not something I was actively working towards.”She said her experience at Saint Mary’s helped her find that passion, and she appreciates the personal relationship she has with the school.“The reason I picked [Saint Mary’s] was because it has a personal relationship to its students … That’s something that really did meet my expectations, having that personal relationship with my professors and peers,” she said. “It’s kind of great. I know almost all the students and I know almost all my professors and their story a little bit. I don’t have a lecture hall between me and my professors.”Tags: Commencement 2018, Darya Bondarenko, saint mary’s valedictorians 2018, SMC valedictorians, valedictorianlast_img read more

Jet Racing continues title sponsorship of IMCA’s Central Region for Modifieds

first_img“Our Modified regional title sponsors haven’t changed in many years and the Jet brand has become synonymous with the Central Region and rightfully so,” IMCA Marketing Director Kevin Yoder commented. “Johnny the Jet’s legacy through both his historical racing career and successful racing business is remarkable and something we’re proud to continue.” BEATRICE, Neb. – Drivers in IMCA’s Central Region for Modifieds compete under the Jet Racing ban­ner again this season. Jet also builds Northern SportMod, Stock Car, Hobby Stock and Sport Compact chassis and sells a wide range of high perfor­mance parts and automotive accesso­ries. Information about those chassis and parts is available at the website, by call­ing 888 290-9696 and on Facebook. The champion earns $2,500, with the runner-up getting $1,250 and $625 paid for third, $325 for fourth, $300 for fifth and $200 for each of sixth through 10th places. The Beatrice, Neb., chas­sis builder furnishes a portion of the $6,000 point fund to be paid to top 10 drivers in the region that includes tracks in Arkansas, eastern Colorado, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska and Okla­homa.  Central Region drivers are required to display two Jet Racing decals on their race car to become eligi­ble for point fund shares. Jet is owned by four-time IMCA Modified national champion Johnny Saathoff and begins its 23rd year of IMCA sponsorship. Previously a supporter of IMCA special events competitors and then Stock Car and Hobby Stock regions, Jet became a regional Modified title sponsor in 2012.last_img read more

Ghana to meet Benin CHAN qualifiers

first_imgGhana will meet Benin in the first round qualifying stage of the African Nations Championship – CHAN, in June 2014.The draw for the third edition of the competition designed by CAF for only home-based players of its member countries was held on Thursday.Placed in Zone West B, the local Black Stars, who skipped the preliminary round will play their West African neighbours over two-legs for one of the three slots available for the Championship in South Africa.The Black Stars will be away to Benin in the first leg on the weekend of 21,22,23 June 2013 with the return in Ghana between 5-7 July 2013.Nigeria and Ivory Coast will be involved in the other zonal match while the preliminary round winner of the tie between Burkina Faso and Togo clash with Niger.Zone West B has three qualifying places available for the third edition of the Championship which will see 15 sides qualify to join hosts, South Africa. The qualifiers are played on regional basis with the composition of the finalists as follows : two from North Zone, two from West A Zone, three from West B Zone, three from Central Zone, three from Central East and three from South Zone (including hosts South Africa).last_img read more

Dawson Creek man surrenders to RCMP

first_imgA Dawson Creek man, who barricaded himself in a house on Monday, has finally surrendered to the RCMP.The unidentified man locked himself into a residence at around 5:00 p.m. in the 600 block of 99th avenue.- Advertisement -Officers attempted to negotiate with the male throughout the night, but he refused to surrender. People who lived near the incident were kept out of the area during the standoff, out of concern for their safety. The RCMP didn’t indicate why the male locked himself in the home, but are thanking members of the public for their cooperation in the matter.Advertisement The male was taken into custody under the Mental Health Act and has been brought to the hospital for evaluation.More information will be posted if it becomes available. By stafflast_img