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Notre Dame Prep Announces Valedictorian and Salutatorian 

Seniors Lara Valasquez, left and Chloe Grindal show their surprise at the announcement that they earned the honors of valedictorian and salutatorian respectively for the Notre Dame Preparatory High School Class of 2024.

Just before being dismissed for Easter break, Notre Dame Prep seniors Lara Valasquez and Chloe Grindall were called out of class to meet with school administrators for a surprise announcement on Thursday, March 28. 

The two were unsure why they were summoned but delighted when they were greeted with smiles, a bouquet of flowers and told that Valasquez earned the top spot as class valedictorian and that Grindall earned the honor of class salutatorian.  

“I am so incredibly honored to be the valedictorian of the Class of 2024,” said Valasquez, who is still deciding between 11 colleges for next year. 

“I have truly grown to love our Saints community in the past four years and to be recognized for my academic achievements means the world to me,” she added.  

In her commencement address, Valasquez said she will encourage classmates “to always lead with love.”   

Grindall, who served as a captain of the school’s 2024 state championship girls' soccer team, said she will talk about how “failure makes you stronger if you choose not to give up.” 

She will attend the United States Naval Academy next year. 

“Being a student at NDP has helped me achieve my goal of serving my country and receiving an appointment to the United States Naval Academy,” she said.  

“Admissions officers at the Naval Academy look for three main qualities in candidates: leadership, high academic performance and athletic excellence,” Grindall said. “Notre Dame Prep has provided me with outstanding opportunities to develop myself into a well-rounded candidate.”  

As student leaders and scholars in the St. Thomas Aquinas Academic Program, a rigorous program of study at NDP, Valasquez and Grindall have taken advantage of opportunities offered at the North Scottsdale Catholic high school to propel themselves to the top of their class.  

“We are so proud of Lara and Chloe for their hard work but also for their servant leader mindset,” said NDP principal Brie Dragonetti. “These girls are representative of our shared values of reverence, respect and responsibility, and they epitomize what we expect of our grads at graduation!” 

Valazquez's, favorite NDP memory was spearheading the Smiles for Christmas event with her fellow NDP House prefects to spread holiday cheer to economically diverse Catholic school students in the Diocese of Phoenix.  

“Nearly 200 elementary school students joined us on campus to celebrate Christmas as a community with games, food and even snow!” she said, adding, “With the help of the House prefects, this event was a huge success and so rewarding to watch come to life.” 

For Grindall, her favorite NDP experience was at a Kairos retreat where she encountered God in a personal way: “What I experienced on Kairos encouraged me to take that final jump and be baptized and receive confirmation in the Catholic Church. Now I know that I am equipped with steadfast love from God to help me overcome whatever challenge I face in my future.”  

“It’s not something you can teach; Kairos is something that you have to experience for yourself,” she said. 

The commencement ceremony for Notre Dame Prep is set for 7 p.m. Friday, May 17, on the school’s campus.