Valedictorian Chooses Faith Over Speech


carolyn-fineLike the rest of her graduating class at Vacaville High School, valedictorian Carolyn Fine prepared for the big day last week. But because commencement exercise fell out during the Yom Tov of Shavuos, the 18-year-old got ready a bit differently.

In observance of the Yom Tov, Fine did not deliver the traditional valedictorian’s speech through a microphone. She didn’t travel to the ceremony in a car, and instead walked.

“I was nervous about what to do,” Fine told the Contra Costa Times. “The more I learn about the Jewish religion, the more connected I feel.”

School officials worked with Fine to make alternate arrangements.

“It’s great to see that, on her own, she’s standing by her faith,” commented Rabbi Chaim Zaklos, director of Chabad-Lubavitch of Solano County, who has been helping the young girl.

{ Newscenter}


  1. What a tremendous Kiddush Hashem. We should all learn from her. Carolyn, you are a tribute to your People – thank you.

  2. B”H


    Yasher Koach! I am inspired by your resolve and committment to your faith… and I am a 20 plus year Baal Teshuvah

  3. # 9, please read # 11 and rest of the mostly proud and positive comments.
    So far only another one almost as smart as yours.
    And by the way, grow up. You sound very immature, to put it mildly.

  4. Miss Carolyn Fine:

    As most of the remarks here stated, I too must greatly commend you for the wonderful Mitzva and Kiddush HaShem that you did. May you have much B’racha V’Hatzlacha in your future Avodas HaShem.
    Please permit me to relate a similar situation that I had when I was in the 7th grade. First of all, at that time, I was not too far from the area where you are, as I was attending the Montera Junior High School in Oakland. (At that time, 7th – 9th grade was called “Junior High School.” I have no idea when or why the term was changed to “Middle School.” Calling it “Junior High School” was certainly much better, for it made us students feel like we were now “little adults,” for we were now in the realm of “High School.” This certainly gave us quite a serious conception of our academic program.)

    At that time, 7th Grade students were required to take a course in a musical instrument, so I was in a class playing the viola. In the spring, the instructor, who was also the director of the school’s student orchestra, informed us in the class of the following issue. The student orchestra was set to perform at the coming graduation ceremony. However, many of the orchestra’s members were 9th grade students, who would themselves be graduating and would thus be unable to play then. So we were going to be needed to be at the graduation to help fill in for those missing players. So for the next few weeks, we repeatedly rehearsed the pieces that would be played at the program.

    However, the date of the graduation was on the evening of Shavuos! (The school campus is located far beyond walking distance from where my family lived. Furthermore, there is the problem of playing a musical instrument.) I asked the rabbi of the Orthodox shul I then attended about the issue, and he told me that I would have to inform the instructor that I would not be able to come. So I did that.

    Boruch HaShem, a few years latter, I actually entered the yeshiva world — starting at Ner Yisroel in Baltimore.


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