How This Student Found Faith in the Classroom & Became St. Peter Catholic Academy’s Valedictorian

Tags: Currents Brooklyn, NY, Catholic Education, Crux, Faith, Queens, NY

By Emily Drooby

Samantha Chan has accomplished something many only dream of: she’s the valedictorian of her Catholic Academy.

“I feel pretty excited because I like school a lot and I feel like studying is a very important part of my life,” she said of her accomplishment.

Like children across the country, the St. Peter student has been dealing with the effects of the coronavirus pandemic. She has had to learn from home and miss out on typical school events.

Samantha was affected more than most. Her mom is a nurse — a hero working the frontlines of the outbreak.

Her principal, Danielle Alfeo, tells Currents News she learned of the family’s extra struggles while on a visit to deliver a graduation sign.

“Mom came out first and said, ‘Samantha hasn’t been out of the house at all.’ She says because she was so afraid that she was already exposed to so many germs,” Danielle explained. “She didn’t want her children to be exposed, either.”

Her mom’s job isn’t the only reason Samantha’s family was extra cautious. They also live with her grandparents.

“Because I don’t want to risk anything, because I live with my grandparents,” she explained, “I’m paranoid something could happen to them.”

But, she didn’t let these additional worries affect her school work.

“She’s such a phenomenal student but very quiet, very reserved, very polite and well mannered,” said Danielle.

The eight grade student says she loves to study, and that has helped her be successful.

Her Catholic faith has also helped during this time. It’s a faith she found while in Danielle’s fourth grade religion class.

“I wanted to become closer and understand more about the faith,” Samantha recalled.

She decided she wanted to be Catholic. Now, Danielle is her godmother and confirmation sponsor

“She always looked out for us in the classroom and she understood our interests, I felt like she was a good candidate for my godmother,” Samantha said.

She has a deep and ever-growing connection with God, and a strong work ethic. Samantha has also dealt with more than many kids her age, but she never let it affect her work. She’s valedictorian, and a role model.