Nicole Alvarado is Faith Academy's valedictorian for 2024. 

"It was a whole journey, because this this year has just been crazy for me," says Alvarado. "Being valedictorian wasn't really in my mind. As it was nearing those days when my principal announced it, everybody was just chatting about who's going to be the valedictorian. And I hear my name here and there and I don't want to let it get to me. I'm not the type of person to think too much about myself. I'm more thinking about other people. 

Alvarado says she feels like she represents the school well by being on the leadership and missions team, but ultimately was trusting God's plan for who would be chosen. "If this is Your will then let Your will be done. If I get it then I will praise You for it. If I don't get it, I will still praise You for it, for whoever You choose to be the valedictorian of our school. I know that the person that You choose to be up there to speak for my class, You will use them mightily and You will speak through them."

To nominate someone, Alvarado says, "We would write the person who we want to be valedictorian. Then we ask two or three other people to tag along if they agree with what you say, then you put that piece of paper at the door of our principal. Then after a certain amount of time, he's going to count up the nominees."

The students that had two or more nominees then got voted on, something that happened for Alvarado and one other student. She says that the principal delivered the news to her, "'You pretty much got 75% of your grade class voting for you.' So there's honestly no need for a vote. So technically, I was already chosen as the valedictorian in the first step. And I was just like, 'Wow, praise the Lord.' And I'm just, so humbled and honoured that, my grad class has seen me as that."

As Alvarado looks back at the last four years at Faith Academy, she says a highlight is "All the relationships that I've built and the connections, the students there, they just have a special place in my heart. And the teachers as well. They care about your spiritual life and your personal life. And they're willing to fully invest in you and pour their heart out. And I saw that for many of my teachers."

She says that Proverbs 3:5-6 is her favourite Bible verse. "Acknowledging is like surrendering and you can't be half and half, you have to surrender. And that's when you really will see God working and you just have to trust Him. That's where faith comes. Faith is about trust in God, and it's hard to trust."

Looking ahead to next year, Alvarado is excited to go to the University of Manitoba to pursue architecture. "From there, there is a little idea or a suggestion for me that I might go into business as well. If the Lord wills, wherever He wants to direct me in my life."