Teddy Ganea (12) elected as Class of 2022 Valedictorian

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Clara Stevanovic, Staff Writer

“They said vote for someone who you think embodies the spirit of the Class of 2022, and I genuinely don’t think there’s anyone who does embody that spirit more than Teddy,” Michael Shaari (12) said. The senior class elected Teddy Ganea (12) to speak at graduation as their valedictorian. 

Ganea is still crafting a graduation speech, which he said will be the “best reflection [his] grade has to offer.” He plans to discuss the role that the school has played in his life and the lives of other students. “[Horace Mann] made us incredibly desirous of learning, given us incredible thinking skills, core values, and a great community of people who are constantly supportive,” he said.

Ganea found out that he was elected valedictorian after many of his peers had already seen the news. “I was actually on the stairs of Fisher when someone told me, ‘oh look at the e-mail.’” Ganea immediately felt two mixed emotions: he was thrilled, but also nervous. 

Before reading the grade-wide e-mail, Ganea had not expected to become the valedictorian of his class, he said. Throughout the year, Ganea had paid much more attention to other aspects of his life than the prospect of becoming valedictorian.

Though it came as a surprise to him, Ganea feels deeply honored and grateful for the opportunity to speak during graduation as valedictorian. He believes that the speech will be among his biggest and most memorable moments at the school. “It’s one of the last times before graduation that we will actually be in the same place, on the same field.”

Although Ganea does not know exactly why his peers elected him, he suspects that it may have been because he is passionate about talking and expressing his opinions. “I think that I was elected by my peers because they know that I’m a big fan of talking,” he said. 

In the first round of voting, students could select as many names of others in the grade as they wished. Those who received at least ten votes moved to the second round: a five-person ballot. After the second round of voting concluded, students found out that Ganea had won. “Then I got the mass email that the result was Theodore Ganea is valedictorian,” he said.

Shaari’s first-choice candidate had always been Ganea, he said. Shaari met Ganea during a sixth-grade trip to Dorr and they have been friends ever since. He believes that Ganea is widely recognized in his grade as someone confident, outgoing, and passionate about knowledge. “Everyone knows his interests, which can range from Roman history to Latin, all these different things,” Shaari said. 

Ganea is able to use knowledge from one class, or aspect of his life, and apply it to something else, Dean of Students Michael Dalo said. “Teddy connects things that he learns in his classics classes or in his language classes to things that he’s done in physics,” Dalo said, “He just has an incredible ability to make connections. Those are the things that most stand out to me about Teddy.”

Those who know Ganea know that he can often be found wearing a Roman helmet around campus. Ganea’s Latin teacher, James McCaw, thinks that he wears a Roman helmet to school because of his passion for the classics. “Teddy has been doing that for a number of years,” McCaw said. 

Thomas Grant (12) thinks that Ganea’s decision to wear a Roman helmet to school was very spontaneous, but also reflected his enthusiasm for learning. “He is a trendsetter and a great leader,” Grant said. After coming to school with a Roman helmet on, Grant believes that Ganea has started a trend of students arriving at school wearing helmets. 

Ganea bonds with others very easily due to his confidence and enthusiasm, Shaari said. “To me, if there was anyone who I’d want to stand up at graduation and talk about our class, and do so in a very funny and outgoing way, that would be Teddy. It was a pretty clear choice,” Shaari said. 

Dalo is also glad that Ganea received the title of valedictorian because Ganea is a curious student who always seeks to learn, he said. “Teddy wants to know as much as he possibly can about everything,” Dalo said. Dalo believes that Ganea is the kind of student who eagerly shares his excitement for learning with fellow students, his teachers, and anyone else he talks to. 

Ellen Bales, Ganea’s history teacher, also commented on his academic scholarship, and said that Ganea “approaches academics with genuine enthusiasm and intellectual rigor.” Bales believes that Ganea deserved the title of valedictorian. “It’s fitting that he would be elected. He was a star among stars,” she said. 

Ganea remembers moments when he would sit with his friends in the cafeteria and discuss topics ranging from politics to inanities. “What’s so great about the school is that you can be talking one moment about the weather and the next moment about some abstract theory, the next about some logistics,” Ganea said. “Horace Mann gives us both the ability and in doing so I’d say the responsibility, to go out there and change the world.”