Grace Bentley, from the class of 2020, will be taking many things with her from Marian into the next chapter of her life: the people, the memories and the lessons she’s learned throughout her four years here.

“My favorite things I have learned are the importance of of having good friends, how to be a leader, how to push myself out of my comfort zone and how to find the good in every situation,” Grace says.

Her friends and her teachers at Marian have played the largest role in teaching her these lessons, Grace says, especially finding the good in difficult situations.

“My friends are always so optimistic and uplifting, and so are the teachers,” Grace says. “In things as little as being stressed out for a test, I’m always encouraged to remember that I am learning, that the hard work is good for me and will serve me well in college.”

No skill was perhaps more useful this past semester, Grace’s final semester at Marian, when the COVID-19 pandemic moved Marian life online. As she socially distanced from the place that means so much to her, Grace says she was well-equipped to handle the unprecedented situation with the constant support Marian offered its students.

“Although it is hard, Marian has done such an awesome job staying in touch,” Grace says. “They have encouraged us to find the good in spending time with our families, trying new things and finding ways to stay connected with people.”

Though she finished her senior year in an unconventional way, Grace says it has not shaken her connection with Marian and its core values, particularly spirituality and community.

“My faith life is something that is very important to me and is a big part of my life,” Grace says. “Marian has been so encouraging in this aspect and has helped me grow… My personal relationship with Jesus is so important to me and is the only thing that keeps me going every day.”

For her next chapter, Grace plans to attend Wheaton College in Illinois where she will play softball and study Applied Health Science. She hopes to attend medical school and become a pediatric physician.

“I love kids, so that is definitely why I want to do pediatrics,” Grace says. “I also just love to study the body and how it works. Anatomy has been my favorite class I have taken at Marian. I am very passionate about helping people and am usually able to think quick on my feet, so I just feel like medicine is what I am supposed to do.”

Marian has taught Grace so much, she says. It has helped her cultivate a faith life and support system that will help her find the good in every situation, including those that will come beyond Marian’s walls.

“Having such an amazing group of people around me every day is something that I am so thankful for,” Grace says.


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