Bishop Noll’s Class of 2021 valedictorian becomes third consecutive sibling to earn honor

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Carmelina Komyatte (Photo provided)
Information provided by Bishop Noll Institute

HAMMOND, Ind. (April 9, 2021) – When Bishop Noll Institute senior Carmelina Komyatte graduates as valedictorian this May, she will make history.

Komyatte becomes the third consecutive sibling from her family to earn the title of valedictorian at Bishop Noll, an accomplishment never before achieved in the school’s 100-year history. Her brothers Franco and Giovanni earned the valedictorian title in 2019 and 2020, respectively.

“I think it’s really cool that all three of us have earned this title individually, especially for three consecutive years,” Komyatte said. “We are all pretty different people, but collectively we were always very intrinsically motivated. From a young age we understood that our schoolwork was our own responsibility, so whatever success we got from that was completely ours and no one else’s. And you can see how that could be pretty convincing to three little kids who share everything.”

The siblings attended Our Lady of Grace School in Highland.

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A valedictory trio

“It is a small school, so we knew that we were big fish in that little pond but no one really knew what the big pond of Bishop Noll was going to be like, so we didn’t have expectations. None of us wanted this title for the attention or the speech or the medallion. I think we all just wanted to prove it to ourselves and to other people that we can still be big fish even in a big pond,” Komyatte said.

Graduating as valedictorian is a great source of pride because she has always been hard on herself when it comes to school, she said.

“I finally got to breathe because this is actual proof that I did everything I possibly could have done. I have taken all the hardest classes we have and I have earned all As all four years, and that was simply a matter of hard work and dedication. I have put so much time and effort into my classes and it just feels really good that it has finally paid off.”

Carmelina will follow in the footsteps of brother Giovanni when she attends the University of Notre Dame this fall to major in biology. She said that although they are all different, her brothers inspire her in their own ways.

“They always seemed to know a little bit more about everything than I did. I would get frustrated as a kid when they knew things that I didn’t know because I was younger. So all my life I just wanted to know as much as my brothers did, so that kind of pushed me to want to learn as many things as possible,” she said.

She also said she got serious about earning the title of valedictorian when she found out Franco earned the honor her sophomore year and knew Giovanni would be valedictorian of his class.

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“I was scared about what people would think if I did not get the same title,” she said. “I have worked hard all my life to never be thought of as in my brothers’ shadows, so everything in me refused the possibility of disappointing myself or others. It was always more about me proving to myself that I can do anything my brothers can do. I am sure that has to do with both being the youngest child and the only girl.”

Other achievements

In addition to her academic successes, Carmelina is National Honor Society vice president, co-founder of the Women’s Empowerment Club, a Student Council senator, a Student Ambassador, a retreat leader, and Biology Club chairman. She has also participated on the Speech Team, Academic Super Bowl team, Science Olympiad team, Spanish National Honor Society, and Campus Ministry. In addition, she competed as a Bishop Noll tennis player and swimmer.

Family pride

Her parents, Jude and Cay Komyatte, feel grateful and blessed to have three valedictorians in the family.

“We feel like we are not smart enough to talk to our own children sometimes,” Cay said. “We are happy for them. We know how hard they worked and the challenges they faced. We are proud to just be associated with them. We are most proud that they are strong in their faith.”

The Komyattes said that in addition to their individual hard work, their children’s success is thanks to many including their childhood caregiver, the principal and teachers at Our Lady of Grace, and the Bishop Noll community.

“We are living in extraordinary times, and we have extraordinary young people who have risen to the challenge and have succeeded. Thank God and thank you all,” Cay said.

Bishop Noll Institute is located at 1519 Hoffman Street, Hammond, IN.

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