Head of School Bill Taylor, Valedictorian Leo Liu, and Leo's family

This year’s Valedictorian, Leo Liu, is an outstanding scholar who has excelled both academically and in co-curricular activities. Over his four years, Leo has completed 7 AP classes and 8 AP exams, consistently taking a challenging course load, including 6 to 7 classes each year. He has actively participated in various programs, notably serving as the editor of The Phoenix during his senior year, demonstrating remarkable leadership and commitment. Additionally, Leo has been a key member of the squash and tennis teams at Trinity-Pawling.

In Head of School Bill Taylor’s introduction of Leo, he commented, “Reflecting on the time I first met Leo in September 2020, the School was just reopening amid the global pandemic after significant efforts to adapt to the new normal. Leo, along with other students, began his journey at Trinity-Pawling with a two-week quarantine in Johnson Hall. The challenges posed by COVID-19 have significantly shaped the experiences of this graduating class, making their achievements even more commendable. Leo’s ability to adapt and grow through these trying times is particularly noteworthy. Under the guidance of his advisor Mr. Slade Mead, Leo has even overcome his aversion to pizza, symbolizing his personal growth. As Leo prepares to attend Johns Hopkins University in the fall, I extend my heartfelt congratulations to him on his numerous achievements and wish him continued success. It is my honor to introduce the Valedictorian of the Class of 2024, Leo Liu.”

Leo Liu, the Valedictorian of Trinity-Pawling’s Class of 2024, began his commencement speech by expressing heartfelt gratitude to various key individuals, including his parents, sister, friends, and teachers, for their unwavering support. He humorously acknowledged his discomfort with public speaking and shared his initial reluctance to accept the honor of delivering the speech, yet a conversation with his friend Cabby (Charles-Antoine Boucher ’24) ultimately convinced him to embrace the challenge.

Leo recounted his journey from Hong Kong to the United States amid political unrest and the pandemic, described his initial culture shock and the difficulties of adapting to life at Trinity-Pawling. He humorously noted his first impression of the School and his uncomfortable quarantine experience, which eventually led him to appreciate his surroundings and become a proud member of the community. Despite early struggles, Leo highlighted his growth over the years, crediting sports and extracurricular activities with helping him step out of his comfort zone and develop valuable life skills. He mentioned the supportive faculty and friends who encouraged him along the way, particularly during difficult times like the loss of his grandparents.

Leo emphasized the importance of brotherhood, resilience, and continuous personal development. He concluded by urging his classmates to cherish their memories and maintain their connections as they move forward, borrowing a quote from Julius Caesar to celebrate their collective achievements: “We came, we saw, and we conquered.” He ended with a congratulatory note to the class of 2024 and a spirited “Roll Pride!”

Watch Leo’s full speech here.

Photo: Leo Liu with his family and Head of School Bill Taylor at Commencement