Guided by faith, Rockett achieves SCA milestone

Published 5:38 pm Wednesday, July 19, 2023

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Taylor Rockett marked a milestone for Suffolk Christian Academy and herself in May as the school’s first African-American female valedictorian.

Graduating at the top of the class is a monumental achievement that Rockett looked back on saying for her it was “quite the journey.”

“I struggled at the very beginning of elementary school, which led me to have tutoring every day from kindergarten until fifth grade. I have spent countless nights where I stayed up until 3 a.m. to make sure I did all of my assignments thoroughly,” she said. “For me, excelling in school was the way for me to get into my dream college.”

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Rockett said school provided a way for her to stay out of trouble and not become the stereotypical teenager.

“By becoming valedictorian, I wanted to show my fellow underrepresented communities that everything is possible by being consistent and hardworking no matter what the odds are against you,” Rockett said.

She reflected on making the valedictorian address at her May 27 graduation, noting that it was an emotionally filled day. 

“It was nerve-wracking, to know the day that I had been looking forward to the past 13 years was finally here,” Rockett said. “For my whole senior year, all I could think about was writing the important speech that was a summed-up snapshot of what my life has been like for the past 18 years.” 

She noted that she decided to write her speech three days before graduation, then practicing in the remaining time leading up to the big day. 

Even before it was time for her to step on stage, Rockett recalls she was “anxious and had butterflies.” Plus, she said speaking in front of her family who attended from near and far to support her didn’t make things easier.

“It made me feel even more nervous, especially from practicing with nobody in the audience to a packed audience filled with everyone’s families, friends and faculty. Presenting the valedictorian address was not only a final goodbye to the school that I attended for the past 13 years,” Rockett said. “This address was a thank you to my family, teachers and administrative staff who helped and shaped me into the amazing person I am today.”

When she was finishing her graduation address, she said she had to remind everyone graduation is the closing of a chapter and an opening to a new one in life.

“While being sad, I had to remind myself that it was not a sad time, but a joyous occasion,” she said. “I wish I had not rushed graduation to come so soon as I once did in kindergarten.”

Reflecting on becoming SCA’s first African-American female valedictorian, Rockett discussed how she wanted to “break the standard” of what a valedictorian should look or be like. She also stressed the importance of believing in herself as well as her faith in Christ.

“I have had to believe in myself and know that I had all the knowledge at my fingertips,” she said. “There have been many times I have wanted to give up because it was hard for me. In those times, Jesus never left my side and I prayed every day for Him to help me to gain knowledge and understanding of all subjects. I have had to persevere through all aspects of my life.”

With her faith, Rockett said it was easier knowing that she had Christ rooting for her every step of the way.

“All glory goes to God because I know that I was not able to do all of this by myself,” she said. “I have always walked by faith and not by sight.”

With high school behind her, Rockett now prepares for the next step — attending college at New York University, which she selected for its biology program.

“I am majoring in biology with a pre-medicine track,” Rockett said. “The biology program is the 22nd-best ranked biology major out of all the colleges in the world. It is also one of the best colleges in the world. I want to be a neurosurgeon in the future and they have a great medical school.”

Rockett said NYU offers opportunities for her career and what she’s interested in. She also praised the opportunities it provides for networking and diversity as well as finding ways to serve her community.

“NYU has great internships and so many networking opportunities available to me by being in the city. The amount of diversity at NYU is an incredible way for me to learn about other cultures and learn about others’ perspectives and beliefs,” she said. “I will also be a part of the Honors Scholars Program. Which is going to help me serve the new community that I am joining and find solutions to better improve the world and to help others around me.”

Rockett shared her aspirations and goals for the future, which includes taking the Medical College Admission Test for medical school and earning her undergraduate biology degree. 

Following this, she plans to attend the NYU Grossman School of Medicine to study in its neurosurgery program.

Despite the long journey ahead, Rockett believes that she is ready for the path she’s taking with the strength of God by her side.

“I am more than capable and ready to put in all of the work and dedication it takes to become a surgeon,” she said.

Her goals include becoming one of New York City’s most successful neurosurgeons, providing her patients with the relief they need and forming a nonprofit organization that offers the option of free surgeries no matter what they may need to be done. Additionally, she said she will continue to support her family in all aspects of life. 

“My main goal is to continue serving God in all stages of my life by fulfilling His purpose and the will that He has for my life,” Rockett said.