FRONT ROYAL – Randolph-Macon Academy senior Noelle Kramer felt like the school was a perfect fit for her.
“I looked at R-MA with my dad and we toured and I really, really liked it,” she said. “I come from a background doing Civil Air Patrol, which is really similar to [Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps], and that was an environment I was familiar with and really comfortable with. To see that integrated into my school life was really cool to me.”
Kramer is one of 45 seniors who will graduate from R-MA on Saturday. Kramer said that her four years at R-MA have been fun.
“People ask me if I could go back to my freshman year and pick a different school, would I, and I would say ‘no,’” she said. “I don’t know what would have happened with my future if I had not chosen R-MA.”
Kramer said that her favorite part of her time in school was being a member of the band. She was a drum major.
“People in the band are known,” she said. “It’s a really kind of exclusive and tight-knit community on campus because we do everything together. We do 12-hour bus rides together, and we rehearse all of the time. It’s been my support group since I’ve been here and my relaxation from all my classes.”
Kramer said she will miss the people at R-MA most of all. She said that, even though she lived right down from R-MA and walked to school every day, she was able to establish strong friendships with the other students there.
“When you go to a boarding school, even if you’re not a boarding student because you spend so much time with the people, I think you form a lot of close relationships than your typical schools,” Kramer said. “It’s like when you don’t ever forget your college friends. It’s the kind of experience we get here.”
Kramer was named the valedictorian of her class and will speak during the graduation ceremony on Saturday, but the title didn’t come without its struggles.
“This year, I’ve had a lot of life changes that have been difficult for me,” she said. “While I’ve been a straight-A or near-straight-A student throughout my entire high school career, after my first semester of my senior year, I started to really not pay attention and not turning in my assignments anymore.”
Kramer said that she had serious conversations with school staff about representing the class of 2019 as valedictorian.
“One of the things that R-MA has been focusing on this year is the value of grit, and I argued about how it would make a better story and it would be a better representation of what R-MA teaches. To have someone who has failed a lot and struggled a lot and was able to pick themselves back up from that and carry my backpack across the finish line.”
Despite her hiccups her senior year, Kramer got a perfect score on her ACT standardized test and got recognized as a “commended student” — a commendation that recognizes students for their academic promise — when she took the SAT standardized test.
Kramer said that she plans to go to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the fall to study computer science. She also plans to take part in an engineering master’s program, which would allow her to get her bachelor’s and master’s degrees by 2024. After college, Kramer plans to serve in the U.S. Air Force. She hasn’t decided if she will pursue a career in the Air Force after her initial four-year enlistment ends.
The RMA graduation ceremony will take place at 10 a.m. in the Melton Memorial Gymnasium. The graduation speaker will be retired Air Force Gen. Darren McDew.