Real Role Model: Carolyn Fine

by Linnie Zerbib, age 13, from CA

In high schools around the country, students work tirelessly to earn the title of valedictorian – the highest ranked student in the school who delivers the closing speech at the graduation. In her senior year, Carolyn Fine from California, was chosen as the valedictorian at her school, Vacaville High School.

This was a tremendous honor, but there was one problem. The graduation was scheduled for June 9th, 2011, during the holiday of Shavuot. Since it was Yom Tov (a holiday), Carolyn would not be able to speak into a microphone, drive to the ceremony, or take pictures. She didn’t want to miss the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity of accepting the honor of valedictorian, but she also was committed to keeping the laws of Shavuot.

After much worrying and struggling to find the right solution, Carolyn and the school officials reached a compromise: she prerecorded her speech, the recording of which was played during the ceremony. She walked to the ceremony and waited until Shavuot was over to take pictures.

Carolyn’s decision spread much farther than her local high school. Soon news stations picked up the story, and she was featured on CBS news as well as in newspapers across the country. Many people sent Carolyn emails to compliment her for what she did, all this creating an enormous Kiddush Hashem (Sanctification of G-d’s name).

Throughout their lives, Jewish girls will encounter many challenges. Hashem (G-d) will test you to see if you will pass. Sometimes in these tests, you are put in situations where it’s hard for you to decide if you should put your faith first.

Carolyn has great advice for girls who are stuck in similar situations: ”When you are faced with the difficulty of choosing between something you want, and something G-d wants, choose the latter. It not only pays off in the long run, but it gives you strength when future tasks and challenges come your way.”


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