05/24/07

Saint Mary's 2007 class valedictorian Brandon Birr believes so strongly in the college's Lasallian mission that he plans to make it his life's work as a teacher.

"I'm ready to take what Saint Mary's has given me and go out in the world to share that by using my strengths where they are best used -- in the classroom," said Birr.

Next year, the 22-year-old Los Angeles native will serve as a social studies teacher at La Salle High School in Pasadena, where he was once a student.

Birr said he was inspired to become a teacher by the professors and Christian Brothers at Saint Mary's College who have provided guidance to him both in and out of the classroom.

Graduating with a major in history and a minor in Spanish, Birr served two years as a Bonner Leader working at De Marillac Academy in San Francisco and Saint Mary's College High School in Berkeley. He also served for three years as an ambassador in the college's Admissions Office.

Birr said he is "honored and humbled" to have been named valedictorian. "What a great way to end my four years at a great place like Saint Mary's," he said.

During his valedictory address at the May 26 Commencement, Birr will talk about the values of a Lasallian education.

"The Lasallian mission has been so close to my heart," he said. "Saint Mary's has been so awesome to me that I look at my speech as an opportunity to say thank you to my classmates and teachers who have made it possible for me to get so much out of my experience here."

--Debra Holtz
Office of College Communications

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