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Valedictorian Chooses Faith Over Speech

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VACAVILLE, Calif. (CBS13) – A local valedictorian will not be giving a graduation speech in person in order to observe a religious holiday, but her message will still be heard.

Vacaville High School valedictorian Carolyn Fine said has struggled over the past few weeks to find a balance between her Jewish faith and her duties as valedictorian, which include the honor of speaking at her graduation ceremony Thursday.

Carolyn said she will begin observing the holiday of Shavu’ot, and that means she can’t use anything that requires electricity until after dark on Thursday.

“It’s not going to work out so well if I’m standing in front of thousands of people and I can’t use the microphone,” she said. “I don’t think my voice is that loud.”

After considering her dilemma — giving the speech with a microphone or following her faith — she chose the latter. Fortunately, school officials came up with a plan to let her do both.

“They prerecorded my speech and they are going to play that while I’m standing up there,” Carolyn said.

“It was a tremendous relief,” she added. “It seemed like I had reached a compromise where I could keep to my faith and accept this, because it’s a huge honor.”

Observing the holiday also means Carolyn can’t use a car to get to graduation, so she’ll walk; she’ll also forego graduation pictures, since a camera requires power.

In the end, Carolyn said she’ll always remember graduation day as the day she put her faith first.

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