(Note: Our audio interview was recorded before Aubrey was officially announced as valedictorian).

Aubrey Vervynckt comes from a very big Catholic family. It’s also a very smart Catholic family. A very, very smart Catholic family.

The Plymouth High School senior was just named Valedictorian for her senior class but she’s far from the first member of her family to receive the honor. Her mom Laura led the way as a valedictorian at Plymouth. Four of her brothers were valedictorian and a sister was salutatorian. Aubrey is the youngest of 8 kids and has matured in her faith thanks to not only her parents but her siblings as well. The Vervynckt family are parishioners at St. Michael’s Church in Plymouth.

Aubrey is our Redeemer Radio 95.7FM Student of the Month for June, presented by Ben’s Soft Pretzels. Our student of the month recognizes high school seniors who excel in the classroom, show a strong Catholic faith and are involved in extracurricular activities.

In addition to being named valedictorian, Aubrey received the Keizer Award that goes to the top female athlete in the senior class and was named Student Athlete of the Year for her efforts in soccer and tennis. Other extracurricular activities include Student Council, National Honor Society, Spanish Club, Seed Club & Art Club. Student Council has been great for her, giving her opportunities to serve her community.

“Just recently we put on a field day for the special needs kids,” Aubrey explained. “We had a bunch of different schools come to our high school–out on the football field and we had tons of activities for them to do. And we got to know the students and getting to interact with all of them and find out about their lives and just being there for them and helping them to have a great day.”

Aubrey also helped put on a Christmas Party for underprivileged kids in the Plymouth school system.

“We have this Christmas party every year. We get a list of students that can come to this event. The Student Council members, we go around to businesses throughout Plymouth and we collect as many donations as we can. Then we go out and we buy gifts for all of these students who may not have that opportunity at home during the Christmas season.”

When it comes to school—no question—academics are most important for Aubrey. It’s a tremendous honor for her to become the 6th member of her family to be named valedictorian.

“Grades have always been very important, always striving to be the best and get A’s in all of my classes,” Aubrey says. “I have a ton of siblings to look up to and my mom who can always help me with my homework and help me to be my best.”

Having that big family with seven older siblings has given Aubrey a number of people to help her grow in her faith journey as well.

“Some of them have already gotten married and have kids,” Aubrey says of her siblings. “So the family just keeps growing and I’m always looking up to them and their marriages and getting to see all of everything that they’ve gone through in life. We’ve had five Baptisms and First Communions just within this last month. I have twin nieces who just had their First Communion, two of my newest nieces just got baptized and one of my nephews just had his First Communion as well. It’s a ton of fun and all of my family gets together and we just have a great time.”

“My parents, they always made sure that we go to Church every Sunday,” Aubrey said. “We like to get involved with the Church as much as we can. My dad takes us to help clean around the Church or do yard work. And they’ve just been huge examples for us.”

Aubrey says her faith has grown even stronger after her oldest niece Emery went through a very scary and serious incident last fall.

“She basically had a heart attack,” Aubrey said. “She was out on a run for one of her little clubs and kind of fell to the ground. Luckily one little neighbor boy saw her and ran for help. A neighbor who luckily was a nurse, saw her and was able to do CPR until my family could get out there and call 9-1-1. Then the ambulances came but God was just always watching out for her from the get go and He continued to be with my family through several weeks at Riley Children’s Hospital. We found out that she had a birth defect in her heart so she had a surgery to correct that. Just ever since that day, I’ve grown a lot closer to God knowing that he’s watching out for my family and guiding our steps. And she’s doing much better.”

It’s great to hear Emery is doing well now but when Aubrey first heard the news, she says it was heartbreaking.

“We weren’t sure what had happened or what was going to happen. We started into prayer right away with doing rosaries and it was a very scary time but we always had the faith that she was going to be okay. We have our family group chat that we were always texting in and always getting updates from our parents and it was a very scary time, but we knew it was all going to be okay.”

Aubrey believes having that faith in God is crucial for her.

“It helps me a lot. I’m always finding myself praying every day, just before anything, even little or I’m always praying before my athletic activities and always knowing that God’s always with me and whatever happens is for the best. And it’s all going to be all right.”

And that faith has grown by being a part of the St. Michael’s Parish community Aubrey says. It’s where Aubrey also went to grade school. She calls the parish and school very welcoming, friendly and loving.

After grade school, she went to Plymouth High School. Now Aubrey will celebrate graduation with her fellow seniors at Plymouth on Friday.

“I really like Plymouth and I like the smaller studying at the high school and getting to know my teachers and them getting to know me on a more personal level and I can go ask them any questions and they’re always willing to help and also seeing them just out in the community and getting to talk to them. And they’re very friendly.”

As valedictorian, Aubrey will now deliver a speech at graduation.

As for what’s next for Aubrey following graduation–he wanted to attend a college that was a faith based institution and she found that. After that, maybe it’s back to one of her first two schools.

“I’m committed to Bethel University and I’m going to be playing soccer there in the fall,” Aubrey said. “I’m looking to major in math education in hopes of being a high school math teacher, giving back to my community and being involved in the school system and maybe even coming back to the St. Michaels or Plymouth High School.”

Aubrey says she wants to give a special shoutout to her mom Laura.

“She’s helped me with my athletics, my academics, and in my faith. And she’s been a huge role model for me, always to look up to.”

Aubrey will receive a $25 gift card from Ben’s Soft Pretzels.

Be sure to check out our interview with Aubrey that’s linked above. This is our final Student of the Month for this school year.

Congratulations Aubrey!

(Note: Our audio interview was recorded before Aubrey was officially announced as valedictorian).