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A dream is a wish you make happen

Kayla Latendresse

Kayla Latendresse of Brick, N.J., harbored a love for all things Disney from an early age. She fondly remembers twirling in her princess dress, enchanted by her beloved characters. Yet, for her, Disney represented more than just captivating tales—it symbolized the spirit of daring to dream.

However, Kayla doesn’t perceive dreams as mere fantasies; to her, they are blueprints for action. Kayla was inspired to share the magic with others through her passion: writing. She began her studies at Georgian Court to earn a degree in English with a Concentration in Writing. “For me, writing embodies the essence of freedom—an avenue to express ideas, share stories, and inspire and influence others through words,” she said.

As Kayla started her academic journey, her first class affirmed her decision, revealing GCU as the perfect fit. “I always knew I loved to write, but my Creative Writing class with Professor Wedlock revealed that this is the place for me, and this is exactly what I am meant to be doing.” From poetry to fiction, she explored various forms of expression.

“Each professor I’ve encountered here has been exceptional, and I’m deeply thankful to the English department. They didn’t just instruct me—they motivated me to seek out further experiences, whether it was participating in Fountain Spray (the university’s literary and art magazine) or encouraging me to apply to and become a member of Sigma Tau Delta, and the International English Honor Society,” she stated. Kayla’s commitment to her studies has resulted in consistent placement on both the Dean’s and President’s lists.

Kayla immersed herself in various campus activities. She dedicated time to helping fellow students as a writing tutor at the Writing Center and lent her voice as a Cantor/singer for GCU Sunday masses. “I find great joy in helping others wherever I can. Being able to support my peers has been incredibly fulfilling for me,” said Kayla.

Kayla found her calling at GCU. She was drawn to the university by its warm and supportive atmosphere. “The moment you set foot on campus, you immediately sense the welcoming and supportive community, and there’s always someone there to help you in any way.” Moreover, she resonated deeply with GCU’s commitment to the Mercy core values. “I appreciate the University’s dedication to these principles, as I have grown up with the same beliefs, and will continue to embody these values throughout my life.”

Kayla was selected to serve as the Undergraduate speaker for commencement for the graduating Class of 2024. “It was an unexpected honor—I was so surprised and had to read the email a few times to believe it.” She continued, “It’s an incredible honor and a validation of all the hard work I’ve put in. I am filled with excitement and gratitude.”

Kayla said her address to classmates will be a secret until graduation day, but she aims to leave her classmates with a powerful message. She hopes to inspire them to embrace their dreams with courage and inner strength as they set out on their post-graduation journey.

With unwavering determination, Kayla has been able to transform her dreams into reality through hard work and perseverance. She said she is committed to honing her skills and leveraging the power of words to make a meaningful impact on readers, whether through content or creative writing. Her ultimate aspiration is to author a children’s book, drawing inspiration from her boundless imagination and passion for storytelling.

Looking ahead, Kayla shared her post-graduation goal, stating, “My goal is to continuously learn, as I believe learning extends far beyond school.”

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About Georgian Court University

Georgian Court University is a leading regional university that provides a transformative education, preparing students for ethical leadership and service in the Catholic Mercy tradition. Founded in 1908 and sponsored by the Sisters of Mercy, Georgian Court University is Central and South Jersey’s only Catholic university. The university has a strong liberal arts core and a historic special concern for women.

As a forward-thinking university that supports diversity and academic excellence, GCU is known for expanding possibility for more than 1,900 students of all faiths and backgrounds in 35+ undergraduate majors and 10+ graduate programs. The GCU Lions compete in 16 NCAA Division II sports in the Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference (CACC). In 2020, GCU was named a Best Value College by and a Best Bang for the Buck (Northeast) by Washington Monthly. High student retention and graduation rates make GCU a Top Performer on Social Mobility on U.S. News & World Reports rankings, and in 2024, GCU was named one of the best Online Master’s Colleges in New Jersey.

The main campus is in Lakewood, New Jersey, on the picturesque former George Jay Gould estate, a National Historic Landmark. Georgian Court, which is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, also serves students through its Center for Professional Studies, and at other locations, including GCU at Brookdale, and through multiple online degree and certificate programs.