Gia Leotta

Congratulations to Moore’s 2023 Valedictorian (drum roll, please)…Gia Leotta! Read on for a Q&A to get to know the Illustration major Gia Leotta, as she discusses what it felt like to be named Valedictorian and her plans for the future. And be sure to join us on Saturday, May 12 at 11 am at the Kimmel Center for Moore’s 174th Commencement to hear Leotta’s speech and celebrate the rest of our graduating seniors! 

Was it your goal to become valedictorian?

Definitely not! I am a bit of a perfectionist. I guess it can be a blessing and a curse. 

How did it feel to be find out you were named valedictorian? 

I was stunned, honestly. I thought for sure it was a mistake, like maybe the email was meant to be sent to another person with a similar name. Once it set in as the reality, I felt very honored. In my experience, this school has been nothing but good to me, and I am really excited to share this honor with the rest of my extremely hardworking class. 

Are you excited about giving a speech at Commencement? 

I am absolutely terrified, to say the least. It’ll be a miracle if I don’t pass out! I did, however, write a draft that I am very proud of. Beyond the stage fright, a big part of me is excited to share.

What are your post-graduation plans? 

I am starting a tattoo apprenticeship with the beautiful souls at Perigee Moon in Cape May, New Jersey. Simultaneously, I hope to continue working on my large-scale oil paintings and pursue gallery events!

What is your biggest piece of advice for future Moore students? 

Stop being so hard on yourself. I know you’ve heard it a million times, but seriously. Give yourself credit for every single accomplishment, from drinking water to creating a piece that you are absolutely involved with. School is difficult, especially one that focuses on your true passion. It truly has the power to lift you up and break you down. This rollercoaster of highs and lows can make you manic, and that’s why you really need to practice being gentle with yourself in every moment. You are doing phenomenal, I promise.

All images courtesy of the artist, Gia Leotta.