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In Memory of Grace Rett '18

Upon hearing the news of the passing of Grace Rett '18 this week, Head of School Joe Hanrahan called the Marianapolis community together for prayer and reflection. Mr. Hanrahan described Grace as someone who never dedicated herself to something with 100% or 110%. In his words, “Grace was a ‘200%'er’ in all facets of her life. As a student, an athlete, a leader, a friend, and a devout Catholic, Grace left no stone unturned. She was 200% dedicated to her family, friends, teammates, and her faith. Grace's impact on the lives she has touched will be everlasting. Now she is rowing with the angels.” 

Reflecting on Grace’s legacy at her alma mater, Associate Head of School Karen Tata recalls the way she “lived the mission of our school as a true Golden Knight. Her energy was infectious, her determination was inspiring, and her faith was steadfast and grounded. Grace was a devoted friend and teammate who felt that their success was just as important as her own. She challenged herself in all aspects of Marianapolis life and did so with a vivacious, positive spirit and outlook. Taken too soon, the world will not benefit from her skills, her example, and her love.”

School Chaplain, Father Timothy Roth, MIC remembers Grace as “an integral part of campus ministry. She helped develop the Salvete, Spiritus, and Community Service ministries. She was a frequent visitor to the campus ministry space and encouraged her peers by her leadership and compassion with a willingness to accompany her peers on their spiritual journey. She would inspire and encourage personal growth, human growth, and spiritual growth. She complimented her words with actions. She was the epitome of ‘using words to move others but using actions to attract them.’ When she graduated, she left a standard for the new campus ministry leadership to aspire to achieve.”

Academically, Rett was a talented contributor to the class of 2018. She was a member of the National Honors Society and an AP® Scholar with Honor. She was active in school leadership roles through Captains’ Council and Spiritus, and she was an engaged scholar and a skilled musician. Faculty member Tara Kelly remembers Grace as “the tide that raised all boats, in such a subtle and uplifting way. She soaked in the material and was always looking to improve herself. Grace never thought she was the best, but she always strived to be the best. She gave everything of herself in every way possible.”

Beyond the classroom, Grace Rett was a pioneer. Her arrival at Marianapolis in the fall of 2014 coincided with one of the School’s greatest thresholds for innovation in recent memory. The year Grace arrived to our Thompson campus, so did crew boats. And the mutual impact would – quite literally – come to change the world.

While crew was her passion, Rett was a multi-dimensional athlete, adding to the decorated women’s basketball program throughout her tenure. To her teammates, Grace was known as a principled role model, a peer who always led by the examples of hard work and faith. Despite basketball not being her main sport, Coach Laurel Brown remembers Grace as “giving the sport and her team 100% all of the time. She always put the team and others before herself, and set an example for what a teammate and player should be. Her teammates, the entire basketball program, and the Marianapolis community were better because of Grace.”

Rett began rowing crew as the first boat launched for Marianapolis six years ago. She was an asset to the program from the start, bringing an unyielding spirit to the team’s novice seasons. When she graduated in 2018, Grace earned accolades across the board. In her senior year alone, the crew team honored Rett with the Golden Knight Award, which recognizes the athlete who exemplifies the mission of extracurriculars at Marianapolis, as well as the Outstanding Achievement award, for a high-achieving student athlete in their program. By June, Rett also received faculty-wide praise as she received The Father Casimir Kuckell Memorial Award. This graduation honor is voted on by all varsity coaches and granted to the graduating senior with superlative ability, enthusiasm, determination, and leadership within athletics. Rett received this award as the first female to compete in all eight varsity seasons of crew at Marianapolis.

Through her eight seasons of rowing, and additional time spent in their classrooms, Grace’s crew coaches know her well and have expressed their most heart-felt sentiments at her passing this week. Coach Parodi-Brown offered the following. “As a student and as an athlete, Grace's determination to be her best guided her every day. She was passionate about everything she did; she did not know how to put less than her best into anything she did, and she did so much. A musician, an athlete, and a scholar, it was the connections she made with people that will be her lasting legacy. She was generous and kind, she was caring and thoughtful, she was enthusiastic and creative. Having taught and coached her, having traveled with her to Spain and Italy, and having been her advisor, I have countless memories of Grace. The ones that are clearest to me today are the moments in which she looked to lift others up and to create spaces that validated and honored others. She was selfless and bright and genuine in her interactions with peers. I was always proud of her and will miss her tremendously.”

In the words of head crew coach Sean Murphy, “Marianapolis Crew lost its brightest alum Wednesday morning. Grace Rett was an inspiration for everyone who knew her. Her passion and enthusiasm for not only rowing, but every aspect of her life, challenged us all to rise to her expectations for us, and be better versions of ourselves as a result. Our rowing program and our school community has been undeniably enriched through Grace’s impact.”

“I keep looking at photos of Grace in my classroom. Every time I do, I'm surprised to find that her image does not add to my grief; instead it fills me with joy. I cannot help but smile back at her. Grace was such a force of positivity in my life and I imagine she will continue to be. My greatest comfort the last couple days has been how proud Grace made me, as her coach and teacher. Working with her, I was repeatedly awed by her unquenchable personal drive and ever-more-impressive accomplishments. Grace lived such a full life, even though it was cut tragically short. I know I will always think of her as one of the brightest spots in my career.”

Grace, along with her sister Brianne ’21 and loving parents, have been devoted fans at Marianapolis events for years and are all treasured members of the Golden Knight family. Students, faculty, alumni, and parents have shared an outpouring of love for the indelible mark Grace left at Marianapolis, and we all continue to keep the Rett family in our prayers.