Class of 2019: St. Mary’s Doud excelled as equestrian, advocate for immigrants

LOTHIAN – Aidan Doud graduated from St. Mary’s High School in Annapolis atop his class, in similar fashion to the way he led his horse, Nike. The skills needed to be a successful equestrian, it seems, lend oneself to being a valedictorian.

“Competitive riding has given me not just a hobby but an all-intensive lifestyle,” Doud said. “It’s shown me I can face challenges. It’s forced me to have a more mature outlook. It’s forced me to think about things other than myself.”

Along with three sisters from Virginia, Doud competes with the Punk Rock Ponies, not just in the Mid-Atlantic, but internationally. He has been a national division champion.

“It’s an adrenal rush to be at top speed on a horse,” he said.

Doud lives on a small horse farm in southern Anne Arundel County, where he cares for six horses before school and exercises them in the evenings.

That did not get in the way of being president of the Mock Trial Club, a member of the Model UN and Speech and Debate clubs, National Honor Society, and playing varsity football.

“My big thing is always making schedules,” Doud said. “I’m always concerned that I’m missing something.”

He found time to volunteer at The Center of Help in Annapolis, helping young immigrants adapt to life in the United States. That work has him considering a pre-law track when he enters the University of Virginia.

“It’s been a great opportunity to work there,” he said. “It’s great to see there are these programs to help people. It’s pushed me to understand life beyond school. It’s shaped how I want to use the tools of the law to help them.”

Doud attended public schools before following his sister, Abby, to St. Mary’s.

“It was about finding what is best for us, in our upbringing as Catholics and the goal of going to college,” he said.

Their parents, Gregg and Pennye, belong to Holy Family in Davidsonville and St. Mary’s in Annapolis. Doud said his blessings include Matthew Martelli, his freshman year English teacher and debate club coach.

Continuing to ride competitively while in Charlottesville, Doud said, “will be a challenge. It will take some planning.”

Karen Sampson Hoffman

Karen Sampson Hoffman

Karen Sampson Hoffman, a freelance writer for the Catholic Review, is a graduate of St. Bonaventure University, New York, and taught journalism at the State University of New York at Fredonia.

Karen has been a community reporter in Western New York and now produces a weekly newsletter for a voluntary health agency. She lives in St. Denis, Halethorpe, with her husband and is a member of the Catholic Community at Relay.