Kathryn Lopez

The secret is out here. Eileen Gallagher, finishing up her sophomore year as a political science major, feels similarly and adds: "I was able to act and dress appropriately during the hardest teenage years because of the love and support of my family. Now, in college, I try to dress stylishly and beautifully, but modestly, because I have realized that the best guys will respect that."

Ave Maria isn't utopia, for modesty or anything else. It is, after all, college. But here, kids try to encourage each other to live differently.

"Being modest does not mean being ostracized from society," notes junior Sarah Pakalauk, who shares Charles' double majors. Nor does it mean dressing like a nun -- there can be real fashion in modesty.

Her younger sister, Sophie, who has the political bug, is an unabashed fan of another Sarah, Palin. When the former Alaska governor told a tax-weekend tea-party rally in Wisconsin that our leaders ought to fight like girls -- women who care about the future of their families and country, like the women who organized tea-party rallies around the country last year -- I thought of these men and women of Ave Maria. They are grounded, respectful of themselves and one another, desirous to learn, and generous of heart, looking forward to humbly but confidently engaging the broader culture.

Here's to graduation.

Kathryn Lopez

Kathryn Jean Lopez, editor of National Review Online, writes a weekly column of conservative political and social commentary for Newspaper Enterprise Association.