As Mashpee High School seniors prepare to graduate tomorrow, many will receive their diplomas with mixed feelings about their futures: excitement over entering college, the military, or beginning a new job; and uneasiness about leaving the comfort of their school community.
At an interview in guidance counselor Lindsay L. Kett’s office on Tuesday, eight seniors pursuing varying career paths shared a general consensus that this community has changed them in a positive way.
“I moved here in 5th grade and this is the longest I’ve ever been in one place,” Class of 2014 valedictorian Amanda M. Sullivan, who will be attending Worcester Polytechnic Institute to study biochemistry in the fall, said. “It’s been a good experience for me and it’s going to be hard leaving a place where I’ve been for such a long time.”
Her classmate Konstantinos A. Gouzias, who is planning to enter the US Navy next year before attending college, expressed the same sentiment.
“You go from seeing all of these people every day, and it’s like in two months, you’re not going to see anyone again,” he said.
Other students said that they were grateful for the opportunities that they have had to participate in sports and extracurricular activities in high school, which they recognized is a chance that they may not have in college due to larger class sizes.
“We were on a cheer team throughout high school,” Alyssa N. Farren said, referring to other girls in the room. “It’s sad that it’s over but the opportunity [allowed us to] make new friends and I think it changed me as a person.”
Most described the feeling as bittersweet, complemented by a feeling of preparedness to enter the next chapters in their lives. When asked how they felt that their high school experiences helped prepare them for the future, the seniors described the work of faculty and staff, Advanced Placement courses, and other academic and extracurricular programs offered at their school.
Andrew C. Hellwig said that he feels prepared to enter a jazz minor program at the University of Rhode Island after taking an AP music theory course and working closely with music teacher Andrew Troyanos.
“I was told that an AP course is really close to the first courses you’ll take in college, so that really helps a lot,” Andrew said.
Seniors Nica D. Zamira and Keturah N. Peters were inspired by their senior projects to enter the fields of fire science and nursing, respectively.
“For my senior project I did a presentation on dorm safety regarding fires,” Nica said, adding that she shadowed Mashpee Fire Department inspector Joel Clifford and learned how to inspect buildings for safety hazards. She plans to enter a five-year master’s program for fire science at Anna Maria College in the fall.
Keturah, on the other hand, decided to study nursing at the University of Pennsylvania after leading a bone marrow drive at the high school for her senior project.
“I chose nursing because I’m interested in math and science and I have a passion for helping people,” she said, explaining that researching health issues like cancer for her project enhanced her desire to enter the medical field.
Additionally, Class of 2014 president Sophia A. Hall realized that she wanted to enter the veterinary field after completing a School-to-Career internship at the Cinroc Stables in Falmouth and Maushop Equestrian Center in Mashpee.
“Being around large animals and livestock animals four to five days per week really sold me on working with animals,” she said of her decision.
When Alyssa and fellow senior Madeline Corsi—who chose to pursue a career in social work after participating in the high school’s chapter of Project Purple—thanked Ms. Kett for her guidance throughout their senior year, Ms. Kett complimented the students on their success.
“Senior year is a significant transition all year, so it’s not just about being in this building and being seniors. It’s about getting them ready for their futures and really taking those moments of independence and building on [them] and nurturing them to let them know they can do it,” she said. “They can do anything they set their minds to and achieve any of their goals.”