End of high school draws near

From left, Courtney Howell and Maisie Jarell hold each other after their graduation last year from the class of 2016. —Courtsey Courtney Howell

By Danielle Hopkins

With graduation right around the corner, many seniors at MVRHS are focused on what lies ahead for next year, whether it’s college, a job, vocational school, or a gap year. These students still have one more academic quarter to complete, however, before they can officially say they are done. During this last quarter, many have been reflecting on the past four years and how they want to finish out their high school career.

“I want to spend my last quarter of high school focusing on finishing out my four years strong,” said senior Cana Courtney. “I want to keep my grades where they are, while spending as much time with my friends as I can before we separate next year.”

Senior Doug DeBettencourt said, “I really am trying to focus on my [Advanced Placement] exams and do well on those, because once I take them I’m pretty much done with school.”

“While I’ve had what one would call ‘senioritis’ since I committed to my university in February, my senior project is keeping me devoted to school,” said senior Ellie Hanjian. “It’s a lot of work but I’m really interested in what I am doing so it doesn’t really feel like work most of the time.”  

Seniors are given the opportunity to devote three or four out of the eight classes in their schedule to a senior capstone project. Lucy Ulyatt is one of the 25 seniors this year who chose to work on one for her second semester. “I want my last quarter to be as positive as realistically possible. I really really hope that my project is a success, because I’m so excited to see it come to fruition,” she said. Lucy is creating a book of short essays written by the people who have influenced her life in a positive way.

Leaving the high school is bittersweet for some. “I wish I could bring the photo lab with me next year,” said senior Olivia Knight. “There’s nowhere in the school I feel more comfortable than in Mr. Baer’s classroom. I have made the work I am most proud of in there, and I’ve learned so much about art and my deep love for it.”

“While I’m so excited to leave MVRHS, I wish I could take programs like the Race Culture Retreat or Peer Outreach to school with me next year. I think everyone who attends these retreats has benefitted from them, and I think the world would be a better place if every student had these opportunities,” Ellie said.

Others have found their place and comfort in sports. “Playing hockey was a huge stepping stone for me,” said senior Jamilynn Joseph. “I went into it not knowing how to skate, and I practiced really, really hard and became a goalie. I tried out for varsity twice. The first time I tried out I didn’t make it, and I used that as fuel to practice and work on getting better and better, and I made it the next year.”

Doug has been looking forward to graduation almost all year. “I am really ready to get off the Island and experience something different and new. Graduation is the end of high school but just the beginning of the rest of my life, and I am really excited for that,” he said.

Senior Ben Nadelstein found his home in the music department at MVRHS over his years in high school. “I regret not finding the music department earlier in high school. I guess my advice would be to try everything, even if it scares you. Nobody is going to judge you for trying things, and I wish I knew that as a freshman,” he said.

“MVRHS has really taught me to utilize the resources given to you. The teachers and their dedication to helping students is one of the best things about this school. Most if not all are willing to help you get where you want to be academically, which benefitted me greatly throughout my four years of high school,” Cana said.

“If I could change anything about MVRHS I would add the extra common work period that they are planning on adding to the schedule next year, so I really hope that goes well,” Lucy said.

Most if not all the seniors at MVRHS are experiencing in some degree the disease of senioritis, an ebb and flow of motivation and effort by school seniors. One can often tell a senior is suffering from senioritis if there is evidence of absences and lower grades.

“I got early-onset senioritis,” said senior Ben Nadelstein. “All my friends Junior year were seniors, so I got infected as a junior.”

“Senioritis hit me like a truck when second semester started, and I started going to school every other day because of my senior project,” Olivia said. “However it’s bittersweet walking the hallways as a student knowing I have so little time left with the people I have grown to love so much.”