Senior Issue: Big Plans, High Hopes After Graduation

One hundred and eighty-eight students. Athletes. Scholars. Writers, musicians and artists. The Hanover High School Class of 2018 is a group of accomplished individuals eager to leave their mark on the world. Whether through college, work or service to their community and country, seniors have set their sights on securing their future and creating a legacy of which we all can be proud.

Post-graduation plans are taking some students clear across the country.

Lily Hibbard chose Scripps College in Claremont, Calif., in part, she said, because “I hate the cold.” She is thinking about majoring in Environmental Analysis, which is the law and politics of environmental science, or Anthropology. Inspired by a documentary she watched in Mrs. Watts’ Envi Sci course last year, Lily hopes to work for a nonprofit someday that focuses on how access to education in developing countries impacts the environment.

Unlike Lily, Lauren Gelly is ready to embrace the cold when she studies Education and Political Science at the University of Wisconsin. “My parents brought me there to see a Big 10 school and I fell in love with it,” she said. “We New Englanders can handle the weather.”

John Donovan will study Applied Mathematics and Economics at the University of Washington in Seattle. “This was the top public school in the country for it,” he said. He’s not worried about going to school so far from home. “My dad went to school in Oregon, my sister went to California, and my mom went to Hawaii.”

Bridget Hardiman is heading to Ole Miss to study Political Science, drawn by the chance to win a spot in the competitive Trent Lott Leadership Institute. The program focuses on public policy and international relations, which would be solid preparation for Bridget’s future as, say, Secretary of State. “When I joined the debate team sophomore year, I realized I really liked politics,” she said. “My parents always talk about politics, I pretty much grew up with it.” Her only concern about traveling so far from home? “I’m scared they’re going to make fun of my accent.”

Aaron Boise will join the Wolverines of Michigan State, where he plans to major in Criminology. “I’ve loved the college since I was a little kid,” he said. “It’s been my dream to go there.” Internships and classes he had while at HHS helped steer him toward his major.

Victor Costa, who moved to Hanover from Brazil for high school, will start his studies at Massasoit Community College before trying to win a spot in the 2020 Olympics in Japan. He has trained intensively and competed in Taekwondo for years. He is unsure yet which country he would represent.

Many Hanover grads plan to stay closer to home.

Nick O’Hara earned a coveted spot at Harvard University, a school, he said, he “always aspired to and worked hard toward.” He plans to explore a Government or Biology major.

Kristen Nguyen is pursuing Graphic Design at Mass College of Art and Design in Boston. “With art, I  like that I can do whatever I want, whatever comes to my head, and the possibilities are endless.”

Josh Letizia will study Engineering at UMass Dartmouth. “It’s far enough that I’m away from my family but no so far that I can’t still go home and visit,” he said. He will be joined there by Arin Whedbee, who will major in Finance in hopes of owning a real estate company one day. “There are a lot of ways that you can make money in real estate, and it seems like fun to own buildings and land.”

Elizabeth DeMita will attend Bryant College with a major in International Business. “It’s everything I want,” she said, crediting HHS Spanish teacher Mrs. Curtis for introducing her to the field. “You travel the world, learn new languages, and meet new cultures.”

Jake McInerney, will study Marine Transport at Mass Maritime Academy. “I’m not thinking about the college experience, I’m thinking about my future,” he said. “This seemed to be the best investment.”  Will Collett will be among his classmates, majoring in Marine Engineering. “I like the role you play there,” he said. “It’s like a team there.”

Maddy Carroll, who will be attending Ithaca College School of Music, will be studying Jazz Voice with the hopes of appearing on stage professionally. “Music is something that brings people together,” she said.

Wanting to help others was a common theme among Hanover grads.

Jenna Palmer will attend Massasoit to pursue a degree in the medical field, inspired by internships and jobs at South Shore Hospital. “I like to help people, and I’ve talked to a lot of nurses who told me this is a better plan financially.”

Brittany Champagne is heading to the University of Rhode Island to study special education, inspired by the time she’s spent caring for her cousin born with Cerebral Palsy.  “I’ve always knew this was the right path for me.” Jessie Blazo struck a similar chord with her plans to attend Salve Regina, motivated by two cousins with special needs and internships at Cedar School.

Amanda Sullivan will study at Penn State to become one of our most relied upon — and complained about — public figures, a meteorologist. “I like public speaking, I like science and math better than other classes, and I like the weather, so I put two and two together,” she said.

Adri Howell has enrolled at Bridgewater State University to study Marine Biology, specializing in sharks and stingrays. “They’re very misunderstood, and the ocean is such an important part of our world and people don’t understand or care,” she said.

UMass Amherst is, once again, a popular draw for Hanover students.

Mike Stevenson chose the school to study Biochemistry with an eye on becoming a surgeon. “I like taking care of people, doing stuff with my hands, and this seems like a chance to fix the issue instead of just telling people what’s wrong with them,” he said.

He will be joined by John Zarella, whose major in Public Health Science, was inspired by all of his own injuries, and Nick Jones, who will pursue Linguistics and Math. Jones has studied Spanish, American Sign Language, French, Mandarin and Russian and hopes to be an interpreter or translator. “Languages connect people,” he said. “You can’t tell someone how you feel or what you think without language.”

Ritchie Hutchins may bump into all of them on campus as he studies Engineering, citing the school’s reputation as the best campus dining hall in the nation. “Thankfully, it comes with a free gym membership.”

Campus visits were an important factor in deciding on a college for many students.

Jacki Campbell will attend Regis College in Weston to study Nursing, the profession she dreamed of since she was a child. She chose Regis for its size and diversity. “When I visited and saw people walking around campus, there was not one person walking alone,” she said. “You knew that if you went there, you’d make tons of friends.”

Pierce Ghostlaw, who will be attending Saint Michael’s College in Vermont, is deciding between a major in Education or Environmental Science. He’s also interested in a program that prepares students for the Peace Corps. “I fell in love with Vermont when my sister went to college there,” he said. “When I visited, everyone was super friendly and nice.”

Rachel McGurrin is heading to Western New England University in Springfield to study Forensic Chemistry. “I’ve always been fascinated by what goes on behind the scenes of criminal investigations,” she said. “When I stepped onto the campus, I could just see myself going to these classes and being friends with all these people.”

Sierra Little-Gill will attend Trinity College in Hartford to major in Neuroscience and Spanish. “The school has a really nice, unified feel,” she said. She has been accepted into the interdisciplinary science program where she will conduct research and publish papers with professors.

Several students have chosen to enter the military.

Marty Stapleton will be joining the Marines, kicking off his four-year commitment with three months of boot camp and additional training at Camp Lejeune. “I knew college wasn’t my thing — the whole school thing. I couldn’t see doing four more years of it,” he said. After enlisting, recruits take an aptitude test to determine which track they will follow, and Marty hopes to focus on Utilities (trades such as electrician), Infantry or Ordinance. “I chose the Marines because of what it means to be a Marine: leadership, discipline, teamwork.”

Chris Smith hopes time in the military will prepare him – and help pay for – college in a few years. “I’ve gotten construction and landscape job offers from people I’ve worked with, but this felt like the better route for me,” he said. He’s considering joining the Marines, Navy or Coast Guard after he takes a few months off to work and volunteer.

For some students, high school graduation is a chance to take some time to save money and decide on the next steps.

Lauren Cerone plans to work full-time for a year before attending cosmetology school. “I’ve done 13 years of school and I feel like it’s been a lot, so I’m taking a “peace year,” a mental health break,” she said. “I’ve always loved makeup, it made me feel better when I was having a hard time and, eventually even without out makeup, it helped me feel comfortable with myself.”

Owen Gosule will spend a post-grad year Bridgton Academy in Maine. “I don’t feel like I’ve had enough information before college,” he said, “so I want to look into myself and decide what I want to do and not waste my parents’ money.”

While their plans and interests are diverse, Hanover High grads leave with one thing in common: high hopes for the future. We wish them all the best of luck!


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