“I went to Doty Elementary School in Worcester with a total of 60 kids in the entire school. You can only imagine how overwhelming it was to enter this packed gymnasium on the first day of school, trying to search for an open seat in a sea of strangers. I remember being squished over there in the corner staring at the student speakers in disbelief. “How could they ever talk in front of the whole school?” But here I am five years later. As a shy guy, it still takes a lot of guts to stand up here, but after my time at U-32, I’ve not only matured, but I’ve learned that this school is not as large and overwhelming as I once believed. When I was in middle school I dreaded the times I would come across an older kid in the hallway. My formula for awkwardness went as follows: keep my head down, walk fast and avoid eye contact. This was my daily nightmare. However, before long I learned that I could wake up from my nightmare. My mind questioned why I had to be nervous at all. What’s the worst that could happen if I make eye contact? Since that moment I have evolved. No one in this school is out to get me—all it takes is confidence.”
John Rahill lives in Worcester. A three-season athlete, John will attend Harvard University in the fall.
Enya Hughes Shares a Portion of Her Application to Tufts’ University:
“I was born in Vermont and have lived in Montpelier, the smallest state capital in the country, my whole life. With fewer than 8,000 people, in Montpelier everybody knows you and looks out for you. This has always made me feel safe—something very important to me since my parents divorced, and my mother raised me and my sister on a pretty low income. The great thing about Montpelier is that I never felt different from other kids who came from wealthier families. I grew up in a home and community that placed high value on education. ‘Your job is to be a student,’ my mother would say. As a result, I loved school. My community is so small that I’ve never taken a school bus. When I was little, my mother would walk me to elementary school, and I still walk to high school to this day—which is only a mile away from my home. Montpelier High School has been selected as one of the country’s top high schools. It has provided a wonderful place to learn: small classes, dedicated teachers and a real focus on respecting individualities. I doubt I would be the strong, confident, passionate woman I am today if I had been raised anywhere else.”
Enya Hughes is a trailblazer. She has defied the studies that correlate economic status with academic achievement. Not only will she graduate from Montpelier High School as a member of the valedictory group, her desire to pursue a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) course of study will inspire other young women to follow suit. Enya will attend Tufts University’s School of Engineering in the fall.
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