Southeastern Regional Vocational Technical High School is proud to announce the Class of 2012 graduates holding the highest grade point averages from each of its nine communities: Brockton’s Nicole Spano (Salutatorian), East Bridgewater’s Thomas O’Neill (Valedictorian), Easton’s Alicia Coleman, Foxborough’s Sean Foley, Mansfield’s Tayla Battersby, Norton’s Shannon Duchaine, Sharon’s Andrew Hollister, Stoughton’s Kayla Vazquez and West Bridgewater’s Alex Woodward.
Brockton: Nicole Spano, Early Childhood Education
Nicole is Salutatorian, Ranking #2 out of 277 Students
Nicole has excelled at Southeastern, and is this year’s salutatorian, class president, and president of the National Honor Society. She majored in early childhood education, and she wrote a senior research paper on Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). Her senior project was based on her work experience at the Creative Learning Center, in Easton, where she worked for two years through Southeastern’s Co-op program.
Nichole plans to attend Bridgewater State University this fall, with the goal of becoming a child psychologist. We asked her the following questions about school and her interests:
How did you choose your goal of becoming a child psychologist? I was thinking of either psychology or teaching, and I’ve always wanted to work with kids and help them. I majored in early education, so I could get the knowledge of them growing and how their brains work, and then I decided that psychology was the path for me because I wanted to help them, as well as be with them.
Why did you come to Southeastern? I wanted to get the experience of meeting new people, because none of my friends came here as freshmen. I also have a lot of family members who have came here, and they’ve all said it was great.
Who is your favorite teacher? Ms. Kim Dolan. I’ve worked with her the past few years because I’ve been class president for the last two years, and class treasurer my sophomore year. She’s helped with a lot of what I’ve gone through in high school, and she’s been there whenever I need her.
What was your favorite class? Math
What was your favorite experience at Southeastern? I have two. I’ve definitely loved going on Co-op. I’ve also liked the whole experience of being at school because the teachers are so welcoming, and I’ve always felt comfortable here.
What is your advice to incoming freshmen? It’s mostly about your senior year and your senior project. Do all your tasks before the senior year comes because once it hits, you want to enjoy your last year, and you want to have all your work done. I did my senior essay my junior year, so when senior year came, I was done and stress-free. And for portfolios, I saved everything I did from freshmen year, and I substituted things in and out, and it definitely helped.
What was your favorite pastime? Summer camping with my family in Middleboro. All the kids grew up together, and we’re like one big family.
What is your favorite TV show? Well when I have time to watch TV, it’s Pretty Little Liars.
What is your favorite book? It’s an inspirational children’s book, I Knew You Could, given to us by our shop teachers.
What is your favorite song? Never Going to be Alone
If you could you be anyone for 24 hours, who would it be? My mom. I don’t know how she does everything she does. She just goes from the time she gets up, at 4:45 a.m., she drives, she works, and she does laundry and cooks for six people each night, and I want to know how she does it. She has inspired me to be hard working and caring, and I don't believe I would be who I am today without her.
East Bridgewater: Thomas O’Neill, Environmental Engineering
Thomas O’Neill is Valedictorian, Ranking #1 out of 277 Students
Tom, pictured in front of his vertical garden, will be attending Philadelphia University this fall, with the goal of becoming a “green” architect.
During the last four years, Tom worked on a variety of environmentally-friendly projects, including a vertical garden, made out of recycled soda bottles and telephone wire. He also was in charge of choosing sustainable materials to build a new classroom for the environmental sciences department, now under construction.
Though Tom studied very hard in high school, he also took time to enjoy sports and clubs. He was a member of the school’s history/scholars club, ski team, and track and cross country teams.
He said his favorite school experiences involved two trips: the first to the British Isles this spring, as part of the history/scholars club, and the second to Acadia National Park, in which he camped and explored the area with senior classmates and teachers from his environmental science class.
What was your favorite class? Honors calculus.
Who was your favorite teacher? Miss Hobbs (environmental science teacher). She is really knowledgeable and she also made all the kids feel really comfortable in her classes.
What will you be doing this summer? Working as a cook at Good Days Restaurant in Bridgewater.
What is your favorite song? It’s Time, by Imagine Dragons
What is your favorite TV show? Scrubs
What was your favorite book? The Stand, by Stephen King
If you could be anyone for 24 hours, who would it be? Someone on the International Space Station. Being up in space would be really cool.
What advice would you give to incoming freshmen? Be prepared to do a lot of work, but do it because it’s worth it. Also, don’t hold back because if you do, you won’t get as far.
Easton: Alicia Coleman, Health Services
Alicia already has employment experience in her field. She worked as a Home Health Aid after school and weekends. How did her major at Southeastern play a part in her success? “My Health Services classes prepared me. I got my Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) and Home Health Aid (HHA) certifications in my junior year.”
Why did you choose Southeastern? “I didn’t want to go to an all academic school; I wanted one that had shops, too. I knew right from the beginning I wanted Health Services.”
Do you have other interests or hobbies? “I like to dance and I demonstrate hip hop to the younger kids at my dance studio. I was also a teacher assistant at the Maplewood Enrichment Center.
What was your senior project? Alicia chose Teenage Substance Abuse as her project. Working with High Point Treatment Center in Brockton, she created a questionnaire for clients at the facility. Her research and data collection gave her information about why people start using certain substances, why they get help when they do, what advice they have to give people who want to get or stay clean, what age they started using, which substances they used and how often they used.
What are your future plans? “This summer I will work, hang out with my friends and get ready for Rivier College in Nashua, New Hampshire, where I’ll major in Nursing.” Alicia received both the Grand Masonic Lodge and the Easton Lions Club Scholarship this year.
What was your favorite experience at Southeastern? “My favorite experience at Southeastern was my senior prom on Wednesday night. It was fun to be with all my friends. I plan to keep in touch with most of them.”
Do you have any advice for incoming freshmen? “Work hard and don’t let anyone destroy your dreams.”
Foxborough: Sean Foley, HVAC and Refrigeration
Sean plans to attend Wentworth Technology Institute in Boston, this fall. He would eventually like to become a mechanical engineer who designs HVAC and automated control systems.
This summer, Sean will be working at G & G Commercial Systems, in Bridgewater, and he’ll also be working towards an apprentice license in refrigeration and an oil burner license. He currently holds an OSHA-10 certification, EPA universal certification, and an R-410A (air conditioning) certification.
Besides working hard in his shop, Sean has been a member of the golf team and served as captain this year. He also is a member of the National Honor Society. We asked him the following questions about his school and interests:
What was your favorite experience at Southeastern? The whole shop process – getting close to the people and growing in my field.
Who was your favorite teacher? Mr. Knudson (HVAC Teacher)
What are your favorite activities outside of school? Golfing, fishing, and hanging out with friends.
What is your favorite food? Chicken Parmesan
What is your favorite TV show? Deadliest Catch (about crab fishing in Alaska)
If you could be any one for 24 hours, who would you be? Bill Gates – he’s lived the American dream, and he’s also inspirational.
What advice would you give to incoming freshmen? Realize the opportunity that’s given to you because high school can offer you everything in the world.
Mansfield: Tayla Battersby, Cosmetology
Tayla is currently employed at a salon and spa in Norton. She will attend Rivier College in Nashua to pursue a Bachelors Degree in Nursing. Eventually, she would like to be a labor and delivery nurse, or even the delivery doctor. She plans to use her Cosmetology license to find employment at a salon or to cut fellow students’ hair while in college as a way to pay for expenses.
Why did you choose Southeastern? I knew I would get to choose a shop and work on people, because the salon is open to the public twice a week. My mother motivated me to go to college, and I felt that I would get better credentials for college here. It was a new beginning for me and I’m so glad I came here.
What advice do you have for incoming freshmen? Don’t lose your drive or sight of your main goals – push! If I didn’t, I probably wouldn’t have gotten through.
What was your senior project? Working with a friend, we did makeovers and provided a full day of beauty for battered women. I felt like I was really giving back to the community – It was very needed and appreciated.
What were some activities you enjoyed during your time at Southeastern? I participated in cheerleading most of my time here, and was Captain during my senior year. I also enjoyed the fitness club – walking the track, strength and conditioning and fitness. I like physical activities that keep me moving.
Norton: Shannon Duchaine, Visual and Performing Arts
This talented Visual and Performing Arts Major is headed for Bridgewater State University where she will major in Theater and English. This summer, Shannon will no doubt continue with her favorite pastime: playing the guitar. Employed locally at Frenzy Indoor Play where she taught story time with music and theater to children, she will continue her work there as she attends college. Shannon plans to work in Performing Arts as a lifelong career.
Why did you choose Southeastern? Shannon first visited Southeastern during open house when she was younger, and knew this school would be a great fit for her. She also knew her whole family had really good experiences as students at Southeastern.
How did Southeastern help you in your career? Shannon experienced a range of student opportunities. She credits Ms Kerri Cooper, Chris Crossen-Sills and Peter Czymbor for their support. “Without them I wouldn’t have anywhere near the experience I have now”, she said. They helped her prepare for college by introducing her to a broad spectrum of both acting and technology. As a Southeastern student, Ms Duchaine enjoyed the opportunity of attending the New England Theater Conference (NETC) where she took classes in creative writing, and said she “grew a year just from one day of working with professionals in the field.”
What was your senior project? Shannon and fellow student Marissa Galloway selected, organized, auditioned cast, directed and worked with the technical portion of “Fortress”, a well-received one act play enjoyed by students, faculty and the general public.
What advice do you have for incoming freshmen? “Take the whole high school experience seriously. You really can push the envelope. Be organized to avoid having to rush at the last minute.”
Sharon: Andrew Hollister, Plumbing
Andrew is currently working at Stoughton Plumbing, as part of the school’s Co-op program, and he plans to work as a plumber after graduation. This summer, he will continue to work towards his journeyman’s license, which requires working under the supervision of a master plumber and passing a written exam.
Andrew said he always liked hands-on learning, which led him to apply to Southeastern. He said he didn’t know any of the other students when he first got to Southeastern, but he quickly became friends with the other kids in his shop, and he now enjoys hanging out with them. His senior project focused on his experience at Stoughton Plumbing, and his senior research paper examined how the environment affects plumbing. We asked him a few questions about school and his interests:
Who is your favorite teacher? They’re all pretty good.
What is your favorite food? Steak
What is your favorite activity outside of school? Painting and fixing up my room and playing basketball. I also am taking a glass-blowing class, which I really like.
What is your favorite TV show? Tosh.0 (on Comedy Central)
If you could be anyone for 24 hours, who would you be? Spiderman
What is your favorite subject outside of your major? Math
What was your favorite experience at Southeastern? Working during the summer on plumbing projects with all the other kids in my shop.
Are you the only one in your family to go to Southeastern? Yes, I have five brothers and two sisters, and I am the youngest. One of my sisters went to Norfolk “Aggie,” but all the rest went to Sharon High School.
What is your advice to incoming freshmen? Stay on task, and don’t procrastinate. In plumbing, make sure you’re precise and you pay attention.
Stoughton: Kayla Vazquez, Early Childhood Education
Class Vice President Kayla Vazquez is a member of the National Honor Society and the school advisory council. In addition, she’s served as the SkillsUSA state historian, which is one of just seven officer positions in the 6,000-member organization that serves Massachusetts.
Kayla’s SkillsUSA experience provided to be exciting and challenging; she did a lot of public speaking, and she had to miss 20 days of school. But she said loved the experience, having travelled to Kansas City (for the national convention) and to Washington, D.C., where she met U. S. Sen. Scott Brown. She also made a large scrapbook to record the events of the year.
We asked her the following questions about school and her interests:
What are your future plans? I’ll be going to Wheelock College, in Boston, and I plan to major in early childhood education, with a minor in social work. And then I’d really like to work as a vocational teacher in my shop at my school. I would absolutely love to come back and teach here.
Who is your favorite teacher? Sheila Fox, who is the SkillsUSA advisor for Southeastern. She’s always been there for me -- she made me believe I could be a state officer and she pushed me to do it. She also made me believe that anything’s possible, and she proved it to me.
What was your favorite experience? I’ve had a lot, but serving as a state officer for SkillsUSA is something I’ll never forget. Our Washington, D.C. trip was amazing. We got to sit with kids from all over the world, and I now have friends from Puerto Rico and Guam.
What is your favorite past-time? I did cheerleading for eight years, including my freshman year, but I had to quit because I had so many other activities. But I still coach cheerleading for the Stoughton Little League.
What is your favorite food? I’m Spanish and Greek, and my mother makes a Spanish dish, Mofongo, that I love. It’s made out of plantains.
What is your favorite book? The Twilight Series.
What is your favorite song? Sweet Caroline (she’s also a Red Sox fan)
If you could be anyone for 24 hours who would it be? The president. I’d like to be in his shoes, and it would answer a lot of questions we all want to know.
What was your senior project based on? SkillsUSA. A lot of kids don’t know about it, and I wanted them to see all the opportunities that were offered to us. I remember in eighth grade I was so quiet and shy, and I was terrified to give presentations, but just a month ago, I had to present to 3,000 people. It opened up so many doors for me.
What is your advice to incoming freshmen? Get involved and don’t be afraid. Southeastern is such a welcoming school, and anything is possible. Also, try your best.
West Bridgewater: Alex Woodward, Machine Technology
Alex is now working at Amphenol Alden Products, as part of his Co-op program, and he will continue to work for the company after he graduates. His job involves making electrical parts for medical, industrial, military/aerospace, and renewable energy markets.
Alex said he came to Southeastern because he likes physical, hands-on working, and he now enjoys working with high-precision, complex-type of machinery. Through the Southeastern program, he is certified to be a CNC (computer numerically-controlled) operator, and he has also received OSHA certification. We asked him a few questions about school and his interests:
What was your favorite experience at Southeastern? Working at the open house, explaining how to make CNC machine parts.
Who was your favorite teacher? Mr. Blackburn (machine technology). We had a lot of fun and it was a very friendly environment.
What is your favorite past-time outside of school? Parkour. It’s an art of movement that involves getting around obstacles efficiently. My brother started doing it, and then I followed – we taught ourselves.
What is your favorite food? Buffalo Wings
What is your favorite music? Heavy metal
If you could be anyone for 24 hours, who would it be? I would continue being myself.
What is your advice to incoming freshmen? Do your best and work hard. Everything will pay off eventually.