Southeastern Regional Outstanding Students – Class of 2018
Congratulations to the Class of 2018 who graduated on June 6th! The Southeastern Guidance Department selected a number of students who distinguished themselves in their academic and vocational studies. They represent all nine communities as well as a variety of vocational majors, skills and interests. They are just a few of our many exemplary graduates who have demonstrated a love of learning and are ready to use their skills in a variety of ventures, including further education, work or the military.
Valedictorian — Margaret Nistendirk, East Bridgewater – Advertising and Design
Margaret Nistendirk is proof that creativity can go hand-in-hand with academic excellence. She is not only the Class of 2018 Valedictorian, but she also won a prestigious art and writing award while at Southeastern. Though some of her accomplishments have come from a natural talent, most have come from hard work and practice.
“I feel like ever since I was young, I have always had a motivation to work hard and do my best. I’ve felt like nothing bad could come from that, except for maybe lack of sleep!” she said.
Margaret transferred to Southeastern after her freshman year at East Bridgewater High School because she wanted to experience a curriculum that allowed her to specialize in art. Since then, she has developed her talents in painting, design and literature. Last year, she won a silver key for the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards, which is a national competition. Her entry was based on a poem about human rights, with the message that people should accept and love you for who you are.
She continued the human rights theme for another art piece, “Forgotten in America,” which received recognition in the Congressional Art Competition sponsored by U. S. Representative Joseph Kennedy III. Her work is an acrylic painting of silhouettes against a colorful background that depict the underground jazz scene during the Harlem Renaissance, and it is going to be displayed in a government office.
Margaret is a member of the National Honor Society and Design and Visual Communications Honor Society, and she received four scholarships during Senior Awards Night, including Outstanding English Student, Superintendent’s Award for Academic Achievement, the Steve Brennan Memorial Scholarship, and the Bridgewater Rotary Club Scholarship. She will be attending Massachusetts College of Art and Design in September and plans to pursue a career as a teacher or museum curator.
“I want to thank my family and friends who have been a really big influence. I owe a lot to my family, my close friends and my shop family. Their support has really contributed to how far I’ve come,” she said.
Salutatorian: Alyssa Trumbull, East Bridgewater – HVAC and Refrigeration
Alyssa is a nontraditional student who is well rounded, hardworking, and this year’s salutatorian. She came to Southeastern because she likes hands-on learning and chose to major in heating/venting and air conditioning (HVAC), a field that continues to be dominated by men.
She has not only felt comfortable in the shop, but has been one of the top students in the trade. She has won bronze medals in HVAC at the SkillsUSA District Competition and received the award as the most outstanding student in her shop for three years.
“I chose the shop because everyone was really friendly and I liked the hands-on work. I also want to be able to help people,” she said.
Alyssa’s favorite class has been AP calculus, which has challenged her to solve equations and apply them to real-life situations. She received the Future Women in STEM award last year from Massachusetts Maritime Academy and attended a summer program there. She will be attending that college next September and plans to major in energy systems engineering.
In addition to her academic and vocational achievements, Alyssa was last year’s class president. She also is a member of the Southeastern Regional Advisory Council, the National Honor Society, the community service club and the varsity softball team.
“I want to thank my teachers and my parents for all their support,” she said.
Joyceline Dos Santos, Brockton — Medical Assisting
Joyceline Dos Santos graduates with a strong purpose in life: she wants to help disadvantaged children get good medical care. She first planned to major in cosmetology when she came to Southeastern but after spending time in the medical assisting shop as a freshman, she decided that she wanted to focus on health.
“I want to be a pediatrician, and I’ve gotten a good head start. I’ve definitely learned a lot about anatomy and physiology,” she said.
Jocelyn said she developed a desire to help people outside her country when visiting Cape Verde, the birthplace of her mother. She was shocked to see people suffering from dysentery, and she hopes to someday return and open a clinic there.
“I want to make a change and I want them to have a chance at life,” she said.
The future will be challenging for Jocelyn, but she has worked extremely hard to create a good foundation. As a student at Southeastern, she has excelled in all AP courses, taking AP calculus, AP government and literature, and AP literature. She received scholarships for being the outstanding student in math and in her shop, and she received two gold medals in medical terminology at the SkillsUSA District Competition during her sophomore and junior years.
After graduating, she will attend U-Mass Amherst in the Public Health Services department, which has a pre-med curriculum. In the meantime, she hopes to steal a few hours here and there to go to the beach and do a little creative writing.
“I want to thank my shop teachers for everything they did for me. And my parents – they pushed me hard and saw me through those nights that turned into mornings,” she said.
Hailey Ferreira, Easton – HVAC and Refrigeration
Hailey Ferreira came to Southeastern looking for a trade that would challenge her and keep her engaged every day. She chose HVAC because of the variety of different skills that it offered, which made the day go faster. She said that she liked every aspect of the trade, but her favorite part of shop was the people.
“I feel the teachers really motivated me. If I hit a wall, they were always there to help. I also liked working with other students,” she said.
During her last year, Hailey participated in Southeastern’s co-op program, working at F. W. Webb, in Brockton, where she helped to stock and keep track of industrial supplies. She also did very well in her academic classes, achieving a 3.87 GPA and becoming a member of the National Honor Society.
Hailey plans to attend Massasoit College next year, where she will take prerequisite courses to become a nurse. Though the career path is different from her major, she said the experience, as a girl in a nontraditional field, has given her more confidence to achieve.
“I’ve really learned to prove myself, and I think that will carry through for the rest of my life,” she said.
Lacey Duquette, Foxboro – Electrical
Lacey Duquette has always enjoyed hands-on activities, especially working with friends or her step dad on cars or building projects. She continued the interest when she started high school, and decided to join the electrical shop.
Lacey said she was excited that she could pick up the trade quickly while exploring the shop as a freshman. She has enjoyed working on group projects, which included building and wiring residential bedrooms and houses.
This year, Lacey has worked on a co-op job at Hannon Electrical, a full-service electrical contractor in Easton. She is graduating with overall high honors and vocational highest honors. Though she plans to keep up her electrical skills, she also has an interest in cosmetology, so she will be attending a cosmetology school after graduation.
Chris Bretti, Mansfield – Video and Performing Arts
When Chris Bretti first came to Southeastern, he was immediately drawn to the video and performing arts shop, and soon after, he fell in love with photography. As a graduating senior, he has not only developed a unique photographic style, but he also has a head start on a promising career in fashion photography. He has already published a fashion magazine and developed his own website, Chrisbrettiphotography.com., which is linked to Facebook and Instagram.
“I like to challenge myself. I’ve pushed myself out of my comfort zone to reach the point I’m at today,” he said.
Chris decided to create a magazine for his senior project using his friends and mostly classmates from Southeastern as models. He photographed them in unconventional settings including laundromats, convenience stores and factories. He also strived to bring out the positive aspects of their personalities in the photos.
“The photographs are street-wear based, and they are catered towards the younger generation. I also included some writing that explains how photography connects with my life, and how it also has a connection to society today,” he said.
Chris excelled in academics as well as photography, and he is graduating with high honors. His favorite academic class was AP government, and he enjoys talking politics with everyone. He will be attending Lasell College next September where he will be studying fashion communications and promotion.
Laudan Pouremad, Norton – Advertising and Design
Laudan Pouremad came to Southeastern her junior year, seeking a school that offered cultural diversity and hands-on learning. She chose to major in environmental and biotechnology because she likes science and outdoor activities. Since then she has excelled at Southeastern, receiving straight A’s in all of her academic subjects and in her vocational major. She has also enjoyed the school culture.
“It’s a colorful school. I like how diverse it is and I always like being able to go to shop as well as academics. It’s a good balance,” she said.
At shop, Laudan liked working outdoors and learning the science behind the activities. She particularly enjoyed learning about bees, working with the shop’s new beehives. Her favorite academic subjects have been biology and Spanish. Outside of school, she likes riding and working with horses at local horse barns.
Laudan plans to go to college after graduation, but she is still undecided about what college she wants to attend. She is fluent in French and Persian and she plans to take more foreign language classes, along with a variety of college courses.
Hunter Manes, Sharon – Video and Performing Arts
Every Monday, Hunter Manes has brought smiles to the faces of Southeastern students and staff as they’ve watched the weekly school news. The Sharon resident has been the solo anchor for SETV news since September, but instead of sitting down behind a desk delivering traditional copy, he has delivered the news in casual poses, using comedy, ad-libbing, and a lively script to spice up the news broadcast.
The idea for the new format started last year, when video production teacher Kate Brown asked him if he’d like to try something different with the news during his last year at Southeastern. He agreed, and he has thrived with a chance to display his talents.
“It took off, and everything seems to like it,” he said.
Hunter said performing has always been natural to him, so when he came to Southeastern, he found a home in the video and performing arts department. He said choosing that major was the best decision he has ever made. He has also done well in academics, and his favorite academic class is Facing History, a course for upper classmen that focuses on human behavior and the Holocaust.
“I’ve never been in a class that has engaged me so much. Everyone should take it,” he said.
Hunter has also has enjoyed his friends at Southeastern. In his shop, he is impressed with his peers, whose diverse talents have contributed to “amazing” video and performing arts productions. Throughout the school, he enjoys the open-minded attitude of his classmates. He said Southeastern is a school where he can be himself.
“I like the freedom of expression. You don’t have your set cliques with people judging you – you can be friends with anyone,” he said.
Hunter said he’ll be heading to southern California after graduation, with plans to go into show business. He said he has already lined up contacts to help him settle into the area and break into his field. Though he is a natural at comedy, he also hopes to get serious roles, where he can use his dramatic acting skills. He also may start his own blogging channel on YouTube.
Evelyn Ryder, Stoughton — Advertising and Design
Evelyn Ryder has a passion for government and graphic design and she has thrived in both areas since coming to Southeastern. She is graduating with highest honors, and she participated in the school’s co-op program this year, working at at Albert Basse Associates, Inc., in Stoughton.
Evelyn said she was shy before coming to Southeastern but has gained a lot of confidence throughout her high school years. She has appreciated the freedom to make choices in shop, which she feels has made her more responsible. She also has also enjoyed her environment.
“I like the set-up of the shop and especially the people I’m surrounded with,” she said.
Evelyn’s favorite academic subject was AP Government, and she received a scholarship this year for being the outstanding history student in her class. She loves politics, and plans to work on a campaign for a state representative candidate this summer.
“I’ve always been interested in activism, and I want to help minority groups with opportunities,” she said.
Next fall, Evelyn will attend Massachusetts College of Art and Design to study art education or graphic design. Besides her history award, she received scholarships from Edward J. Thibeault Memorial Scholarship and the James Goodwin Memorial Federation Scholarship.
Willow Ricketson, West Bridgewater — Culinary Arts
Willow Ricketson has never liked sitting still for a long time, so when it came to choosing a high school, she decided that a vocational school would be the best option. Since then, she has been very successful at Southeastern, graduating with a 4.0 GPA and winning awards for her skills in culinary arts.
Willow said she did not consider culinary arts when she first started school, but when she visited the shop during the exploratory program, she loved all the action going on. Now, looking back, she has liked all aspects of the shop for different reasons. During baking activities, she loved decorating pastries, and during cooking, she liked the challenges of “cook-offs,” which involved improvising when some of the recipe ingredients were missing from a dish.
“You had to come up with something on the spot. I really liked that,” she said.
Willow also excelled in the service side of the shop, in which she has received the most recognition. She won two gold medals and one silver medal in the restaurant skills category of the SkillsUSA District Competition. During the event, she had to fold napkins, set a table and provide full service to a guest in a mock restaurant.
This fall, she will study business and hospitality at Salem State College with the goal of becoming an event planner. She said she’ll miss Southeastern, especially the many hours she spent in shop.
“I really enjoyed being with the same people for four years – they’ve become like a family to me,” she said.
By: Candance Hall