The Class of 2012 will graduate 360 students on Saturday, June 2. Of that graduating class, some 70% of the student body will attend a four-year college and more than 90% will pursue some form of higher education. BHS will also see nine of its students head off to serve in the military.
Braintree Patch sat down with a few of the upcoming graduates to get their final thoughts on Braintree High, their hopes for the future, and what high school meant to them.
The Class of 2012 Valedictorian, Tori Machado is heading off to Harvard University after choosing the Cambridge school over Yale University. When asked what it felt like to be pursued by not one but two Ivy League schools, Machado said, “It felt good to know that all of my hard work paid off."
In addition to excelling in her academic studies, Machado was also a standout athlete, playing lacrosse, hockey, and soccer for the Wamps. While captain of the hockey team, Machado scored the winning goal in a dramatic overtime game against the #1 seed Acton-Boxboro in the quarter finals of the MIAA tournament. Machado also played defensive wing on the girl’s lacrosse team, making it all the way to the MIAA state tournament.
If that were not enough, Machado was also a member of the Student Council, serving three years as a class representative and treasurer of the student body. She and her fellow council members ran spirit week and organized public service projects such as Adopt-A-Family during the holiday season.
Machado was modest when discussing her accomplishments and chalks up her success to effective time management. “You know when homework is due,” Machado said, “I enjoyed school and sports and it wasn’t that hard to do both.”
While Machado is still undecided on what she’ll study at Harvard, she is considering chemistry. Machado is also excited for the new challenge and fresh start that college will offer, but she will miss the “everyday routines” of the past 12 years of her school career.
Her parting words of advice for younger students who may be just entering high school? “Hard work pays off. No kidding. If you’re enjoying what you’re doing then it’s not really work,” Machado said. And with that, she rushed off to join her lacrosse teammates on the practice field.
Ranked third in his class, Kaleb Mikami received an early Christmas present last year. On Dec. 15, Mikami received word that he was accepted into Harvard University. With that early news, every other college application he was busy filling out went out the window. When he and good friend Tori Machado found out they would be attending the same school, they went out for ice cream to celebrate.
He and his family were thrilled with the “good news.” Mikami is also not sure yet what he will study, but is thinking “something science” and has hopes of becoming a scientist or researcher.
High school wasn't all academics for Mikami. He also spent eight seasons on the BHS Track team, competing during the Fall and Spring. He started off with the Javelin but switched to running and currently competes in the 800 meter event. Mikami served as captain of the team this year.
A graduate of and , Mikami credits his success to “a personal motivation to succeed” and, similar to his classmates, effective time management. “If you have a lot of important things you have to balance them,” he said. Mikami also credits the support of his family and friends and his desire to help his town and school.
Friendly and easy-going, it was clear that Mikami thoroughly enjoyed his time at Braintree High. “It’s a public school, but it’s an outstanding school,” he said, “it’s a balance of fun and athletics and top-notch academics. I think I’d do it again. I just had a great time. “
In 2005, Krist Tase and his parents arrived in Braintree from Corinth, Greece. Tase, an only child, was just 12 years old when he landed at unable to speak or understand English.
“It was pretty harsh in the beginning and not because people weren’t friendly,” Tase said. “It’s just that you try to fit in and communicate with everybody but inside I felt like I was drowning because people can’t understand me.”
Yet Krist didn’t dwell on his predicament long. “You have to find ways to deal with that and my teachers at school helped me,” he said. One teacher in particular was his ESL instructor Ms. Young. “She pushed me to learn basic English and to practice every day.”
And practice he did. “ is pretty amazing,” Tase said. “I read a lot of cartoons and children’s books there.” Before long, Tase knew the language and was teaching his own parents, themselves natives of Albania.
When Tase first arrived at South, he was placed in Level 3 courses due mainly to the language barrier. By grade 8, he had advanced to Level 1 classes – a growth he attributes to great teachers and “putting in the effort and being able to sustain that path and not get lost.”
His hard work has paid off. Tase will be attending Cornell University in the Fall and will study Biochemistry for the pre-med track. He hopes to be a surgeon.
“My parents are really proud of me and I am the first in the family to go to college, both in Greece and Albania.” On his acceptance into Cornell, Tase said it’s a “dream come true. I’ve been working really hard and one of my goals in life was to make my family proud.”
Tase can’t say enough about Braintree High. “The school has been very supportive,” Tase said, lauding the open door policy of Headmaster David Swanton, guidance director Anthony King and his teachers, who made themselves available to answer any questions.
“I felt like I fit in,” Tase said, “The kids here are great… you wish for that type of school and I was lucky enough to get it.”
In addition to his academics, Tase also participated in extracurricular activities including the Cultural Awareness club that helps promote diversity and was a member of the swim team his senior year.
Of Braintree High, Tase said, “It’s a school that has its arms open and welcomes kids from all backgrounds. You want that kind of environment for children to learn in and BHS provides that.”
Of its 360 graduates, Class Treasurer Deirdre Roberts stood out for her dedication and hard work. Roberts was chosen to receive the Senior Class Appreciation award, which is given to a senior who has contributed significantly to the class and Braintree High. In past years, more than one recipient has been selected, but this year it was awarded to Roberts alone. “Everyone worked equally hard,” she said, “it was nice of them to pick me.”
Serving as class treasurer for all four years at Braintree High, Roberts was instrumental in organizing what could arguably be the most important event in a high school student’s life – Prom. Roberts was responsible for planning events such as dances and fundraisers to help support both the junior and senior proms, two highly successful events according to Roberts.
“I think they know how much time I put into it and how I want everyone to be happy, it’s hard to please everyone but we tried," she said.
Roberts is heading to Merrimack College in the Fall and is not entirely sure on her course of studies, although Communications is something that interests her and would suit her outgoing personality. She join the Merrimack soccer team, a sport she has played since age five and for all four years at BHS, serving as captain for the last two. Roberts also played on the highly-successful girls basketball team for three seasons.
Roberts admits that at times it was hard to find the time to coordinate her studies with sports and extracurricular activities, but said, “I feel like it’s easier when you know you have certain things that have to happen so you get your schoolwork done. I knew that with practices and everything I had to find time."
Roberts has many fond memories of her time at Braintree High, but her favorite was the last day of school.
“It was the weirdest feeling to know that it was my last day at Braintree High,” Roberts said, “So much happened in that one day.” There were yearbooks to sign, a cookout in the gym, and the viewing of the senior video slide show that Roberts coordinated with the help of BCAM.
As her high school days drew to a close, Roberts had some simple advice for new students: “Get involved.”
Her work as treasurer, for instance, brought her in close contact with faculty she would not have normally met. “I was able to form relationships with faculty and teachers that I never had,” Roberts said. It’s what she’s most happy about of her time at BHS: “Getting to know everyone helps you feel like you belong.”
Although Casey Hogan has been in training since October, you could say that Hogan has been preparing for the Armed Forces all of his life. For as long as Hogan can remember, he’s had an interest in the military. His father was a Navy man and both his grandfather and great-grandfather served in the Army, with tours of duty in Korea and World War II, respectively.
On June 18, just a few weeks after graduation, Hogan will head to Parris Island, SC, to become a United States Marine. “I’m excited,” Hogan said, “but it’s all hitting me really quickly.”
They say it takes a lot to become a Marine, and Hogan has already shown he’s up for the challenge. In addition to his school work, Hogan has been working out with his recruiter a couple of times a week to prepare for the grueling six week course that awaits him in South Carolina.
Hogan was undecided when asked to name a specific moment that stood out during his years at Braintree High. “I have a lot of good memories,” he said.
More importantly, Hogan has seen tremendous growth in himself over the course of high school. “I became a lot more mature about things,” he said. “I know my priorities and responsibilities.”
Of high school itself, Hogan said “it went quicker than I intended.” He recalled that he has always been told that high school would be “the quickest four years of your life and the best four years.”
Hogan never believed it until now. “It ended up being that,” he said.