November 23, 2014
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Vets top 10 look to next step toward their careers
Kristen Hyle

While high school graduations took place at least two months ago, the Warwick Beacon finally caught up with the top 10 students from the graduating class of 2012 at Warwick Veterans Memorial High School. This year, 215 students earned their diplomas from Vets.
Upon first glance at the list of seniors who rank in the top 10, you’ll notice something quite interesting – all of them are female. Whether they have decided on a major or not, one thing is for sure – these intellectual ladies will be heading off to colleges throughout the country with an eagerness not only to continue their education after enjoying the summer, but begin their lives as adults.
In the words of class valedictorian Kristen Hyle, they have “a whole new array of opportunities” ahead of them, as well as the chance to “create a foundation for a successful future.”

Kristen Hyle
Hyle, class valedictorian, will attend Suffolk University with a merit scholarship in the Honors Program. While she is yet to decide on a major, she fondly remembers her days at Vets, especially during spirit weeks and school dances. She also enjoyed participating on the Executive Committee, as well as the gymnastics team, which she served as captain from 10th through 12th grade. Her favorite classes were English HAT courses because while they were challenging, they also gave her the opportunity to be creative and have fun at the same time. She volunteered at Cornerstone Adult Services and interacted with Alzheimer’s patients on a weekly basis throughout her entire high school career. Among her long list of accomplishments, Hyle was a member of the National, Rhode Island and Spanish Honor Societies.

Rebecca Hurd
Reminding her classmates to “never miss the moment,” salutatorian Hurd plans to major in theater and minor in film at Elon University in North Carolina. With that said, it should be no surprise that Hurd said she will forever cherish the memories she has for taking part in theatrical productions with Bishop Hendricken students. One of her most proud moments was when she wrote and directed a play that was performed at Hendricken’s New Artist Play Festival. In addition to being on the National, Rhode Island, and Spanish Honor Societies, Hurd played varsity tennis for three years, and served on Executive Committee all four years of high school.

Jordyn Payne
Payne said she enjoyed “dressing up for school while everyone else dressed down.” She spent her senior year at the Community College of Rhode Island working on a Liberal Arts degree as part of the dual enrollment program. Additionally, she enrolled in the young artists program at the Rhode Island School of Design and will soon be interning for Style Week Northeast. Looking back on her days at Vets, she said she loved being in both concert and jazz band, earning superior medals in solo and ensemble flute, and playing field hockey. She said, “The desire to make something great of myself and to always challenge myself at whatever I do,” motivates her to excel. She hopes to attend New York University.

Calandra Sahagian
A member of the 2012 Executive Committee, as well as the National and Spanish Honor Societies, Sahagian will attend the University of Rhode Island. Though she is yet to declare a major, she said a “desire for a successful future” encourages her to work hard and pursue her goals. Her favorite quote is a saying by the late Bob Marley, “Live the life you love; love the life you live.” She said she would remember her Friday night crew, the “Buffet Bandits,” and her “British Badminton Sister,” who also appears on this list.

Stefanie Abbott
Abbott, who is ready to head to Hofstra University in Long Island, N.Y., will be “majoring in biology with a pre-med track in hopes of becoming a doctor,” she said. “I’d like to be an orthopedic surgeon and I’m really excited to meet new people – all different kinds of people. I can’t wait.” During high school, she was a member of the math league, varsity goalie for the field hockey team, the class treasurer, a co-president for Academic Decathlon, as well as a co-president of the school band. This summer, she’s been working as a camp councilor at an overnight camp, URJ Eisner and Crane Lake Camps, which is in the Berkshire Hills of Massachusetts. She also recently won the 2011-2012 Discus Award, a national recognition award honoring the most well rounded high school students in the country.

Brianna Butler
Butler credits her success and enjoyment of high school to her teachers and classmates, and said her family motivated her to shine. Also, she was a Girl Scout, member of the concert band and captain of the tennis team during her high school years. Like many of the other women on this list, Butler is a member of the Rhode Island, National, and Spanish Honor Societies. She plans to attend Rhode Island College to major in nursing. In the yearbook, she quoted the late John F. Kennedy, “As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.”

Megan Merlino
Merlino plans to go to the University of South Carolina and is undecided as far as a major is concerned. For her, the “typical high school moments” will always stand out in her mind, such as football games, dances and spending time with her friends. “I have learned so much about life and myself and have directly been shaped by my years in high school. My four years at WVMHS are unforgettable.” While there, she was a member of the National and Spanish Honor Societies, and earned an Excellence in Spanish Award. Merlino also took part in the Executive Committee, as well as the tennis and indoor track and field teams.

Julie Grant
“My parents always pushed me, however, what made me truly excel was the drive they instilled, which makes me want to achieve success on my own, and I thank them for that,” said Grant, who was a member of the Leadership Academy, the National Honor Society and the tennis team. Additionally, Grant earned the Girl Scout Silver Award, and second place in the 2011-2012 DECA States, an organization that prepares emerging leaders and entrepreneurs in marketing, finance, hospitality and management. She will head to Salve Regina in Newport to study Business Marketing and Global Business, as well as Economics.

Emma Hindinger
Hindinger was on Executive Committee for all four years of high school, played electric bass guitar in jazz band, as well as concert band, was a member of the girls’ ice hockey team, for which she served as assistant captain her junior and senior year, and the soccer team, for which she was captain her senior year. Further, she received the Rensselaer Medal Award, the Mathematical Society Award and the Louis Armstrong Jazz Band award. She earned the Sportsmanship Award in soccer from the Rhode Island Coaches Association, and was also on the National, Rhode Island, and Spanish Honor Societies. Hindinger will be studying engineering at the University of Rhode Island and has been working as a park ranger at Scarborough State Beach this summer.

Brianna Barlow
Barlow is eager to study English and Secondary Education at Rhode Island College this year. During most of high school, Barlow showed exceptional courage and dedication to earn her diploma, as she has a 2-year-old son, Braydon, who will celebrate his third birthday in November. This summer, Barlow and Braydon have been enjoying time together while playing outside or relaxing at the beach. She will always remember her “British Badminton Sister” from gym class. “It was just a name we went by,” she said with a laugh.


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you go girls!

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