Toll Gate's top 10 reflect on high school years
Toll Gate Principal Stephen Chrabaszcz is confident the school’s top 10 graduating students will achieve greatness. Since walking into Toll Gate as young eager students ready to jumpstart their high school career, he says they have now blossomed to intelligent, goal-driven individuals.
Upon graduation, the top 10 students from Toll Gate will excel in whatever they do, according to Chrabaszcz. These distinguished scholars will be attending colleges and universities throughout the country including University of New Haven, Boston University, Providence College and the University of Alabama.
An ample amount of extracurricular activities were served throughout their high school career, including student senate, color guard and various sports like football, track and softball. They also contributed to the impressive accumulative score for the New England Common Assessment Program (NECAP) testing, ranking Toll Gate in the top five in Rhode Island.
Toll Gate is proud to have had three Eagle Scouts in the school and according to Chrabaszcz, this is a huge accomplishment. An Eagle Scout has the highest rank attainable in the Boy Scouting program under the Boy Scouts of America.
“Usually having one Eagle Scout in a school is a huge accomplishment and we had three,” Chrabaszcz said. “This class is so special in my heart.”
Graduating valedictorian of his class is only one of the many accomplishments Hodge has under his belt. He was involved in many clubs and committees in Toll Gate, including president of student senate, executive committee treasurer for four years and also participated in the school’s improvement team.
Hodge’s hard work was recognized by notable awards for his excellence in Spanish and science, but also received the Hugh O’Brian’s Youth Leadership award and the Harvard Book Award.
In the fall, Hodge will be attending the University of New Haven pursuing a degree in forensic science, biology and chemistry.
He is most thankful for his family, friends and especially his teachers for mentoring, advising and supporting him in all of his academic ventures.
“My friends have helped me a lot, but my teacher, Ms. Woulfe, has supported me greatly,” Hodge said. “As a teacher, mentor and advisor, she has helped me grow and learn.”
Allison Rebecca Penn
She has won numerous awards in a National Spanish Exam, a Brown University Book Award and secured her spot as salutatorian of her class.
Although she hasn’t declared a major yet, Penn plans on attending Boston University next semester. She was a part of many activities and groups in school, including captain of the Dance Team, secretary position of her class and vice president of student senate.
Penn hopes that all of the friendships she has made will last beyond her high school years. She says walking across the stage and receiving her diploma was a great sense of accomplishment.
“The unending support from my wonderful family has always made me confident to pursue anything I set my mind to and will continue to motivate me to excel in all aspects of my life.”
Katelyn St. Amand
Ranking third in her class, St. Amand plans on majoring in biology or biochemistry. She was captain for both indoor and outdoor track, also a part of National Honor Society.
She participated in ASK mentoring and was a member of student senate. Her devotion to track paid off and landed her a spot in All-State, All-Class and All-Division in track and field.
St. Amand is a self-driven, motivated individual and by all of the supportive figures in her life, their motivation contributed to her success.
By setting high expectations and goals for herself, she will continue driving for success throughout her future career. St. Amand says that her track coaches were influential in her life and her parents have contributed most to her success.
“The people who believe in me and care about my success motivate me to excel because I want to live up to the potential they see in me,” St. Amand said. “I don’t want to disappoint them."
The former wrestling team captain finished fourth in his class and earned a Holy Cross Book Award thanks to his exceptional academics. As Procopio makes the transition from high school to college, Procopio says his family values are the reason for his success.
“My family constantly instills the importance to do your best,” Procopio said. “This is what kept me motivated to push myself to excel in everything I do.”
As for his studies, he will take his interest in international affairs to Middlebury College in Vermont. Procopio says an undertaking in foreign language, specifically Italian, is a possibility.
Class vice president Matthew Rocheleau finished fifth overall and plans on pursuing a degree in biology, chemistry or a medical degree toward becoming a physician. Though unsure what major to study, he plans on making the most out of his college career.
Rocheleau was involved in sports teams, such as varsity golf and indoor track and was also a member of Club Green at Toll Gate.
Rocheleau dedicated his success to Principal Chrabaszcz for always having the students’ best interest and class of 2012 adviser Erin Woulfe for the tireless work and dedication she contributed to the class.
One of the three Eagle Scouts, Rocheleau dedicated his time to achieving greatness academically and within the community. He was part of the National Honor Society, a recipient of the Good Citizens Award for the Daughters of the American Revolution, and also received a Colby College Book Award.
“I was motivated to make my parents proud,” Rocheleau said. “They have always been the forefront of my life, guiding me and my siblings.”
Lauren Kelley plans on attending North Eastern University and also packing up and moving to Australia under the university’s international program. Graduating high school means more to Kelley because she will be the first of her family to go on to college.
In addition to claiming the sixth spot in the top 10, Kelley received many awards for her proficiency in foreign language, specifically Spanish. She has received the Bryant University Book Award and was a member of National Honor Society, along with student senate.
An intense calculus class was one of Kelley’s fondest memories in high school. Kelley will also remember her solo summer excursion to France.
Joshua Frank is moving south to attend the University of Alabama where he will major in electrical engineering.
Ranked seventh in his class, Frank has many awards given to him because of his commitment and dedication to track. The Frank Halliwell Memorial Award in cross country and the Rhode Island Coaches Award in indoor track were both awarded to him and he made All-State in cross country.
Frank is also a Science Olympiad and competed in Academic Decathlon. With the supportive help of his parents, his academic success was a positive experience.
“My desire to go to college out of state is probably what motivated me the most,” Frank said.
Originally from Ft. Myers, Fla., Takaki moved to Rhode Island and finished her final semester at Toll Gate. In her home state, she was the County Teachers of English Aspiring Author Winner and because of her vocals, she won gold at the New York Heritage Festival.
Singing her way through high school, Takaki was recognized for her talents and performed at No Shame Theatre in Florida. She plans on attending Drake University with a degree in writing and hopes to continue performing.
Most of her memories at Toll Gate were from performing with the school’s chorus. At her original school, her voice instructor had helped her develop her voice and Toll Gate’s teacher, Mr. Royster, added to her improvement.
“With the help of Mr. Royster at Toll Gate, I was able to gain new perspectives to my vocal performance,” Takaki said.
As a Saint Anslem’s College bound student, Turner plans on heading north to study education. A sports fanatic, Turner participated in four different sports groups at Toll Gate: volleyball, indoor track, softball and was a member of the ski club.
Making High Honors throughout her four-year stay at Toll Gate was a big accomplishment for Turner. She has made All-State and All-Division for volleyball and softball for two consecutive years. In her junior year, she was nominated for Gatorade Player of the Year for her outstanding performance in sports.
Her motivation to do well in school stemmed from her dream to play softball in college.
“I knew I needed good grades in order to play,” Turner said. “I also wanted to make the top 10 in my class.”
Rounding out the top 10 students graduating from Toll Gate, McGuire hopes to kick off his college career at Providence College studying either political science or history.
During high school, he was a part of the newspaper club, the Toll Gate orchestra, an ASK mentor and part of Best Buddies International. McGuire also participated on the varsity tennis team for three years.
For his full stay at Toll Gate, he scored himself on the High Honor Roll and on the National Honor Society. The 2010 Team Sportsmanship Award for tennis was given to him for his athletic performance.
Growing up, McGuire has always been influenced by his parents on the importance of hard work and education.
“My parents, my teachers, and my own drive for success motivated me to excel,” McGuire said.