The graduating seniors — and their future plans

Fri, 06/12/2020 - 10:15am

The Block Island Times asked the members of the graduating class to tell us a little bit about themselves, their favorite memories of their time at school, what their personal goals were, and what they think college will look like in the fall. Here are the senior portraits in their own words.


Jacques Boudreau

My name is Jacques Boudreau, and I am 18 years old. I live at the Southeast Lighthouse and my favorite hobby is tinkering with my various projects ranging from my go-karts to my electric motorcycle.

After I graduate I will be attending St. Lawrence University. I will be majoring in Computer Science.

My favorite memory while attending the Block Island School was when we got to go to St. Croix and help the Nature Conservancy clean up after Hurricane Maria.

I would tell myself to not change my personality to fit in with others.

I hope that by the fall I will be attending St Lawrence and will not have to do anymore online learning. While it is sad that I won’t have an ordinary graduation, there is nothing I can do to stop it. I am glad that online learning is coming to an end because my learning ability has diminished severely since the quarantine.


Mikhaela Brown-Padien

My name is Mikhaela Brown-Padien and I’m 18. I like creating art, baking, and good storytelling. What I enjoy most is when I am able to combine them and express a story that I love through food or a piece of artwork.

After I graduate, I will be attending the University of Aberdeen in Scotland. I will be studying History.

One year in middle school, it snowed really hard for a few days. At recess we dedicated all our time to building snow forts. When they were finally finished, we would have the most epic snowball fights (by middle school standards). That stopped when the teachers on recess duty deemed it too dangerous, so we had a competition to see who could build the highest wall on their snow fort.

Lighten up a little and try to have fun, because those four years are not as long as you might think.

I think that college in the fall won’t be the same for this year’s freshmen as it has been in the past. To protect against COVID, social distancing will have to be followed and I think that there may be a few online classes to try and prevent the spread of the virus. I’m not sure how many group activities there will be. Ending this school year with distance learning was both difficult and easier. Schoolwork came in lighter loads but there was limited time to get help understanding and no face-to-face teaching. We had weekly check-ins to make sure that work was getting done and to ask questions. Senior project and the senior paper were more difficult in isolation. We had limited access to our mentors, and we had to re-plan and organize how we would present our projects. Thankfully though, we had the right teacher to lead us through it and help us make it to the finish line.


Jack Connell

My name is Jack Connell, and I am 18 years old. I like going to the beach, and working on my vehicles.

I plan on attending New England Institute of Technology, but I am undecided at the moment. After that, I am going to come back to the island.

When I was in elementary, the school used to have the May Fair – they used to bring these giant water slides and carnival games to the school.

Definitely do the work on time; makes it much easier.

I am going to a technical school, and it’s mostly going to be hands on. If most of my classes are online, then I will probably be deferring to the spring instead of the fall. It was a little disappointing to not have a graduation, but online learning wasn’t bad.


Ruby Crawford

My name is Ruby Crawford, and I am 17 years old. I enjoy playing sports, the ocean, the outdoors, and travel.

I am going to St. Lawrence University and majoring in environmental studies.

The memories I will remember would be playing soccer with my friends.

Do your work and do it well, but don’t be so hard on yourself. Enjoy this time while it lasts.

I’m disappointed with the way the year ended but there is no point in dwelling on it. I’m excited to hopefully start school on campus this fall. I think St. Lawrence will either open on schedule or delay the start date to October, and shorten winter break to compensate.


Tairique Dias

My name is Tairique Dias, and I am 19 years old. My interests are mechanics, and I’ve always had a love for motor vehicles ever since I was a child; I’ve been curious about how they work ever since. My hobbies are playing soccer, basketball and gaming. 

After graduation I’ll be attending New England Tech and I’ll be studying automotive engineering.

My most memorable moments are winning the soccer championship in 2018, and winning the basketball championship in 2020. I’ll also never forget how warm and welcoming everyone was to me when I just moved here from Jamaica.

Be more focused, procrastinate less, and just have fun; enjoy every moment.

My thoughts on what will happen in the fall regarding the starting of my education are unclear. I would like to go off to college but at the same time the threat of the coronavirus has me thinking about my options. The way school ended was not my ideal situation, but we’ve made the most of it and have made it to graduation. I am grateful to all my teachers and peers that have helped to facilitate online learning in such an uncertain time.


Charlotte Hall

I’m Charlotte Hall, I’m 17 years old, and I have lived on the island my entire life. I like playing sports, going to the beach and walking my dog.

I will be attending Stetson University in DeLand, Florida. Right now I’m an undecided major.

I think one thing I will always remember was our class trip to St. Croix. Not many people can say they took a trip to the Caribbean with their entire class. On this trip, we created so many unique memories that I hope to never forget.

When I was starting high school, I really thought it was going to last forever. I would tell myself to enjoy it because four years goes by so much faster than you think.

Stetson hasn’t made a final decision yet but right now it’s looking like I’ll be going to in-person classes. I think it will definitely be a different way to start my freshman year. I’m hoping that by second semester, it can be more of a normal college semester. In March, we first had just a week off when the coronavirus started, and I was pretty happy. At that point, I had no idea it would become a pandemic or that I would never go back to the Block Island School. When they announced we would be online for the rest of the year, I wasn’t surprised but it was a little sad just because we missed out on so many senior things. I’m just hoping I don’t miss out on a lot of college things and experiences.


Mathias Heinz

My name is Mathias Heinz, and I am 18 years old. I enjoy all sports and have played four years of soccer, basketball, and baseball for the school. I basically love doing anything that involves being outside. I have hiked, camped, and backcountry camped in over eight National Parks, and hope to add many more to that list someday. I simply enjoy being with my friends and their presence.

In the fall I will be attending St. Lawrence University where, at the moment, I plan on studying Chemistry, Business, and Environmental Studies at the undergraduate level, and then perhaps continue my studies focusing on Pharmacology.

The memories I have from my time at the Block Island School: walking by the bird case everyday, and then in 4th grade choosing one of the birds to study for a project; making candles in 2nd grade; 5th, 6th, and 7th grade lock-in; sailing trip; The Nature Conservancy trip to St. Croix; representing my school as a three sport athlete; all the years of trips off island for sports; playing co-ed soccer - the sense of togetherness created by playing co-ed is something I will treasure always; 13 years with my classmates and the new students who joined us along the way; my friends and peers - the closeness of growing up on the island and the unique bonds it creates.

Overall, I would tell myself to enjoy every moment because in the end the four years goes by more quickly than you can imagine; the times with friends, the time spent on a sports team, as well as the time spent academically. Remember to be an advocate for yourself. If something doesn’t feel right, trust your instincts because you are probably correct. You know yourself better than anybody, so you need to stand up for yourself and the others around you if something isn’t right. This applies to everyday life: in the classroom, on the field, and on the court. Don’t just assume that the people in charge have your best interests at heart or always realize the consequences of their actions. Simply because someone is in the position of authority doesn’t mean they should have ultimate power to act how they please.

I’m staying positive, and believe I will be starting my time at St. Lawrence on campus rather than remotely. The school year ended in a way that I don’t think anyone could have predicted. The first week or so it wasn’t too bad because I believed we would be returning to school, but when that didn’t happen, I was sad to think that distance learning was the way I would end my school years. Obviously students of all ages missed out on a lot. Not having those last few months in person with my classmates, peers, and teachers wasn’t ideal. I especially miss not being able to participate in the baseball season for my senior year - not practicing, playing, and traveling with my teammates and coaches will definitely be something I look back on and miss not being able to do. On the bright side of ending my high school sports career so abruptly was that, unbeknownst to me at the time, my last game as a Block Island School athlete was playing in the Coastal Prep League basketball championship game, which ended with us being the champions.


Yuliza Martinez

My name is Yuliza Martinez, and I am 20 years old. I am interested in learning more about cooking and art. One activity I enjoy is going on runs and working out. I enjoy making artwork, and spending time with my nephews and sister. When I make art, I don’t think about anything else, and I can express myself when I draw something.

For now, I am not thinking too much about college. I would like to work a little bit, and spend time with my sister, my nephews and for myself on the island.

When I started [at the Block Island School], I didn’t know anybody, and I think that’s normal for new people here. The other thing is I have had a lot of help from teachers. For my internship with Cindy Kelly, I helped Cindy with her cooking. I learned different things, and she learned from me too – we shared with each other. Another memory is when she left the school; it was a big change for us, and for me too.

When I started, I said to myself ‘I can do it’. Nothing is impossible, and I tried to keep going. I did it – it wasn’t easy, and I kept pushing myself and trying to learn English. Now I would say, I would be thankful for everything that I have done, and I always say to myself, ‘keep going and keep fighting, keep dreaming’.

Everything has changed for sure, but I always have in mind to be positive in everything. I think for us it’s going to be different but it doesn’t mean it’s the end of the world. We can do this and we can take care of ourselves and keep going. [With online learning], I think for us, before we always did presentations at school about our projects physically, and now it’s a big change for us. I’m not too sad because I know it’s for our own good. This is for a little while, and it’s not going to be forever.


Noah McCabe

My name is Noah McCabe, and I am 18 years old. I love music, playing guitar, and playing basketball.

I am planning on attending New England Institute of Technology, possibly looking at welding or electrical studies. 

I am hoping to be in school in the fall, and wished to have been back in school for senior year. I prefer the structure and support of being at the Block Island School.


Patrick McNerney

My name is Patrick McNerney, and I am 18 years old. I volunteer at the Block Island Fire Station, practicing and learning about fire fighting skills. I have been volunteering with them for three years.

I am going to stay on the island for a while, and work for my father while I am out here. I am planning on getting more credentials for fire fighting, and then eventually go off island and work towards a career fire department.

There’s so many memories – one memory is sitting at the sports games, and freaking out and going nuts with the rest of the class.

I would say probably don’t skip any sports, and put your head down and get the work done.

For me I think I will be relatively okay and unaffected. People are still going to need propane and things prepared [from Hull Suburban Propane]. I think I should be all right.


Moira O’Neill

My name is Moira O’Neill. I am 18 years old, and my hobbies include playing volleyball, photography, and drawing. 

This fall I will be attending Elon University in Elon, North Carolina. I am planning to major in marketing with a minor in communications.

I’ve made so many memories over the years at the Block Island School. But the memories that I’ll remember forever are the ones I’ve made in the classroom with some of my closest friends.

I would tell my freshman self to take advantage of every opportunity. Go to every basketball game, join every group or club. Make memories while you can because you never know when it’s going to end.

My school has announced that fall semester will be held on campus so I am looking forward to that. While I am definitely sad about how this school year has gone, I am grateful for the time at home. I’ve gotten the chance to enjoy the beautiful weather and spend time with my family before I have to move away and start the next chapter of my life.


Allison Pineda

My name is Allison Samantha Pineda and I am 18 years old. I have a Hispanic background, but I was born in the United States. In my free time, I love going on long drives around the island and going on runs. I enjoy playing soccer, volleyball, ultimate frisbee, and floor hockey. I also enjoy singing and playing the piano and ukelele. 

After graduation, I will be attending college at the University of Rhode Island. I will be majoring in Nursing. I am looking to earn my Bachelor’s degree, and then apply to Med School.

Everyday at the Block Island School was something new. Whether we were on a field trip, in school; everyday was fun. My favorite was our volleyball playoff game which took place in the school gym during school hours. All of the teachers and students made us signs and all came to support us.

In the beginning of my high school career I would have told myself to put myself out there more, and not let anyone make me feel like I am less than what I am.

As of now, I am unsure of how my first semester will be or if I will be on campus in the fall. I am sad about how the year ended and how I can’t even see my class for my graduation. I am happy to be done, and I am proud of myself for sticking with it. The Block Island School made sure to help us adapt to online learning in a way that made the situation easier and less stressful. I do wish I could have finished the year in the classroom, but I’m just happy we are done and on to the next stage in our life.


Daniel Mazariegos Reyes

My name is Danny Reyes, and I am 19 years old. I’m really interested in learning new things like learning new languages, and I love listening to music. A few of my hobbies are playing soccer, which is my favorite sport, or reading a good book about action. 

My plans after graduation are to stay on Block Island for work, make some money, and also to take a break from school. I’ve planned to go to college, which I’m not sure where, but I’m still working on it and I want to get a degree in construction engineering.

I’ll always remember the great people I met while staying here. I met great teachers and also a few great classmates.

Take care of your physical and mental well-being.

I’m not going to college this year. About the school ending like this, I can tell that I really hated it. This year was terrible, not to mention that I couldn’t play soccer my senior year.