May 20, 2020Editor's note: The following article is the conclusion of a two-part series that began in last week's edition.
MEREDITH — Eight seniors are part of Inter-Lakes Middle/High School's top 10 percentile with different goals, motivations, and influences.
Inter-Lakes Middle High School has announced the eight seniors gradating in the top 10 percentile: Joseph DeTolla, Georgiana Ducsai, Evelyn Hicks, Helen LaRowe, Rebecca Leberman, Katherine Losada, Rachel Taggett, and Maya Weil-Cooley. Last week we featured DeTolla, LaRowe, Leberman, and Taggett and four more will be featured this week.
Georgiana Ducsai is the class president and has also served on Student Council. She has been on the Math Team since freshman year, Interact Club, National Honor Society, International Club, the Writing Center, and founded the Science Club. She has also done track and field and is a member of the Weightlifting Club.
Ducsai has been greatly involved in community environmental efforts. She joined the local chapter of the Citizen's Climate Lobby and has done a lot of work in Sandwich including working to have old streetlights with LEDs, replacing the recycling center's battery recycling system, and cleaning streets. Ducsai has also been involved in 4-H, including the Quilting Club and working in the 4-H Barn during the Sandwich Fair.
Ducsai attributed her success to a hard work ethic and curiosity. Ducsai said she was "startled" to recognize the influence she had in the school with how many people have supported her and sought her help. She said she learned to become a leader by example.
"Not only has this taught me a lesson in some sorely needed confidence, but that we all hold a power we don't always realize, and need to move through life knowing that people do pay attention to us," Ducsai said.
Ducsai will be attending Wellesley College majoring in Biological Studies. She also hopes to do a dual degree program at MIT in Environmental/Biological Engineering or a double minor in Astronomy and Creative Writing. She ultimately said she wants to pursue a doctorate in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, saying she she wants to find the best coexistence between the human world and natural world given the impacts of climate change.
Maya Weil-Cooley has been a member of Student Council, serving as president in her senior year. She is also part of the Interact Club and National Honor Society as well as taking part on the cross-country team, Nordic skiing, and the track team.
"When there is a service opportunity in the community, I try my best to be an active part of it," Weil-Cooley said.
In her junior year, she worked with peers to form the Mental Health Support Group and worked with teachers and administrators in getting out resources, as well as working to make the community more inclusive.
She said her teachers ate ILMHS have empowered and encouraged her, teaching her so many skills for in and outside the classroom. Weil-Cooley was diagnosed with dyslexia in elementary school and said she has had to work in different ways to approach learning.
"I feel so proud that I was able to do that and have such a successful high school career," she said.
She has advocated for the student body and said she was happy to find she was making a difference for students, realizing she could make this part of her career.
Weil-Cooley will be attending Hamilton College with a dual major in Public Policy and Women's and Gender Studies. She wants to become a women's healthcare advocate.
Katherine Losada has been a member of the Math Team, vice president of the Science Club, National Honor Society, and International Club. She has also done soccer and track and field. She has volunteered for a number of community efforts including Golden View Health Care Center, the Squam Lakes Natural Science Center, and blood drives as part of NHS. She said she believes in nurturing the environment and has worked to pick up trash around Meredith and Sandwich.
Losada said her friends and family have been her biggest influence.
"I surround myself with passionate and diligent individuals who encourage me to move forward when I hit a roadblock," Losada said.
One of her proudest accomplishments is the biology plant project sophomore year. Losada and a partner contacted Dr. Paul Williams, who molecularly engineered the Wisconsin Fast Plants they were working with, and hd the opportunity to join his research project.
Losada will be attending Boston University and will study Astronomy. She said wants to investigate the cosmos and potentially work with NASA in the future.
Evelyn Hicks was a member of the softball team.
She said her parents were her biggest influence and "pushed me to do well."
"I am most proud of getting into my top choice school through all of my work done at ILHS," Hicks said.
Hicks will be attending the University of New Haven and studying Forensic Pathology. She said she's not sure what she wants to do in the future.
"I mainly hope to do well in college and find a job that I love," Hicks said.
Since the last article ran, another member of the top percentile received some good news: Helen LaRowe was accepted to the United States Naval Academy.
LaRowe said she became interested in the military when joining her dad at his job at an Army base.
Seeing the respect between the soldiers, she said she wanted to be part of that community and serve in the military. She said she was drawn to the Naval Academy for its focus on honor and loyalty and educational opportunities.
LaRowe will take part in the seven week summer program known as "Plebe Summer," receiving basic military training. She is looking to major in Nuclear Engineering.