Leaving the Wigwam: Words of Wisdom from the Class of 2017


Brianna Marino will be attending Endicott University this Fall as a communications major. – photograph by Bridget LaSelva

A daunting sight lines the hallway adjacent to the cafeteria. Colorful pieces of construction paper with numbers, diminishing by the days, mark how many more days are left for seniors in Canton High School.
On June 23rd, 2017, the class of 2017 will be donning their caps and gowns and graduating from Canton High School. Many of these students have survived in the Canton Schools system for 13 years.
High School can be a daunting journey with numerous obstacles. According to a survey of nearly 183,000 public schools conducted by Youth Truth, a national non profit organization, 82% of high schoolers feel that they have to work hard to earn good grades.
Nevertheless in 2015 the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) reported that 87% of high schoolers in Connecticut successfully graduate in four years. For those on the brink of being the other 13%, here’s how three graduating seniors made it.
Canton High School senior Brianna Marino began attending the Canton Schools in kindergarten, and will be attending Endicott University this Fall as a communications major. While she says she endured many ups and downs throughout high school, she feels accomplished nevertheless.
“I definitely would have taken freshman year more seriously and tried take relationships more seriously,” Marino reflected. “You may not like your teachers, but you should respect with them and work with them to get through school.”
In addition to being a student, Marino is also an accomplished dancer, which she reported “kept her sane.” She expressed that being a well rounded student is essential to success.
“It’s really important to get engaged in extracurricular activities because it will make the other things so much easier. Being able to do the thing you love helps you deal with the things you don’t necessarily like.”
Graduating with Marino this year is Nate Fulham. Fulham began attending Canton High School his junior year after attending an all boys Catholic School. He felt that the previous climate wasn’t for him, and that Canton High School has allowed him to follow his individual pursuits.
“Work hard but stay sane,” recommended Fulham. “Keep trying to figure out what you want in the end… I think you should have an end goal, but it should almost be superficial. That is your goal but you’re going to have to take whatever happens to you and your life and then do whatever you want with it.”
This fall, Fulham will be studying psychology at the University of Delaware, and hopes to someday work as a clinical psychologist.
Sometimes, students make mistakes. The NCES reported that nationally, 17% of high school students won’t graduate within four years. Among several of the high school seniors who were close to having to repeat a year was senior Ethan Abate.
“Basically at the end of last school year I was told that because I had failed a lot of classes in the previous three years,I was gonna have to take 8 classes both semesters this year,” Abate explained. “So I don’t have a lunch or an open this year, but I’m graduating.”
After graduating this June, Ethan plans to attend community college for one to two years and work to get his grades up, and then go on to study at a university.
“It’s okay to have fun in high school but don’t make that your priority; make doing well in school your priority,” Abate recommends. “Instead of just going home and screwing around with people I probably would have gotten my work done and before, and tried a lot more to do well in classes.”
Finding a balance is essential in all stages of life, and high school can be particularly challenging in doing so. But if these three graduates have proven anything, it is that that is possible.