It comes as no surprise that Kristen Bachand, co-valedictorian for the Class of 2012, is bound for the Ivy League. Bachand plans to attend Brown University next year, with a focus in marine science.
With her future laid out ahead of her, Bachand said there are many people who deserve her thanks and appreciation.
“My peers and teachers helped a great deal. They helped me enjoy both the social and academic sides of high school,” she said. “My parents were always there to support me and to help me loosen up, so I could enjoy high school.”
Bachand enjoyed the ride but kept her focus on succeeding as a student and as a person.
“Over the years, I have always sought to do my best. I tried not to let anything prevent me from doing the hardest tasks. My best motivator is myself,” she said.
The definition of a scholar-athlete, Bachand was a two-year captain of the swim team, for which she made the Second Team All Division in the 400 freestyle relay. She competed in outdoor track, was a member of the Student Council and served as stage manager for the Drama Club.
A member of the National Honor Society, she also won the Bausch and Lomb Honorary Science Award, the Wesleyan University Book Award and the Math and Science Awards at East.
“I will remember the challenges the most from my years in high school. They were caused by difficult classes, school situations and other occurrences that arise in high school life,” she said. “Only by working together did we manage to get through the challenges.”
Sharing the top spot is Adrienne Gendron, who plans to study art conservation at the University of Delaware in the fall.
Anyone who knows Gendron was not surprised to hear she was sharing the honor of being valedictorian at East.
“I have a very high work ethic and am a perfectionist – I like to do my best on everything,” she said.
Gendron did do her best, earning the Spirit of Excellence Award, the Music Award, Sons of Italy Scholarship and the Excellence in Science and Mathematics Awards. She was a member of the National and Rhode Island Honor Societies, and won the Rockefeller and Rhode Island Higher Education Awards.
She also was given a superior rating in solo and ensemble. Gendron said some of her best friends have come from the music program and have contributed to her success and enjoyment of high school.
Over the past four years, Gendron has interned at the RISD Museum and played with the Rhode Island Philharmonic Youth Orchestra, where she was a section leader. She played in the guitar ensemble and Chamber Music Groups, and was co-president and violin section leader for the school orchestra.
Gendron said what she will remember most of her time at East is, “the abundance of genuinely good people I have met over the years.”
Rebecca Rose, the third highest achieving student at East, will soon join her classmate, valedictorian Kristen Bachand, in Providence. Rose will attend Brown University in the fall, and hopes to pursue a course of study in environmental science and engineering.
Rose’s parents are proud of their daughter’s hard work, but she says they played a big part in her achievements.
“My parents have always been incredibly supportive and encouraging. They emphasize the link between academic rigor and opportunities for the future,” she said. “The values that they have instilled in me stress not mindless, emotionless perfection, but the joy of learning, the feeling that comes from solving problems and the pride of discovery and creation.”
Rose’s list of honors at East is considerable. She was a National Merit Scholarship finalist and won the Mayor Fund, Elks and Ross Simon Scholarships, as well as the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Career Scholarship Award. A member of the Rhode Island, Spanish and National Honor Societies, she won the Cranston’s Best and Brightest Award, Spanish Department Award Certificate of Excellence, Yale University Book Award and the Pell Medal for History Studies.
“Many people at East have created a wonderful environment where I could learn and grow as a person,” Rose said. “My teachers have been wonderful, working tirelessly for their students and truly caring about their well-being. My friends have made the journey truly unforgettable.”
Music has always been a passion for Rose, who participated in the competitive marching band, where she served as woodwind captain and low saxophone section leader. In the concert band, she served as principal first clarinet, and also was part of the visual ensemble of the winter percussion.
A definite highlight of the last four years has been the music program. Because I was involved in concert, jazz and marching band, I was able to do things I had never imagined,” said Rose, who also won the Band Director’s Award and Music Department Award.
Aside from her musical talents, Rose impressed her peers as co-editor of the yearbook.
Joining her twin sister in the top 10, Erica Bachand is the fourth-ranked student in East’s Class of 2012. She hopes to pursue a degree in physical therapy from Ithaca College in New York in the fall.
Bachand says it is the teachers at East who propelled her to succeed.
“The motivation was drawn from the expectations of the teachers, who gave me the skills to excel. They encourage and assist, allowing me to give my every effort in each task,” she said.
Bachand was a member of the outdoor track and swim teams, and was a Class A Champion in the 400-meter dash. She also played the viola in the school orchestra and was the winner of the Brown Book Award and the Harvard Book Award.
Recalling the people who contributed most to her academic success, Bachand said there are too many to name.
“The greatest were Mr. Silva, Mr. Cowell, Mr. Maynard, Mr. Chun and Mrs. Sullivan. Each is an incredible asset to the faculty. With each class came an incredible challenge, but their enthusiasm made the difficulty a pleasure,” she said. “I would like to thank each member of the faculty for their dedication.”
Bachand was named to the Rhode Island All-State Senior Orchestra and the Rhode Island and National Honor Societies, and said she met wonderful people in each of the activities and classes she pursued.
“I will remember the wonderful people I have been fortunate to meet, both teachers and students,” she said. “I will also remember the athletics and the time spent with my classmates, both at school and after. These friendships will last.”
Ranked fifth in her class, Julie Martin will travel to Texas in the fall to attend Southern Methodist University, where she intends to double major in business management and public relations. That course toward higher education has been a goal of Martin’s for years.
“My motivation to excel stemmed from my desire to be accepted at my dream colleges. This grew into a motivation not only to excel in my schoolwork, but to reach beyond all limits to bring my dreams to life,” she said.
Martin’s high school resume is varied, taking her from Class Council treasurer to captain of the varsity cheerleading team. She was also the founder and co-chair of the Cranston TeenAge Republicans group, which was nationally recognized as a Rising Star Club of the Year. In these extra curricular activities, Martin met some of the friends she hopes will stay with her forever.
“I will never forget the timeless friendships I’ve made during these last four years. I’ve made so many friendships that I know will last a lifetime and transcend any distance that separates us,” she said.
Martin racked up an impressive list of achievements during her time at East, including winning the Lieutenant Governor’s Leadership Award, the Louis A. Bruno Foreign Language Award and the Rensselaer Medal for Excellence in Mathematics and Science.
Looking back, Martin believes there were many people who helped her to succeed.
“Other than my friends and family, my teachers have been a huge factor to my success and enjoyment of high school. To name a few, Mrs. Narcisi, Mrs. Murphy and Mr. Lavoie have helped to make my high school experience an extraordinary one,” she said.
In a class of 374 students, Talya Fischbach excelled in and out of the classroom, earning her the sixth spot among the graduates. In September, she will begin her collegiate career at New York University, where she plans to study sociology.
Fischbach captained the varsity field hockey team for two years, and also competed in lacrosse and indoor track. She participated in Class Council, the school newspaper and served as a math tutor. The people she met along the way made high school memorable.
“I’ll never forget the connections I have made with the people in my school. I really connected with the players and coaches on my varsity lacrosse and field hockey teams, that made school worthwhile,” she said. “High school would be nothing without the friends and memories that I made.”
Many of those friends have been by Fischbach’s side for most of her life.
“The friends that I made in elementary school were the ones who continued to motivate and support me through high school. From Hebrew School to Camp JORI to father-daughter campouts or school dances, I would not be who I am without their love and support,” she said.
Family played a big part in Fischbach’s success as well.
“My family was also a big factor to my success, and their support was greatly appreciated.”
At the end of the day, though, Fischbach relied on herself more than anyone else.
“My motivation was my future. My goal was to get into my number one college and to grab every opportunity available to me. My drive to do well was my biggest motivator,” she said.
Among a long list of Fischbach’s accomplishments are winning the Bryant Book Award, AP Scholar Award, Ross Scholarship, Storti Memorial Scholarship, Cushing Scholarship and winning a RIIL Scholar-Athlete Award.
JUSTIN BOURNE CALDERARA
Justin Bourne Calderara has a lot to be proud of as the seventh-ranked student at Cranston East. Next year, he will take the tools he sharpened in Cranston and apply them toward a degree in mechanical engineering in the Commonwealth Honors College at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.
If not for his parents, though, Calderara doesn’t know where he would be.
“I attribute most of my academic success to my parents for pushing me to my limits and making sure I was always on track. I’ve worked as hard as I possibly could in order to make them proud of me,” he said.
He also thanked teachers Howard Chun and Dr. Ron Sion for challenging him, and his guidance counselor, Rick Gebhart, for staying on top of him for deadlines, “and giving me the motivation I needed to reach my fullest potential.”
A two-sport varsity athlete, Calderara was captain of the cross country and outdoor track teams. He took leadership positions elsewhere as well, serving as president of the National Honor Society and secretary of the Student Council.
From the athletic field to academics, Calderara said his fondest memories come from challenging times.
“My favorite high school memory is definitely the Cross Country State Meet 2012. It was my last high school meet, the team energy was unbelievable and we ended the year with a bang,” he recalled. “Also, I’ll always remember my senior calculus AP class because of how challenging and demanding it was.”
Senior prom, too, stands out as the “last true high school event before graduation.”
Calderara was the winner of the Salve Regina Book Award, the Women’s Society of Engineers Award, the 2012 Civic Leadership Award, the 2012 Cranston’s Best and Brightest Award and the Harvard Book Award.
Discipline and dedication launched Claire Golde, named as one of Cranston’s Best and Brightest, to the eighth spot in the Class of 2012. She will pursue a degree in computer science at the University of Rhode Island, where she has also applied to the university’s Chinese Language Flagship Partner program.
When asked what motivated her to excel, Golde said, “self-motivation that came from my desire to do the best I can at everything I do.”
Additional support came from family and friends.
“My parents supported me in all my schoolwork and activities. Mr. Lavoie, Mr. Chun and all my other teachers made learning enjoyable, as well as my two best friends,” she said.
While at East, Golde participated in the marching band and piano recitals, as well as service projects, Youth Worship Band and mission trips through her church. She also volunteered at the Auburn Library.
It is her time in the marching band that stands out when asked what she will remember most about high school, saying, “the discipline I learned during the marching season as well as sharing inside jokes with my friends, in class and out of class.”
Golde has been on the Honor Roll all four years and is a member of the National and Rhode Island Honor Societies. She won the Ross Scholarship and Elks Scholarship, and the AP Scholar, Rhode Island Scholar and URI Alumni Association Book Awards.
Ninth-ranked Jillian Proulx worked hard to meet high standards at East, which is a good thing, as she is headed for the competitive Worcester Polytechnic Institute, where she plans to major in architectural engineering before pursuing a Master’s degree in fire protection engineering.
When asked what motivated her to excel, Proulx said, “working hard at everything I do and having my parents always by my side, encouraging me to reach for all heights.”
A two-year captain of the swim team, Proulx also competed in track and field as a thrower. Aside from athletics, she served as treasurer of the Student Council and was a member of the National Honors Society and Robotics club. All of these experiences have made for an interesting high school career.
“My high school years have been an adventure,” Proulx said. “There are scores of people who have contributed to my high school success. The teachers, with their hard work and dedication, helped me along tremendously. Also, my parents were supportive all four years in both the good and the bad. Without them, I do not think I would have gone as far as I have and had the experiences I had. I thank them for everything they have done.”
Ever gracious, Proulx gave additional thanks to the faculty at East for their support for her, and for every student.
“I will remember the hard work, heart and dedication that the teachers give their students every day the most. From coming to school early to leaving very late to accommodate their students’ needs, they truly want the students to succeed and I thank each and every teacher for the years I have been at Cranston East,” she said.
Proulx was the winner of the St. Michael’s Book Award, the Spirit of Excellence Award, the Rhode Island Higher Education Award, Cranston’s Best and Brightest Award and was named to the Thunderbolt Honor Roll.
Rounding out the top 10 is Meaghan Healy, an example of civic responsibility and leadership in the Class of 2012. Healy was a member of Peers As Leaders (PALS), Habitat for Humanity, Yearbook and served as a math tutor. For all four years at East, she participated in Youth United for Global Action and Awareness (YUGA), Art Club and Orchestra.
Though she is still undecided on her major, Healy heads to Boston College in the fall.
“My love for learning has always motivated me to do well in academic pursuits,” she said. “I don’t just strive to make good grades; I strive to keep learning as if it is a hobby. From there, the grades take care of themselves.”
And Healy’s grades did reflect that love of learning. She was a member of the National and Spanish Honor Societies, and racked up an impressive collection of scholarships, including the Elks Scholarship, Ronald A. Gill Jr. Memorial Scholarship, Connecticut State Association of Emblem Clubs Scholarship, Agnes Meade-Tramonti Scholarship and the Sandra Storti Scholarship.
“All of my teachers have helped me along the way and have taught me so much, especially Mr. Lavoie and Mr. Maynard. I also owe my parents and my brothers, Steve and John, who have always encouraged me to work hard,” she said.
Healy says she has a lot of great memories of her time at East, and will look back on her high school years fondly.
“I will remember the academic challenges I faced at East, especially a 25-page paper I wrote for an independent study in history,” she said, noting that more than the schoolwork, it is the people who stand out. “What is high school without friends? I met three of the greatest girls at East and we have had such memorable experiences there. I will definitely remember how many great people I met at Cranston East.”