1. Emma Boucher Class of 2019 valedictorian Emma Boucher plans to attend McGill University in Montreal this fall with a major in political science.
Boucher has been involved in a wide range of activities during her time at Cranston East. As president of the class of 2019, she has organized meetings, fundraisers and dancers. A cellist since 2013, she served as first chair for the Cranston East Orchestra and was selected for Rhode Island’s Junior and Senior All State Orchestras. She also played doubles as a member of the varsity tennis team from 2015 to 2017.
Boucher volunteered for Gov. Gina Raimondo’s reelection campaign in 2018. She worked in the campaign finance office, advocated for the statewide school facilities bond at the State House and spoke with members of the press in support of the governor.
Boucher’s special awards and recognitions include the 2018 Rhode Island Civic Leadership Award, Harvard Book Award, Pell Medal for U.S. History and CHSE Orchestra Leadership Award. She earned highest honors and is a member of the National Honor Society and Tri-M Music Honor Society.
“I will most remember the overwhelming love and pride I felt when 1,600 students participated in a March for Our Lives walkout that I helped organize,” Boucher said. “This was emblematic of the CHSE community I know – we come from a myriad of circumstances, but we are able to unite to create positive change in our community.”
Boucher said she is “grateful to have an incredible group of people who have helped me cross the finish line,” including her family, friends and teachers.
Regarding her motivation to excel, she said: “I have always been intrinsically motivated, and the combination of my tenacity, genuine love of learning, and wish to excel in academics contributed to my success.”
2. Lia Dietrich Lia Dietrich, salutatorian of the class of 2019, will attend Connecticut College in the fall. She remains undecided on a major.
During her time at Cranston East, Dietrich’s activities have included membership in the National Honor Society, National Art Honor Society, Science Club; sitting as second clarinet first chair in the Southern New England Honor Band; an internship with Reach Out and Read RI; and membership on the cross country and indoor and outdoor track teams, including serving as a co-captain this year.
Dietrich’s awards and recognitions include highest honors, the Yale Book Award, All-Division and Academic All-State honors in indoor track, an honorable mention in the Scholastic Art Awards, and superior and excellent medals for solo clarinet in the RIMEA Solo and Ensemble. She also had a piece accepted for the Cranston Citywide Visual Arts Festival in 2017 and received the Ideal Teammate Award for cross country in 2018.
Dietrich said she will most remember the girls indoor track team’s undefeated finish – the first in school history – for the 2018-19 season, and “celebrating with my teammates and friends.”
She attributes her success to her friends, parents and younger brother, Timothy. Her motivation to excel, she said, was a fear of failure.
3. Emily Fontes Emily Fontes, who ranks third in Cranston East’s class of 2019, plans to attend the University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth’s College of Visual and Performing Arts in the fall with a major in illustration and a minor in business.
During her time at Cranston East, Fontes served as president of the National Art Honor Society and was a member of the National Honor Society. Her recognitions and achievements include Silver Keys in the Scholastic Art Awards for illustration, digital art and portfolio; an honorable mention in the Wickford Art Association’s portfolio competition in 2019; and the Dartmouth College Award.
Of her time at Cranston East, Fontes said: “I’ll remember just how much change has come over me over the past four years. The person who walked into Cranston East as a freshman is absolutely nothing like the one who will be walking out as a senior, and that’s definitely for the best.”
Fontes said her friends have “been my support system throughout all four years of high school.”
“They made the experience bearable and gave me people to lean on when I was in need, and I would always do the same for them,” she said. “If it weren’t for my friends being there for me, I would have probably turned out much differently.”
In terms of her motivation to excel, Fontes said it stems from “my desire to do what I love.”
“Art is my life and I can’t see myself doing anything else as a career, so I want to give it my all so I can get ahead and hopefully get a job as a professional artist,” she said. “The people who stood in my way only made me want to achieve my dream even more.”
4. Julie Chen Julie Chen, who ranks fourth in Cranston East’s class of 2019, plans to attend the University of Rhode Island in the fall with a major in nursing.
During her time at Cranston East, Chen has served as the class of 2019’s historian and manager of the varsity and junior varsity girls tennis teams. She has been a member of the Science Club and National Honor Society, and a volunteer with the school’s library, the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society and several other community service groups and projects, including painting rocks for breast cancer awareness and creating holiday cards for senior care homes. She also received the Smith College Book Award.
Chen said she will carry with her the memories made with friends and teams during her high school career.
“Through the interactions with my teams, I learned new things about myself and was able to grow,” she said. “I tried things that I would never do when I was in middle school, such as playing a sport or participating in competitions. As for the memories with my friends, I know I will cherish them because I remember the efforts I made to reach out and create relationship with my closest friends today. I know that even when we go do different colleges, they will always be there as one of my best supports.”
Chen said her friends played an important role in her high school experience.
“During my toughest times in high school, my friends have allowed me to constantly reach out to them for support and care,” she said. “They also always tried their best to lift up my spirits.”
In terms of her motivation to excel, Chen credited her parents and “my own goals and dreams.”
“Although I did not want to grow up so fast, I was very excited to go into college, meet new people, and allow myself to grow even more,” she said. “I also wanted to return the love and support my parents always gave me by doing my best.”
5. Bernadette Linsangan
Bernadette Linsangan, who ranks fifth in Cranston East’s class of 2019, plans to attend Western New England University in the fall. She has yet to decide on a major.
During her time at Cranston East, Linsangan has been a member of the
Marching Band and a drum major for the Concert Band; played lacrosse, volleyball and basketball; and been a member of the Science Club, Tri-M Music Honor Society and National Honor Society.
Her recognitions include the Cranston East Thunder Bolt Spirit Award, the Ashley Signoriello Outstanding Player Award and Second Team All-Division honors in lacrosse.
Linsangan said she will most remember her senior night for Marching Band.
“Both my friends and family came and supported me,” she said.
Linsangan attributed her success to her teachers and friends. In terms of her motivation to excel, she cited her family and “my hopes of helping them one day.”
6. Sokpearoun Lorn
Sokpearoun Lorn, who ranks sixth in Cranston East’s class of 2019, plans to attend the University of Rhode Island in the fall to study engineering.
During his time at Cranston East, Lorn served as secretary of the National Honor Society and was a member of the National Art Honor Society, varsity cross country team and Science Club. His recognitions include the most improved and ideal teammate awards in cross country, as well as the Bryant University Book Award and the Lieutenant Governor’s Leadership Award.
Regarding what he will most remember from his time at Cranston East, Lorn said: “I will always remember that moment when we got almost two full weeks of vacation because the pipes broke after winter break.”
Lorn attributed his academic success to his mother, father and cousin, who “showed me the importance of a good education.”
“They have always pushed me to do my best and have supported me in every way possible without holding my hand,” he said. Because of that, I have grown up to be independent and self-motivated to pursue a dream that I know is only mine.”
In terms of his motivation to excel, Lorn said: “As a Cambodian immigrant, I am motivated by the desire to make the most out of my education at high school. I find it important to do well in high school so that I won’t have any regrets down the line, knowing that I did my best.”
7. Sarah Murphy
Sarah Murphy, who ranks seventh in the class of 2019, plans to attend Fairfield University in the fall. She is undecided on a major.
During her time at Cranston East, Murphy was a member of the swim team and Science Club, played violin in the orchestra and was a member of the National Honor Society and the Tri-M Music Society. She has been a Girl Scout since first grade and has been involved in her church’s youth ministry retreat program, including in a leadership role.
Murphy’s recognitions include the Rensselaer Medal for achievement in math and science.
“The moments I will likely remember from high school will definitely be the time spent with my friends, laughing harder than I thought possible, and winning the Division III state championship my senior year after having lost every dual meet the previous two seasons,” she said.
Murphy said her peers and her family members were a vital part of her high school experience.
“Without the group of friends that I have, my high school years would not be half as fun as they were,” she said. My family contributed the most to my success, especially my parents who were always proud of everything that I did. “
In terms of her motivation to excel, Murphy said it stems from “the faith and encouragement that my teachers always provided me with, and my own determination to prove that I could do anything that I put my mind to.”
8. Nicholas Yau Nicholas Yau, who ranks eighth in Cranston East’s class of 2019, plans to attend the University of Rhode Island in the fall to study mechanical engineering.
During his time at Cranston East, Yau was a member of the National Honor Society and played on both the football and volleyball teams.
“The most prominent aspect of high school that I will remember most is the development of relationships and bonds with my fellow peers, teammates, coaches and teachers,” he said. “The extracurriculars in particular really impacted me in the way that it gave me a sense of camaraderie, teamwork and good work ethic.”
Yau said his friends have played the largest role in his success.
“It was my friends who were there through the ups and downs over the past four years and I appreciate them for abiding by me as we journeyed through high school together,” he said.
In terms of his motivation to excel, Yau spoke of his family.
“My parents, in particular, were very adamant that I do my best in school to benefit my well being in the long run,” he said. “Additionally, as the oldest sibling of the household, I made it a priority to set a high standard for my younger brother and sisters.”
9. Noah Rennick Noah Rennick, who ranks ninth in Cranston East’s class of 2019, plans to study physics at either the University of Wisconsin-Madison or the University of Massachusetts-Amherst in the fall.
During his time at Cranston East, Rennick was a member of the cross country, indoor track and varsity baseball teams. His recognitions include a business award from Johnson & Wales University during the National Honors Society induction ceremony last year.
Rennick said he will most remember the “many laughs I’ve shared with my friends every day at the lunch table.”
“My close friends from Edgewood, some of whom I’ve been friends with since kindergarten, have always kept me motivated to succeed through encouragement and a little friendly competition,” he said. “I have always had a love of learning and high standards for myself, both of which have motivated me to excel in high school.”
10. Joshua Deland Joshua Deland, who ranks 10th in Cranston East’s class of 2019, plans to study computer science at the University of Vermont in the fall.
During his time at Cranston East, Deland has been a member of the drum line for the Thunderbolt Marching Band and a member of the Indoor Percussion Ensemble.
“The moments I remember most about high school tend to be the weirdest moments, the moments that make you ask yourself, ‘What is happening?’ My high school years were full of those moments, including pep rallies, discovering intriguing rooms within the school, many interesting conversations with teachers, and some school assemblies, as well as many concert band classes,” he said. “I will also remember the teachers that made a personal connection with me and treated me like a friend. Those teachers are some of the nicest people I have ever met, and I will not forget them. There are also particular courses that are memorable, mostly my Italian classes and my science classes.”
In addition to his teachers who “showed genuine passion for what they teach” and “made me enjoy what I was learning,” Deland said his friends contributed the most to his success.
“I cannot overstate how much all of my friends have contributed to my enjoyment in school over these last four years,” he said. “I can only imagine that trying to consistently be energetic and enthusiastic each school day would be magnitudes more difficult without regularly being around friends throughout the day.”
In terms of his motivation to excel, Deland credited his parents – who “have set their expectations high for me” – as well as his peers and his own personal goals.
“As a fairly competitive person, being placed in classes with some of the brightest students in my grade challenged me to raise my expectations of myself higher,” he said.