#1 Mikaya Parente
Mikaya Parente, valedictorian of Cranston High School West’s class of 2022, will attend Harvard University this fall. She plans to study mechanical engineering and …
Mikaya Parente, valedictorian of Cranston High School West’s class of 2022, will attend Harvard University this fall. She plans to study mechanical engineering and eventually pursue a master’s degree in aerospace engineering.
Parente was captain of the Outdoor Track and Field Team at West and, outside of school, attended the Newport Aviation Flight School; she started flying at age 14 and took her first solo flight at 16 years old.
Her list of special awards and honors include the English Department Award, Math/Calculus Department Award, Science Department Award, Excellence in Pre-Engineering/Robotics, National Merit Scholarship Recipient, Wellesley Book Award, Cranston Hall of Fame Scholarship, J.S. Lim Scholarship in Science and Rensselaer Medal Award. She also received a full scholarship to Harvard University.
What will Parente remember most from her high school career?
“I will remember beating the state record for the girls 4x100 meter relay with my team since seventh grade: Lindsey Hobin, Maddie Alves and Ailani Sutherland. It was hard work, teamwork and dedication to track and our friendship that brought us to the top,” said Parente.
Parente’s support came from her family: Michael Parente, Jeanne Parente and Siena Parente. She added school and academic faculty which included Principal Tom Barberi, John Fontaine, Mr. Goldthwaither and Mrs. Mayne. And she couldn’t forget her best friend Dea Xhupi.
Parente’s success comes from internal motivation and wanting to be proud of what she accomplishes everyday.
“Without striving to be great and achieving great things, each day just rolls into the next, I’m addicted to making each day matter,” Parente said.
Parente also reflected on how Covid affected the class of 2022 and said it taught her the importance of having a balanced life and not spending all her time at home doing school work.
“I learned that true happiness is not having everything go right all the time, it’s being okay even when things go wrong. It has taught me not to rely on academic achievement alone to feel fulfilled,” Parente said.
Angela Marses, salutatorian of Cranston High School West’s class of 2022, will attend the University of Rhode Island this fall to study neuroscience.
President of the National Honor society and secretary of the Class Council, Marses’ time at West included involvement in a number of activities. On the field, she was captain of the Cranston West Girls’ Soccer team and was involved in basketball and indoor track. She was also an Academic Decathlon member, captain of the Math Team, Student Council delegate, Best Buddies member, Student Leadership Board member, Student Ambassador and Peer Tutor; she was also a member of the Spanish National Honor Society and Rhode Island Honor Society.
Outside of school, Marses is the Greek Orthodox Youth of America President, part of the Odyssey Dance Troupe member and has her own business called AM calligraphy.
Marses has received numerous awards and honors for her academic and extracurricular pursuits including the Thomas M. Ryan Scholarship, Carson Scholarship, Elks Scholarship, Harvard Prize Book Award and United Soccer Coaches Senior Excellence Award. She earned All-Academic Team, Division I Second Team All-Division and Third Team All-Division for Rhode Island Girls’ Soccer while also receiving a Gold Medal in Interview for Academic Decathlon.
Marses said as she moves on to the next chapter of her life, she will remember “the lasting relationships I have made and the impact that West has had on me through becoming more involved, confident and appreciative of my community.”
“My teachers and administrators have contributed to my success as a student, and my friends have contributed to my overall enjoyment of making my high school experience a lasting one. However, my family has been the foundation of all my successes as they guide and support me towards my future endeavors,” Marses said.
In terms of how the pandemic shaped her senior year and future plans, Marses said she used Covid as a motivation to get to know individuals in her school community.
“This has changed my outlook to really soak in the small moments as we wrap up our final year, and motivated me to stay involved within my school community and make the most of what we had together,” Marses said.
Nicholas Perrotta, who ranks third in Cranston High School West’s class of 2022, will attend Duke University this fall and major in biomedical engineering.
At West, Perrotta was the captain for varsity Cross Country and varsity Golf while also being a varsity member of the Indoor Track team. He served as Math Team Captain, Italian American Society Chairman, Class Council Delegate, Student Council Delegate and Vice President, National Honors Society member and Vice President, Student Leadership Delegate and was a Freshman Mentor. He was also part of the National Art Honors Society and Academic Decathlon.
Perrotta’s academic achievements earned him the Cranston High School West Junior Math Book Award, 2020 PSAT National Merit Scholarship Program Commended Student award and American Mathematical Society Outstanding Achievement award. In sports, he earned Academic All-State for Cross Country and for music he was recognized as a Junior Rhode Island All-State violinist.
“I will remember the Falcon community that was instilled on me the past four years. This community became like a second family to me that I wouldn't trade the world for,” said Perrotta.
He said his teachers provided him with the tools to succeed in high school, along with his parents.
Who contributed most to Perrotta’s success and enjoyment of high school?
“My friends…they were always there to distract me from my heavy workload when I truly needed it,” Perrotta said.
He added that his grandpa and parents constantly reminded him of his potential to succeed throughout high school.
“When my Grandpa unfortunately passed away, this motivated me even more to make him proud,” Perrotta said.
Asked how the pandemic affected his class and his plans for the future, Perrotta said: “The Covid-19 pandemic allowed me to be much more grateful for my high school experience. In the beginning of the pandemic, I was excited to not have to wake up to go to school, and to stay home and do whatever I want. However, after some time I became extremely bored and felt lonelier by the day. Upon the return to in-person school, I became much more grateful for my everyday school routine, having seen how quickly it can all disappear.”
Maya Fraenza, who ranks fourth in the Cranston High School West’s class of 2022, will attend the University of Rhode Island this fall. She plans to study mathematics on a pre-medical track.
While at West, Fraenza served as Student Council President, Class Council Delegate, Captain of the Indoor Track team and Community Service Vice President of National Honor Society. She was also involved with Outdoor Track and Field, Math Team, Student Leadership, Student Ambassadors, SkillsUSA, Italian Honor Society and the soccer team.
Her other recognitions and honors include the Heart of a Mathematician award, Jae S. Lim Mathematics Scholarship, Lieutenant Governor Leadership Award as well as several external scholarships.
Fraenza said she will remember the bonds built with her peers and faculty, “as they have shaped me into the woman I am today and I will always cherish those special relationships.”
She credits her peers and family for the support and teachers such as Mrs. Senna, Mrs. Fontaine and Mrs. Leveillee.
As for what motivated her to excel, Fraenza said “having a family who always pushed me to be better and succeed at each and everything that I do, along with inner drive to achieve my goals.”
From the pandemic, Fraenza said she has learned that not every circumstance is going to work out in your favor, and what’s important is that you work through it and make the best of every situation.
“I have learned to adapt to changes and not allow it to alter any plans or outlook, but only motivate me to achieve my goals more,” said Fraenza.
Juliana Bucci, who ranks fifth in Cranston High School West’s class of 2022, will attend the University of Rhode Island this fall where she plans to study cell and molecular biology.
Bucci’s extracurricular pursuits at West included being captain of the Track and Field team, a Class Council Delegate and a member of yearbook. She was also involved with the Healing Hands Charity Club, Environmental Club, National Honor Society and Rhode Island Honor Society. Her awards include the Mayor Hopkins Scholarship, 2019 Coach’s Award for Indoor Track and Field and making first team All-Division for three seasons of Indoor and Outdoor Track as well as first team All-Class.
“I will remember the positive experiences and opportunities that came from my time on the track and field team. I enjoyed the memories, friendships, traveling, wins and losses of all four years.”
Bucci expressed gratitude to her parents, sister, brother, teachers, coaches and friends who contributed to her success and enjoyment of West.
“My support team is what pushed me through the tough nights of studying and projects, and they were also the same people to help me get ready for prom and cheer on the football team. Other members of the top ten were also significant contributors to my success. We all had similar classes and goals, along with the drive to succeed, so we each helped one another to reach those goals and be the most successful students,” Bucci said.
The pandemic changed the way Bucci valued education.
“After nearly two years learning from a computer screen, I learned not to take in-person classes for granted,” she said. “My senior year was the closest to normal as it could be considering the circumstances, and I was so appreciative that my class still got to experience proms, graduations, honors nights, and more the way they were before Covid.”
John Soscia, who ranks sixth in Cranston High School West’s class of 2022, will attend Brown University this fall where he plans to double major in applied mathematics and public affairs.
Outside the classroom, Soscia was Class Council President, Math Team Captain, Student Council Delegate, Student Ambassador, Student Leadership Committee, Italian-American Heritage Week Co-Chair, National Honor Society Officer and a member of Find a Cure Club. His academic success led to many awards and honors including the 2022 United States Presidential Scholar Award, 2022 Lieutenant Governor Leadership Award and 2021 Rhode Island Civic Leadership Award.
“I will remember the deep personal connections I have made with many of my classmates and teachers,” said Soscia, adding that his friends and family provided him with constant support to reach for his goals and never give up.
“Most of all, my own personal self-drive encouraged me to always put 100 percent of my effort into whatever I was aiming towards,” Soscia said.
He said the pandemic taught him to live in the moment and not to waste time harping over what could have been.
“I have learned to appreciate more of the little moments I experience every day,” Soscia said.
Alexandra Coia, who ranks seventh in Cranston High School West’s class of 2022, will attend Brown University this fall where she will study environmental studies and chemistry.
Coia has founded several clubs at West including the Environmental Club, Suicide Prevention for RI Teens (where the group raised over $1.5k for American Foundation for Suicide Prevention) and the Chemistry Club (which she co-founded). Coia was also the National Art Honors Society President, Art Club Teachers Assistant, CHSW Multicultural Student Union Social Media Coordinator, Sunrise RI Youth Hub Coordinator and High School Democrats of RI Communications Director.
Coia received recognition for her artistic talents by receiving two Gold Keys in the Scholastic Art and Writing contest and being an Honorable Mention in the Jim Langevin Art Competition. She received NAEA/NAHS Art Exhibition Selection/Award, AP Scholar with Honor, Kristen Couto Memorial Scholarship, GFWC Cranston Community Women’s Scholarship, Pat Castelli Memorial Scholarship and Bausch and Lomb Honorary Science Award.
As for what she will remember most about her high school career, Coia said: “Hosting Chemistry club alongside my friends and getting the coffee cart every day.”
“My late mother pushed me into my success throughout high school. My father and sister were alongside me and motivating me every step of the way. My friends such as Sophia Smith, Kaitlin Phou, Ani Poghosyan, Estella Kue, Emily Sullivan, and more allowed me to stay afloat and balance schoolwork with friendships,” Coia said.
She added that what motivated her was making her mom proud both before and after her passing.
“I can look within myself for inspiration and support without seeking it out in others. I learned how important self-reliance is, which I believe is vital for my current and future successes,” Coia said.
Sanjana Ananthula, who ranks eighth in Cranston High School West’s class of 2022, will attend Nova Southeastern University this fall. She will be in the dual admission BS/DO program and plans to double major in biology and neuroscience.
Ananthula’s activities are extensive. In school, she was the founder of the chess club and co-founder of the chemistry club. A varsity member of the tennis team for all four years, Ananthula served as team captain and the first singles player. She was also the captain of the Science Olympiad, a Student Ambassador, Peer Tutor and member of the Math Team, Academic Decathlon and Environmental Club. She was also the Co-Vice President for Fundraising in the National Honor Society.
Outside of school, Ananthula published a research paper on Biogen's new drug Aducanumab and its implications on Alzheimer's disease. She is also a certified Nursing Assistant and volunteered at Rhode Island Hospital as a greeter.
Ananthula was the recipient of the Mayor Scholarship Recipient from Mayor Kenneth J. Hopkins, Cranston Hall of Fame Scholarship Recipient, FM Global Scholarship Recipient and Citation from City Council. In 2018, she was a Rhode Island State Chess Champion and ranked Top 100 in the nation for female 15-year-old chess players. In 2021, she received the Rhode Island Tennis Sportsmanship Award, Silver Medal in Science Olympiad for the event Anatomy and Physiology, Bronze Medal in SkillsUSA for the event Robotics Technical Math, Excellence in Science Award at Cranston West, Pre-Engineering Outstanding Achievement Award, Cranston Rotary Award for Pre-Engineering and AP Scholar Honor Award.
“My dad taught me the importance of networking and instilled a metacognitive and ambitious nature at such a young age …. Lastly, but certainly not least is my mother. She is my role model. Her strong confident nature and fighting spirit are living proof for me that working hard leads to true success,” Ananthula said.
She said her curiosity motivated her to excel and that she constantly questioned the world around her.
As for the pandemic, Ananthula said it gave her an outlook on what she wanted to do as a healthcare professional, since she wants to enforce a predictive and preventative face in medicine.
Ani Poghosyan, who ranks ninth in Cranston High School West’s class of 2022, will attend Brandeis University this fall where she plans to major in neuroscience.
At West, Poghosyan was a Senior Stage Manager and actress for the theater program and a member of Academic Decathlon, Chemistry Club, National Honor Society, Spanish National Honor Society, Rhode Island National Honor Society, SkillsUSA and Healing Hands.
She received several honors and awards including Academic Achievement in Medical Pathways, Excellence in Theater Production, Gold Medal in Honors Interview (Academic Decathlon) and Bronze Medal in Health Knowledge Bowl (SkillsUSA, 2021 and 2022).
As for what Poghosyan will remember, she said: “I’ll most likely remember spending a lot of my time in the auditorium after school because of theater, but I hope that I remember some of the funny moments during or out of classes with my friends.”
She said friends helped her enjoy classes more.
“I never really realized how boring a class could be without being with your friends until experiencing online school. Whether it was group work or just joking around in class, they definitely made things a lot better,” Poghosyan said.
Her parents motivated her and urged her to do the best she could – adding that she wanted to make them proud.
“If the pandemic has taught me anything, it’s that we should make the best of any situation that we’re placed in and honestly, I think that this is one of the most important lessons I’ve learned in the last few years. Even beyond the pandemic, I feel like people always want things to turn out perfectly and usually that’s not the case. Whether it’s a theater production or planning out senior events, instead of hoping for perfection, we should make do with what we have. A lot of the time, the end result will be better than we were expecting,” Poghosyan said.
Madeline Barbieri, who ranks 10th in Cranston High School West’s class of 2022, will attend Endicott College this fall where she plans to study finance communications.
During her time at West, Barbieri was active in a number of groups and activities. She served as Class Council Treasurer for four years, National Honor Society executive board member and was Captain of varsity Girls’ Soccer and Golf teams. She was also a member of Student Leadership, Student Council, Freshman Mentors, and the Spanish National Honor Society. Barbieri also received the URI English Book award and Rhode Island Civic Leadership award.
“I will always remember the inseparable bonds I made with my peers and teachers,” said Barbieri.
As for what motivated her, Barbieri called upon her family, close friends and guidance counselor assisted her in excelling and enjoying all high school opportunities.
“I believe that my future goals and aspirations encouraged me to stay motivated and immerse myself in all of the opportunities Cranston West had to offer. Like many of my classmates, coping with these unprecedented times was uncalled for; however, I did all in my power to ensure that it did not alter my plans or my outlook,” Barbieri said.
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