Published DateLACONIA — Often as not, the best and brightest are also so busiest and the two boys and eight girls among the top 10 students who will graduate from Laconia High School next week are no exception.
Sussanah O'Brien, Jasmine Blais, Andrew Kerns, Susan Ross, Katelyn Bailey, Gwen Huot, Candre Kimball, James Guyer Hannah Fortson and Emily Cormier are all accomplished students, members of the National Honor Society as well as New Hampshire Scholars, who will be attending college in the fall. They also participated in the life of the school and the community. And eight of the 10 held part-time jobs during the school year. All while pursuing a full complement of advanced placement courses, which guidance counselor Holly Vieten called "the very toughest we have to offer."
Blais, Cormier, Fortson and Huot played in the band, with Fortson serving as president and Blais and Huot selected from among 500 musicians to perform in the All New England Band Festival at Plymouth State University. Bailey ran cross country, Ross played volleyball and tennis while participating in gymnastics outside of school, Kimball also played volleyball and O'Brien captained the softball and field hockey teams as well as served as class president. A man for all seasons, Kerns kicked soccer balls, hit baseballs and shot basketballs while Guyer devoted himself to skiing and tennis.
Along with their academic credentials, these graduates have not only prepared themselves for the rigors of college but also for the challenges beyond. Most have chosen a major with an eye to a career as well as a college. Entering college when many graduates are seeking work and living at home, all 10 agreed with Huot, who said "I'm trying to make sure that doesn't happen."
Only Blais and Cormier, who will both attend St. Anselm's College, and Fortson, who is headed for George Washington University, have yet to declare their majors. They are also the only three to choose a liberal arts college. Blais said that she prized the reading and writing skills she developed at Laconia High School and reminded her fellow gradates that whatever major they choose or career they pursue they will need both.
Intending to study biology and music at Providence College, O'Brien said that "a big part of my decision process in choosing a college was to identify opportunities for internships. If I have a job set up in Providence, I won't have to come back and live with my parents."
Kerns, who will study mechanical engineering and product design at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, said that the pre-engineering course at the Huot Technical Center gave him a head start by equipping him with the computer skills his courses require. Together with an internship at New Hampshire Ball Bearing, he has taken the first steps toward a career.
Like Kerns, Guyer is aiming for a career in technology, beginning with degrees in computer science and electrical engineering from Edinburgh University in Scotland. "I compared the costs," he said of his decision to cross the Atlantic. He has also applied for an internship with ARM Holdings, a multi-national semiconductor and software design firm headquartered in Cambridge, England.
Ross recalled that she prized the opportunity to visit companies in the region to become acquainted with the prospects for applying the degree in chemical engineering she will pursue at Worcester Polytechnic Institute. She said that she is inclined toward working in energy management.
Bent on a career in health care, Casandre Kimball will begin with the nursing program at New Hampshire Technical Institute in Concord.
Bailey, who will study hospitality management at the University of New Hampshire, said that she is leaving high school having learned to "balance extra curricular activities with homework," adding that she believes "time management" will be an essential skill for success.
Huot will follow Guyer across the Atlantic , where she will spend the first semester at the Dublin School of Business in Ireland then return to complete her education in business management at Northeastern University.
Not surprisingly, most of his classmates readily agreed with Kerns, who advised future graduates of Laconia High School to "decide what you want to do early, find that path and follow it." But, added Huot, "don't be afraid to try different things in high school."
CAPTION: The top 10 graduates of Laconia High School for 2013, ready to take the next step, are, left to right, James Guyer, Katelyn Bailey, Andrew Kerns, Sussanah O'Brien, Hannah Fortson, Susan Ross, Jasmine Blais, Gew Huot, Emily Cormier and Casandre Kimball. (Laconia Daily Sun photo/Michael Kitch)