A Tribute to the Class of 2018
Author Anthony Lee
As the 2017-2018 school year draws to a close, the Charter School of Wilmington prepares to graduate another talented group of students: the Class of 2018. On June 2, 2018, the seniors will assemble one last time, receive their diplomas, and disperse to their respective colleges and universities around the world. However, even though they may live on different campuses this fall, the Class of 2018 will always share the memories that they made together at the Charter School of Wilmington. Before they graduate, 10 seniors reflect on their four years in high school, anticipate the forthcoming years of college and university, and advise the underclassmen on the high school experience and life in general. Please enjoy the first annual “Tribute.”
Introducing the Seniors!
From top row to bottom row, left to right: Kathleen Hermansader, Josh Fickes, Eric Jansson, Satvika Kadiyala, Siddharth (Sid) Gangrade, Karna Nagalla, Benjamin (Ben) Snyder, Mary McCann, YuQing (Chin Chin) Xie, Sharon Kung, Michelle Zheng. Photo from Lucy Zuo and the Yearbook Club.
How excited are you to finally graduate?
Kathleen Hermansader: It is bittersweet. I have really enjoyed my time here at Charter, and I am sad to go, but I am also excited about going to college and getting to open a new chapter of my life.
Josh Fickes: I am incredibly excited to be graduating, but I am recently coming to realize that with graduation comes the point in life when I must leave behind some truly incredible friends.
Eric Jansson: Excited
Satvika Kadiyala: I’m very excited and feel relieved that I got into my favorite college.
Siddharth (Sid) Gangrade: I'm definitely excited, but graduating is bittersweet. I wish I had more time with the friends I've made throughout high school.
Karna Nagalla: Looking forward to a fresh start
Ben Snyder: Very
Mary McCann: Overjoyed!! I finally have an answer for when people ask.
YuQing (Chin Chin) Xie: Very
Sharon Kung: Hype!
Michelle Zheng: Beary excited!
In retrospect, what do you remember most fondly from the four years you have attended the Charter School of Wilmington (CSW)?
Kathleen: Spirit Week, Pep Rallies, Homecoming, Sports Games (especially the 2014 Volleyball Championship Game and the first football game under the lights), Charterthon, Prom, and meeting my best friends ;)
Josh: Making so many friends and hanging out with all of them in the more peaceful times when we weren't all overwhelmed with work.
Eric: Odyssey of the Mind World Finals 3 times
Sid: Finishing Mrs. Messingers's midterm, the Envirothon in Ontario, Freshman and Senior Year Homecoming, Prom.
Karna: AP Bio with Mrs. Lounsbury, AP Language and Composition with Mrs. Hollstein, AP United States History with Doc Hollstein, AP Chemistry with Mr. Darone, Latin 3 with Mr. Messinger, and most lately, AP Calculus AB with Mr. Satalino.
Ben: Meeting my close group of friends on the Renaissance Fair trip, Mr. Carr’s guaranteed technique to learn Chinese, and joining the cross country team sophomore year.
Mary: Fall pep rally, my homeroom table, and e = mc^2
Chin Chin: Dominating Princeton University Mathematics Competition (PUMaC) 2017 and winning a soccer game from a 0-2 deficit freshman year.
Michelle: Dropping Mrs. Hollstein’s computer tower freshman year...I’m so sorry
What about CSW will you miss most after graduation?
Kathleen: Pep Rallies, Homecoming, Prom, Charterthon, Sports Games
Josh: Definitely the friends I've made. I feel like I've taken them for granted a bit, getting blinded by all of the work, and now I feel them slipping away as everyone disperses to various colleges, and it's making me finally realize that I wish I could have held onto the bonds I formed more than I did.
Satvika: I will miss all those times Doc Hollstein screams my name in the hallway and tries to hand me assignments even though I’m not in his classes anymore. I will also miss the near splits Mr. Thompson will do while he waits to hear an answer from his students.
Sid: My teachers and friends.
Karna: Homeroom (and being late to it), AP Bio, and AP Lang.
Ben: The teachers and students I have gotten to know so well and whose familiar faces I am so used to seeing every day in the hallways and classrooms of Charter.
Mary: The people and the teachers
Chin Chin: Friends and teachers
Sharon: Seeing my closest friends nearly everyday.
Michelle: My friends :)
Have you matured since your freshman year? If so, how has the Charter experience contributed to that transition into adulthood?
Kathleen: I have grown to be very independent and have learned how to manage my time. I have learned to put my priorities in order.
Josh: I have learned a lot about managing work due to Charter's intense workload. Also, just by growing older and gaining more experiences, I feel like I have really learned how to rely on friends for support when life's craziness is too tough to deal with alone.
Satvika: I matured academically due to Charter’s strict academic policies and environment, but I’m still a freshman at heart!
Sid: I've learned that hard work gets you farther than talent, and taking the time to focus on the things you're passionate about makes you a more complex, interesting, and mature individual.
Ben: I think I have come to realize that you often have to advocate for yourself and put yourself “out there.” I mean this in a social sense, but also in terms of pursuing your interests. CSW has contributed to this by forcing me to go out and seek activities, for example, and rewarding me when I make that effort to reach out and expand my horizons in whatever way that might be.
Mary: My time management skills increased, and I became better at handling stress.
Chin Chin: Got more up to date on social media (made a Facebook, got an Instagram, got a Snapchat) and American culture. (Thanks, my friends.)
Sharon: I learned how to take time to invest in the clubs and activities that I enjoy and not waste time on what I thought colleges wanted to see.
Michelle: Have I?
Who or what at CSW has helped define who you are today?
Kathleen: The teachers. I wouldn't be where I am without them.
Josh: The people and, to an extent, the stressful environment (in sort of trial by fire).
Eric: Chin Chin was a major influence on my character.
Satvika: I definitely have to say that Ms. Magbagbeola has guided me with many things. She is always straightforward with her advice and was able to help me figure out what’s academically best for me.
Sid: Mrs. Lounsbury is my all-time favorite teacher. She taught me the importance of learning and loving to learn. Additionally, Student Government was the most fun and diverse organization I've been a part of, and the people on the council every year have made a huge impact on the leader, role model, and friend that I strive to be.
Karna: Mrs. Lounsbury, Mrs. Hollstein, and Mr. Satalino
Ben: Too many to name them all!
Mary: Chemistry class! I took one Chemistry class each year.
Chin Chin: Friends and teachers
Sharon: Mrs. Lounsbury. She gives the BEST advice (and hugs).
Michelle: Key Club!!!
Let’s talk about the future! Where have you matriculated?
Kathleen: University of Delaware
Josh: University of Southern California
Eric: University of Delaware
Satvika: University of Delaware
Sid: University of California at Berkeley
Karna: University of Miami
Ben: Yale University
Mary: Boston College
Chin Chin: Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)
Sharon: University of Delaware
Michelle: Stanford University
How excited are you to attend this school?
Kathleen: Very Excited!!! Go Blue Hens!
Josh: Very excited!
Satvika: I’m very excited! I’m nervous about my grades but my excitement for the college experience overrides it.
Sid: Very. There's no other place I'd want to spend the next four years.
Karna: Extremely excited.
Mary: I can’t wait :)
Chin Chin: Extremely.
What aspects of college life are you looking forward to?
Kathleen: Meeting people from all over the country and learning more about something that really interests me
Josh: I am looking forward to having the freedom to learn the things I am most interested in and discover new talents and interests.
Satvika: I’m looking forwards to joining many clubs. I cannot wait to join their competitive fusion dance team and also be able to conduct my own research.
Sid: Going to the city, using huge libraries, joining communities and clubs on campus.
Karna: Having a roommate who also plays video games, research opportunities, actually going to a party for once.
Ben: Increased independence and choice in coursework as well as an intellectually stimulating social environment.
Mary: Being independent and living outside of Boston!
Chin Chin: The amazing nerdy culture. The top level education. Great research opportunities.
Sharon: Having more freedom
Michelle: The food and weather
Any final words of advice for the underclassmen?
Kathleen: Live your senior year in the moment. Remind yourself at times that high school is coming to an end. Be true to yourself. Good Luck!!
Josh: The work will seem like it's too much, but keep going, and lean on your friends.
Eric: When applying to college, GPA doesn't matter as long as you are a unique character. Try to do uncommon extracurriculars and build up your personal achievement bank rather than spending all your time studying.
Satvika: You will get into a good college! Taking the most APs doesn’t mean you’re smart! Only take challenging classes if it will benefit your college interests.
Sid: Never forget to look at what's right in front of you in your pursuit of happiness. Soon, all things will be behind you. Stop counting down the days to graduation next year—enjoy high school while it lasts. Additionally, if you haven't, start developing the real you. Enough with trying to be someone you're not, enough with being self-conscious, enough with negative relationships. This is the time for you to discover who you want to be, so put in a genuine effort to actually be the best person possible, not the person that appear the best to others. As Marcus Aurelius said, "You have power over your mind—not outside events. Realize this, and you will find strength."
Karna: Do some research at a university if you can over summer. It's not as hard as it seems to get an opportunity at a lab. Just show some interest, and your junior research project will be pretty fire.
Ben: Seize the moment. Opportunities present themselves fairly frequently, but it’s easy to count one’s self out due to doubt or some other reason. When you have an idea or you hear about something from a friend, give it a try even if it means going a little out of your way to ask someone for help. The worst that can happen is that things don’t work out and you’re in the same position as before.
Mary: Don’t be afraid to ask for help! Juniors — it will be over soon and you won’t be able to believe how fast time flew.
Chin Chin: Be driven by true passion. Do what you want to do, take classes that you find interesting. Explore and figure out what you want to do in life. Delve deep, much deeper than what your classes teach you in the subjects you love most. Immerse yourself in them and something great will happen.
Sharon: Don't overload on the APs. Just don't. Trust me.
Michelle: Nap whenever you want.
I hope you have enjoyed this final tribute to the Class of 2018 as much as I have. It was an absolute pleasure to interview this group of seniors and listen to all of their reflections, thoughts, and suggestions. Without their valuable input, I could not have written this article. I thank all of them for sacrificing their time and replying to my questions. Additionally, on behalf of the Charter community, I wish the Class of 2018 the best of luck in their future endeavours. I am certain that all of you will find success in the coming years. Finally, I would like to sign off on another excellent season of the Force File with this quote:
“You're off to Great Places!
Today is your day!
Your mountain is waiting,
So...get on your way!”
Dr. Seuss, Oh, the Places You’ll Go!
See you next year!