It is hard to believe that it is that time of year again. Seniors will walk across the stage at Pierce Field – Mother Nature willing – and join a society of 100,000 alumni. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, it is just about time for the annual EPHS graduation ceremony.
Over the past few months, seniors have solidified their plans for next year. College acceptance (and rejection) letters have been opened already. Tears of joy and disappointment have been shed and dried. It is nearly time for seniors to move away from their nourishing mother – East Providence High School.
Just as graduation traditions, like the singing of our Alma Mater, will once again be brought back to life, so has The Townie presented profiles of the top students in the graduating class. This year, three outstanding young women will represent EPHS by delivering speeches at the annual graduation ceremony. Notwithstanding the diminutive size of the three girls, I like to call them ‘The Big Three’. Like in years past, the Big Three will stand as a symbol of the great things that we, as Townies, can achieve. Catherine, Stephanie, and Sunny, are gifted individuals and I am pleased that The Townie has been able to celebrate their successes. There is an awful lot to learn from these young ladies. Check out the article, written by junior Isabel Newton, either on the Townie website or in The East Providence Post.
To that end, it is no secret that one of the missions of The Townie is to shed a positive light on East Providence High School. Too often, the press that makes it to the eyes and ears of the community is about negative aspects of one of the largest high schools in Rhode Island. While we do not want to shy away from the realities of our existence at EPHS, there are so many incredible things about our school community that it is worth our time to ‘accentuate the positive’. In keeping with that idea, and recognizing this special time of year, I would like to update the school community on the accomplishments of another set of graduates – The Big Three from the EPHS Class of 2008.
Just a few weeks ago, Miranda Cummings, Colby Jenkins, and Danielle Rizzini walked across the stages of their respective universities and received undergraduate diplomas. All three have prospered in college and are proof of the type of students that East Providence High School has continued to produce – year after year. They all have been leaders of their classes and they will all move on to prestigious post-graduate programs. We are pleased to call these three – and myriad EPHS alumni – Townies.
One of the highlights of Danielle Rizzini’s college career actually came on her last day as an undergraduate. At her graduation ceremony, President Barack Obama addressed her graduating class at Barnard College in New York City. In his speech, The President advised students, “Don’t just get involved. Fight for your seat at the table. Better yet, fight for a seat at the head of the table.”
Danielle has long been fighting for a seat at the head of the table. While a student at EPHS, she was a leader in the classroom, on the athletics fields, and in student government. Danielle was best known, perhaps, for her remarkably pleasant demeanor. As Rob Traverse, coach of the EPHS softball team said, “Danielle is one of the most coachable kids I’ve ever encountered.”
Danielle took her sturdy work ethic to NYC where, in addition to her studies at Barnard, she worked at Bellevue Hospital, one of the busiest and most renowned academic medical institutions in the world. This experience has weighed in her decision to perform clinical research this summer as she studies for the MCAT exam. After that, Danielle will enroll in medical school.
Medical school is a popular destination for the top of the class of EPHS. Colby Jenkins, the salutatorian of the Class of 2008 will attend Tufts University Medical School in the fall. Colby graduated a few weeks ago from Brown University where he was head of the Neuroscience Departmental Undergraduate Group – a program in which he worked with faculty to put on neuroscience programs for students throughout the year.
Like Danielle, Colby was active in several organizations and sports at EPHS (he was the number one singles tennis player for a time). He used the social skills that he acquired in school to become the Alumni Relations officer of his graduating class at Brown. He was a college tour leader, a tutor to inner-city students, the Chair of Orientation Committee, and a Teaching Assistant. Colby kept himself busy up until the last days of his undergraduate career as he was in charge of running Senior Week at Brown.
Miranda Cummings graduated from Providence College with a degree in Social Work and Political Science. Like Danielle, Miranda was active in groups that dealt with women’s issues. In these groups, Miranda raised money for young mothers, put on the Women's Art Show, and addressed gender issues on and off of campus. At EPHS, Miranda was the valedictorian and she continued her academic prowess at PC by graduating magna cum laude. Miranda's achievements have helped her to earn a spot next year at the Boston College Graduate School of Social Work. She was accepted into the Advanced Standing Macro Level Social Work Program.
Miranda, Colby, and Danielle are just three Townies who graduated from college over the past month. Congratulations to Anna, Jimmy, Anthony, Kyle, Beth, Danny, Abby, James, and many others who fulfilled a promise that they made to themselves sometime in high school. From the teachers at East Providence High School who were part of that journey, thanks for making us proud and reminding us why we do what we do.