Riding the Green Wave… To College!

Grads extol the virtues of involvement


Sarah Spencer

By Madisen Caferro, Abington High School

High school students that take advantage of the many programs offered to them are often better prepared for the challenges awaiting them in college. We interviewed three recent Abington High School graduates: Matthew Whalen (Class of 2014), Alicia Reid (Class of 2013) and Sarah Spencer (Class of 2012) and asked them how their time at AHS helped them.

From an academic standpoint, all of the students are thankful for their Advanced Placement (AP) classes. Although not every college accepts AP credit, students such as Whalen (now an Accounting major and English minor at Holy Cross in Worcester, MA) are still grateful for the independence these classes taught them. Whalen made the point that college lectures don’t cover all the material that students are responsible for. “(They) only scratch the surface of the material; they expect you to dig deeper. AP classes taught me how to work through problems on my own,” said Whalen.

Exposure to college-level expectations in high school makes one’s ride smoother. As Reid, now studying athletic training and pre-physical therapy at the University of New England (Biddeford, ME) put it, “taking the harder classes made the transition into college academics a lot easier. College lifestyle is a lot different from high school,” said Reid.

Spencer, now majoring in fine arts with a focus on photography and a minor in art history at Adelphi University in Garden City (Long Island), New York, considered her AP English class and her art classes the most important. “The art classes that I took while at AHS definitely helped shape my love for art and photography. (They) made me like school,” said Spencer.

These three students also prepared by participating in extracurricular programs. They believe that the more you get involved, the better person you become. Reid played soccer and softball, managed the basketball team and was a part of the YouLead club, National Honor Society, and Yearbook Committee at AHS. Her full schedule helped her master time management, which she considers “an essential tool for first-year college students.” All of these activities taught her important lessons in leadership and community. Reid continues to be involved at college. When asked what her advice to other AHS students planning to go to college would be, she recommended that they get involved. “The more active you are on your campus, the better time you will have,” said Reid.

Whalen values the responsibilities he assumed. “Being placed in leadership positions throughout high school made me connect to people that I may never have come in contact with,” said Whalen. He was a part of student government (class treasurer) as well as the baseball team (captain). “There are so many characters you can learn from,” said Whalen. These are things that not only prepare one for college, but prepare one for life. “Some of my greatest memories are just the simplicity of an infield outfield drill on a beautiful spring day,” said Whalen.

Spencer, who was a reporter and editor for the Green Wave Gazette, feels that getting involved helped her to “work with a group, meet deadlines and have pride in the work that you put out.” Her advice to college bound students was “don’t limit yourself.” She encourages students to seize all opportunities that come their way. “When a professor says they have office hours, take advantage of them… take advantage of the free stuff, take advantage of the seemingly silly events (midnight breakfasts, game night, pep rally)… take as many weird, cool classes as possible!”

AHS is full of ways to prepare oneself for college. Going out and taking chances is greatly rewarding in the present and the future. “Most importantly, do what makes you inspired wholeheartedly,” said Spencer.