EXETER—Graduating from high school often leaves students awash in a flood of emotions, from excitement and anticipation to nervousness and even fear. It is a new world beyond high school, but for Exeter-West Greenwich Valedictorian Nathan Stromberg and Salutatorian Ashley Peltier, their memories with teachers and classmates will always remain.
Peltier cited her time as a varsity member and captain of the school cheerleading squad as the most exciting experience at Exeter-West Greenwich Senior High, winning three championships along the way.
“I had a lot of fun with my team, and have some of the best memories I can think of cheerleading,” said Peltier. “Being united at football games, competing with my team was most enjoyable. As I got older, I enjoyed the people in my class. We became a core group and really close.”
Stromberg has held a similar experience with the track team, both outdoor and indoor at Exeter-West Greenwich as an integral part of the programs’ foundation and success.
“This past winter was our first year ever having an indoor track team,” said Stromberg. “Watching the running program grow from something almost non-existent to thriving with a lot of potential, and being a part of building this program, was a great experience.”
Stromberg, who will attend Worcester Polytechnic Institute to study biomedical engineering, also gathered honors for his commitment, becoming first team, all-class, all-division in cross country this past fall.
Although high school brought many successes and cherished moments, there were also challenges.
“Once I got into the last two years of high school, taking honors and AP classes, it was definitely overwhelming at times,” said Stromberg. “There is definitely a challenge to stay focused on the work to get it done, deciding not to give in to get a few more hours of sleep. That aspect was the most challenging.”
“This fall was particularly crazy because I was coaching cheerleading], cheering and taking AP classes,” said Peltier. “It is about time management, learning what you can handle and not overloading yourself.”
Both Peltier and Stromberg praised their teachers and the work they have done in education them and their classmates for the past four years, citing in particular History teacher Barbara Wilmot.
“Mrs. Wilmot helped to give me a greater appreciation for history, even though I am not going into that field,” said Stromberg. “It was my favorite class throughout high school, she knew how to teach and made learning history fun, which isn’t necessarily an easy thing to do.”
“She would also make cookies for us on occasion, so that was a big plus,” he added.
Peltier, who will attend Northeastern University and study communications or psychology, also praised the guidance of English teachers Helen King and Sharon Sutton.
“Freshman year, Mrs. King’s class was the hardest, and I have never been so glad [about taking a class] because it prepared me for writing and reading for the rest of high school,” said Peltier. “Mrs. Sutton has challenged me more in English than I ever had, and I really enjoyed her classes so much. Each of them take a personal interest and definitely help us out.”
Now, as both valedictorian and salutatorian prepare for life after high school, they reflected on what they would miss the most.
“I am going to a school with 17,000 people, so it will be a lot different than close-knit EWG, where you can walk down the halls and say hi to everyone,” said Peltier. “I will miss everyone being familiar with you and looking out for each other.”
“I have been watching all my friends, whom I have known my entire life, grow up and become fantastic individuals,” said Stromberg. “It will be a big adjustment leaving people behind.”
“Seeing my friends, laughing and learning with them, will definitely be something that I miss,” he added.