NORTH KINGSTOWN – One particular memory sticks out in Natalie Haskell’s mind.
When she was five years old, she was attending her brother’s graduation and saw all the speakers going on stage.
“I remember asking my mom what it would take to be up there when I graduated myself,” Haskell recounted.
Haskell, who was named this year’s North Kingstown High School salutatorian, is readying to graduate from North Kingstown High School this weekend and take the stage herself.
“And now, after all of the hours and hard work I put into my education, I’ll finally get to stand on that stage as the salutatorian!” she said over email.
And though she said achieving the honor of salutatorian was fulfilling, she acknowledged if felt equally unreal, as does the thought of graduating and finishing her time at North Kingstown High School.
“It just feels so surreal. Graduation is this huge moment that I’ve imagined so many times, and it’s hard to believe that it’s actually happening,” she said. “I loved my experience at North Kingstown High School.”
Now that she is moving onto the next step of her educational career, where she will be attending the University of Vermont to study biochemistry on a pre-veterinary track, she said that, looking back on her high school experience, it was the “little things that made the greatest impact.”
Some her favorite memories include pulling all-nighters with classmates to study for an important test or work on a daunting school project.
“No matter how late, or early, it was, I could always count on at least one friend to be awake,” she said. “We would text each other motivational encouragements, but also urge each other to get some rest, too.”
She also recounted one project in particular that stood out to her as one of her favorites, which was assigned in her British literature class.
“We were told to interpret a poem in a creative way and teach it to the class. I painted a mural,” she said.
But what she really loved was being able to see her classmate’s work, which included a painting of a phoenix on an old jacket and a cake in the shape of an army helmet.
“I just think it’s the most interesting thing to see people’s minds work outside the box,” she said.
As for her personal interests and hobbies, Haskell went on to say that she most enjoyed singing and reading, going so far as to dedicate her senior project to hosting a school-wide book swap.
“I could spend hours upon end just getting lost in a good story, and my bookshelf is constantly overflowing with books,” she said. “As for music, I participate in North Kingstown High School’s Concert Choir and annual spring musicals.”
She also just concluded her sixth year as a member of the Rhode Island Children’s Chorus, an extracurricular choir she sings in.
And while she is excited about everything that’s going to come her way, Haskell said she would never forget her time at North Kingstown High School.
“These past few years, I have not only received a wonderful education, but I have cultivated unforgettable friendships as well,” she said. “I am so grateful for the time I spent here, and I know in the future I will look back on these years with nothing but fondness.”