Teachers and hard work keys to success at Bacon Academy
By Kevin Hotary - Staff Writer
Colchester - posted Mon., Jun. 20, 2011
So what is the secret of success in high school? According to Bacon Academy valedictorian Melissa Zablonski, it all comes down to hard work.
“I’ve always just worked hard. You have to work hard. I put in 100 percent effort to the assignments I do, even if they’re just little homework assignments, just because I want to get the most out of what I’m doing,” she said. And so, even though it was not a particular goal of hers when she started at Bacon Academy four years ago, Zablonski finished as the top senior in the Class of 2011. In the fall, Zablonski will attend Eastern Connecticut State University, where she plans to study history, with the goal of working in secondary education.
To both Zablonski and salutatorian Michaela Belanger, the Class of 2011 is special because of its collective spirit.
“We can really band together. We get a lot done,” said Zablonski.
“We’re always enthusiastic about everything. We would usually step right up to the plate and do whatever is asked of us,” added Belanger. A dancer who spends many hours a day practicing her craft, Belanger is going to Quinnipiac University in the fall to study physical therapy.
Both Zablonski and Belanger also agree that the teachers at Bacon Academy were important reasons for their academic success.
“They’ve done so much for me,” said Zablonski of many of her coaches – she ran cross-country and both indoor and outdoor track – and teachers. She particularly enjoyed many of the off-topic discussions that may have seemed unimportant initially, “but you’d walk away thinking, ‘I really did learn a lot.’ It wasn’t just about grades, it was about what I got out of it. They taught me so much, and I’m going to miss being there with them and learning from them,” she said.
Belanger said that she, too, will miss the teachers who taught beyond the textbooks.
“They teach you things that you’re going to have to deal with in real life. So I feel more prepared for college, I feel more prepared for life in general because of them,” she said. These teachers, as well as friends and parents, “can help you more than any text book can,” said Belanger.
Saying that she really enjoyed her time at Bacon Academy, Gilbert Lamb essayist Julia Puscas offered some words of advice for incoming students, stressing a balance between school, extracurricular activities and time with friends.
“Put your talents into something that you’re passionate about,” said Puscas, who, in addition to playing on the tennis team, was president of the student council and secretary of the senior class. She has also taken part in more than 20 theater productions in the area, and will be attending the University of Dayton in Ohio, with a double major in theater and theology.
“Stick with whatever you’re doing, even if it seems challenging at the time, because you’ll be happy later once you’ve completed it,” she said.
And while grades are important, they are not everything, said Zablonski.
“Really just appreciate the experiences that you have here. So many people are so focused just on grades, I feel they let a lot of other things pass them by. I think you should strive to take advantage of everything you’re being offered,” she said.