Editor's Note: The Reformer solicited area high schools for graduating seniors to profile. This suggestion came from Twin Valley High School.
WHITINGHAM — The Twin Valley High School Class of 2017 is ready for the real world, senior Chad Bernard said.
His only advice to his classmates is to "go for it."
"I think we're the most successful class, at least that I've seen," he said. "We're ready for the real world and we're very academically strong."
Bernard is a prime example. He's traveled to Argentina, completed 290 hours of community service, is on the varsity soccer team, works at the Cask & Kiln Kitchen, and puts on school and community events.
Bernard describes his high school experience as "busy."
He volunteered as the basketball team manager and he's the president of the Wildlife Community Service Group, which puts on different events like a Halloween Game Night for younger kids and activities for the school.
Twin Valley requires students to complete 40 hours of community service before graduation. Bernard got his first 80 hours done his freshman year.
One of the events he enjoys organizing is the Senior Senior Prom. "We invite everyone over 65 to come and we throw a prom for them," he said.
In Argentina, Bernard refurbished a school building through the Experiment in International Learning, a World Learning program. He's also gone to Spain twice, once in his sophomore year and once in his senior year, through school. A lot of Twin Valley students have traveled, Bernard said. This year, students have been to Spain, France Ecuador and Costa Rica.
Bernard said Twin Valley has prepared him in more ways than one.
"I've taken the responsibility and initiative to explore all the programs we have to offer," he said. "In the past three years they've been trying to challenge students by offering more honors and more AP classes."
His favorite classes were anatomy and physiology. He's also particularly enjoyed his English teacher, Dan Mehegan. "He's one of the hardest teachers we've ever had," Bernard said. "You're basically taking a freshman level college class." Bernard's grateful for the challenge.
"By the time you're a senior you're able to write one of the best papers you'll ever write," he said. It's because of classes like these that Bernard feels confident in handling the academic challenges of college.
Socially, Bernard also feels prepared by going to such a small school.
"You get to really know everybody at a personal level and balance your personality with everybody. You're not going to get along with everyone in your class, but you have to try because you're going to have first period with them and third and fourth period. " Bernard said. "It kind of taught you to be an adult and grow up."
He'll be attending Colby Sawyer College in New London, N.H., in the fall for nursing.
"I like to help people," he said.
Bernard has known that he wanted to work in the medical field since he was two, but he didn't know specifically what he wanted to do until he shadowed his cousin, a registered nurse.
"I'm excited. [I'm] definitely ready to enter the real world and college is a good way to do that," Bernard said. "You're still in a controlled environment, but you have enough responsibility and free time to figure yourself out."
Colby Sawyer has a direct relationship with Dartmouth College in Hanover, N.H., so Bernard can take classes at Darmouth. He's happy to be going to a college with small class sizes as well.
Bernard is excited for the freedom and platforms he'll have to make change while in college. In the last election he was too young to vote. He's eager to be able to have a larger voice in the world and his community, and ready to do political outreach in a swing state.
Harmony Birch can be reached at 802-254-2311 ext. 153. Or you can follow her @birchharmony.