Peoples Academy graduation: Exits the high school

The Peoples Academy Class of 2018 exits the high school one last time as students make their way toward the bandshell to turn their tassels and receive diplomas.


Sophia Mason Anderson, Kayla Rae Atwood, Zachary M. Audet, Palmer Alcide Boudreau, Mara Grace Cosgrove, Mara “Nikki” Nicole Crouse, Ethan Michael Darrow, Hannah D’Muhala, Alden Bishop Ducharme, Tyler Dunham-Metoyer, Madeline Grace Dwyer, Brienne Christine Godin, Alexander Colby Grant, Sierra Graves, Janice Evelyn Griggs, Alexander Grimes, Faye C. Hannigan, Ashley Marie Hill, Matthew Francis Hill, Olivia Pearl Horton, Carmen Marie Isabell, Kyle P. Johnson, Colton M. Jones, Annie Sarah MacKenzie Keith, Matthew Joseph Kempe, Michael Knight, Jesse Krueger, Rierden A. Kuney, Jordan E. Laine, Chaice Alexander Lopez, Garrett B. Manning, Paul A. Marcoux, Nathaniel A. Mason, Mikell R. McKenzie, Cole M. Melanson, Hillary E. Mitchell, Morgan Rae Montminy, Riley Jacob Nicholls, Jonathan Pearce, Kayla Jean Phelps, Mallory Marie , Juliana Reed, Nicole Catherine Rivera, Lauren Ross, Alivia Schue, Alyssa Marie Slayton, Brandi Meraya Small, Taylor Marie Smith, Thomas J. Snipp, Beronica Lynn Tatro-Germain, Mariah Taylor, Payton Scott Verzilli, Matthew Warner, Monica E. Washer, Caisa Weglarz, Karmen George Allen Wells, Declan J. Wescom, Joseph L. Yando, Tanner Lucien Yordan, Rachael M. Zmich.

Senior Statements

Sophia Mason Anderson

  • Accomplishments: National Honor Society secretary, band, cross-country, track, student council.
  • Postgraduate plans: Architectural studies at Mount Holyoke College, competing for the cross-country and track & field teams.
  • Statement: I wish the best of luck to my fellow classmates and hope they find excitement, success and happiness in their futures.

Zachary M. Audet

  • Accomplishments: Racing and fulltime work through high school while maintaining a great GPA; Hyde Park town fire department for past two years.
  • Postgraduate plans: Running and operating my family’s business.
  • Statement: I have had three years of high school work experience and I hope it will prepare me for my future in our community. I also hope to continue serving our community by staying active on the Hyde Park Town Fire Department.

Mara Grace Cosgrove

  • Accomplishments: Champlain Young Writers Conference, Governor’s Institutes of Vermont.
  • Postgraduate plans: Community College of Vermont.

Mara “Nikki” Nicole Crouse

  • Accomplishments: Cross-country captain, alpine ski team captain, track captain, drama captain, student council, Morrisville Climate Action Committee, National Honor Society, Community Service Club, Students Taking Action, multiple Excellence in Acting awards from regional and state one-act festivals, Archibald Day Scholar, accepted into honors programs at UVM and Syracuse, hostess at Sushi Yoshi, camp counselor.
  • Postgraduate plans: Attend Smith College for neuroscience.
  • Statement: Attending Peoples Academy has allowed me so many unique opportunities and fostered some of my greatest passions. I feel so lucky to have attended a school with such caring and involved staff and students. Thank you to everyone who has helped me along the way. I am so grateful and excited for what my future holds!

Ethan Michael Darrow

  • Accomplishments: Varsity soccer, varsity golf. I completed my first year of college at JSC while still being a “senior,” and received 15 credits. Also, I set up an internship with the Vermont State Police.
  • Postgraduate plans: Continue three more years at NVU-Johnson; become a Vermont State game warden.
  • Statement: Peoples Academy set me up for my future and allowed me to do great things, like go to college my senior year through the early college program. Through this experience I was able to coordinate a career for after college, and a part-time career through college with the State Police.

Alden Bishop Ducharme

  • Accomplishments: Community service club, Student Voice, student council, yearbook committee, Peoples Academy Stage Company, Queer & Allied at Peoples, Unbound teacher, Governor’s Institute of Vermont, National Honor Society.
  • Postgraduate plans: Undergraduate program at the University of Vermont.
  • Statement: I’d like to thank all the amazing people at PA, my parents, and everyone else who helped make my experience at PA such an incredible one. I will miss it greatly. I look forward to studying to be a middle-school teacher at the University of Vermont this coming fall.

Madeline Grace Dwyer

  • Accomplishments: Dancer with Boston Ballet School pre-professional program, full merit scholarship; summer trainings with School of American Ballet, American Ballet Theatre and Kolton Ballet Academy; scholarship winner at dance competitions WCDE, NYCDA, Tremaine, and Monsters of Hip-Hop; featured dancer at Stowe Dance Academy; co-salutatorian; Science Olympiad gold medalist; track & field (6th place in the 800 for D3, 2017); Nordic ski team; student council; National Honor Society; Peoples Academy Stage Company (regional festival winners, two years); had a brochure published at the Boston Children’s Museum (extracurricular guide for parents of children with Down syndrome).
  • Postgraduate plans: Attend Fordham University at Lincoln Center.
  • Statement: My high school experience has provided me with the resilience and grit I need now entering adulthood.

Janice Evelyn Griggs

  • Accomplishments: Upward Bound member for three years, cross-country for one year, theater for two years.
  • Postgraduate plans: Attend NVU-Johnson in the fall.
  • Statement: I am extremely grateful for all of the teachers and friends I’ve had throughout my four years that helped me to where I am today! Thank you!

Alexander Grimes

  • Accomplishments: Soccer, track & field, National Honor Society.
  • Postgraduate plans: Major in mechanical engineering at Clarkson University in Potsdam, N.Y.
  • Statement: I had a great time in high school. I’ve made a lot of memories and awesome friends. I hope to achieve a lot in my future and I’m excited for what the world has in store for me.

Carmen Marie Isabell

  • Accomplishments: National Honor Society, Stowe Dance Academy, student leadership, Governor’s Institute of Vermont, Science Olympiad, yearbook.
  • Postgraduate plans: St. Michael’s College, environmental studies.
  • Statement: I was relatively new to PA for high school, and I am so happy that I ended up here. I have felt welcomed and included, and I know that I have created very important connections here., I hope that my graduating class will take all their values that allowed me to feel at home, and bring them out into their future.

Colton M. Jones

  • Accomplishments: Varsity soccer, varsity basketball, varsity track & field.
  • Postgraduate plans: Heading into the next chapter at Northern Vermont University.
  • Statement: It’s been a pleasure sharing my academic experience with this fine group of young adults, and I will miss all my friends that I have had through all my years at Peoples Academy.

Annie Sarah MacKenzie Keith

  • Accomplishments: Drama (Peoples Academy Stage Company), soccer, band, choir, Poetry Out Loud, National Honor Society, student council, yearbook.
  • Postgraduate plans: Endicott College — event management.
  • Statement: Leaving this group of people will be one of the hardest things — they are more than my friends, they are my family. I’m excited for this next step in life. I hope all of us embark on amazing journeys, yet never lose the connections we have with each other.

Matthew Joseph Kempe

  • Accomplishments: National Honor Society, Eagle Scout, Boys State.
  • Postgraduate plans: Study finance at the University of Vermont.
  • Statement: Going to PA has been a really good experience. I believe we have a very unique and accepting culture here. We are able to do things other schools can’t, like whole-school trips to Elmore and Stowe.

Rierden A. Kuney

  • Accomplishments: National Technical Honor Society; Peoples Academy band, four years; PVC club, four years; active member of Boy Scout Troop 816.
  • Postgraduate plans: Attend Norwich University.

Hillary E. Mitchell

  • Accomplishments: Valedictorian of the VAST (Vermont Academy of Science & Technology) Class of 2018 at Vermont Technical College, majoring in dairy farm management; team captain of the Vermont State Dairy Quizbowl that placed first in over 25 years at the Eastern States Expo, and placed fourth at the North American International Livestock Expo; Dairy 4-H; competing on the Vermont dairy judging team in 2015.
  • Postgraduate plans: VAST valedictorian and salutatorian receive free room and tuition, so I plan to complete my degree in dairy, and if possible with the free tuition, complete a degree in diesel power technology.
  • Statement: VAST was a great opportunity to get me ahead and open new doors. I was able to complete 37 college credits my senior year.

Morgan Rae Montminy

  • Accomplishments: President of National Honor Society, Puerto Rico benefit dinner, student council, yearbook committee.
  • Postgraduate plans: St. Lawrence University, sociology.
  • Statement: My experience at Peoples Academy has been unique. I have met individuals that have changed me forever. The teachers here have helped guide and change me as into a new person. My hope is for everyone to have their own experiences and take advantage of different opportunities.

Riley Jacob Nicholls

  • Accomplishments: Soccer, Nordic skiing, track.
  • Postgraduate plans: Attend Radford University in the fall for computer science.
  • Statement: Thanks to all my teachers, parents, friends and everyone who got me through these four years. Congratulations to the rest of the Class of 2018; I know the next chapter of our lives will be awesome!

Kayla Jean Phelps

  • Accomplishments: Varsity basketball.
  • Postgraduate plans: University of the Pacific in California, studying dental hygiene.
  • Statement: “Graduation is not the end, it’s the beginning.” Good luck to all my classmates; follow you dreams and believe you can do anything.

Mallory Marie Pugh

  • Accomplishments: Second Chance and Morrisville Centennial Library volunteer; first and only recipient of Agency of Education Presidential Academic Standout Award from Gov. Phil Scott and Rebecca Holcombe; Governor’s Institute of the Arts; National Technical Honor Society; fulltime artist; member of Johnson Church of the Nazarene.
  • Postgraduate plans: Attend Maine College of Art, major in animation and illustration, minor in public engagement.
  • Statement: I am going to go to Maine College of Art to study animation and illustration. I am doing this because my life’s goal is to create characters and stories for minority children or those with disabilities to look up to and say, “they are just like me, I can do that too!” I won’t say that I deserve your scholarship but I will use it to create change for both my future and the future our children will inherit.

Juliana Reed

  • Accomplishments: Varsity soccer captain, varsity basketball captain, varsity softball; early college program at Johnson State College.
  • Postgraduate plans: Enrolled at Northern Vermont University/Johnson State College with dual majors in art and education. I want to become an art teacher and help kids find ways to express themselves through art. Letting children and teens express themselves through art could positively affect the way that they grow up and could change the way they see the world.

Nicole Catherine Rivera

  • Accomplishments: National Honor Society, Communicating School Redesign group, Science Olympiad, varsity track & field, alpine ski racing, theater, student council, mentoring.
  • Postgraduate plans: Study biology at the University of Georgia.
  • Statement: High school has allowed me to grow and discover my passions, and I can’t thank my teachers and peers enough for the endless support that has gotten me to where I am today. My peers and I all have different strengths that we have gathered over these past four years, and with these I know we will benefit this world. This looks like an end, but we are just getting started!

Alivia Schue

  • Accomplishments: Student council, volunteered at The Manor.
  • Postgraduate plans: Moving to California to get my B.A. in criminal justice.
  • Statement: The past four years of high school will be something I will not forget. I made so many amazing friends and built some pretty great relationships with my teachers. I am so thankful for the outstanding experiences that this school has given me. I am ready for bigger things.

Brandi Meraya Small

  • Accomplishments: National Honor Society, National Hispanic Scholar, salutatorian, varsity basketball.
  • Postgraduate plans: Attend Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach, Fla.
  • Statement: I plan to attend my college in the fall and major in aerospace engineering with a focus in astronautics. After college graduation, I hope to work for NASA or SpaceX as an aerospace engineer. I’m looking forward to what the future holds.

Taylor Marie Smith

  • Accomplishments: First year electrical apprenticeship, National Technical Honor Society, Future Business Leaders of America.
  • Postgraduate plans: Working on my professional portfolio and taking classes at Community College of Vermont.
  • Statement: My junior year I was in electrical technology at GMTCC. I was one of five students, and the only girl. This year I was in business administration taking college classes, and most recently working four days a week at County Plumbing & Heating. I hope I have made my grandparents and Uncle Paul proud and happy. Most of all, thank you to my mom.

Thomas J. Snipp

  • Accomplishments: Three years of varsity track, student council, National Honor Society assistant; Governor’s Institute of Vermont.
  • Postgraduate plans: Michigan State University – Broad College of Business.
  • Statement: High school at PA was great, and it flew by. I had a great time with friends and I’m looking forward to the future.

Rachael M. Zmich

  • Accomplishments: President of Peoples Academy Stage Company (2018) and member, Nordic ski team, track & field, student council; four years. Morrisville Climate Action Club, Student Voice, community service club; three years. National Honor Society, Girls State (senator), Governor’s Institute of Vermont (math, theater), holiday project with Lamoille Family Center, teacher’s aide, Global Leadership Adventures – DR service project. Green & Gold scholarship, Williams Book award, excellence in studio art award, driver’s ed achievement award, valedictorian.
  • Postgraduate plans: Study environmental engineering at Worcester Polytechnic Institute.
  • Statement: I’m really proud of everyone in my grade and can’t wait to see what they do in the future! Thanks to the Morristown school district for a great 13 years, I’m so grateful for everything you all have done for me and others around me.
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