Class of 2001 Looks Ahead

By JOSHUA SABATINI

The Martha's Vineyard Regional High School is about to send off the largest graduation class in its history, 158 students. As every class has its own distinct characteristics, the 2000-2001 student body formed its own spirit while dealing with tragedy and triumph.

"One thing about this class is the amount of bonding that has gone on over the 12 years. Four students have passed away in the span of 12 years which has forged a bond and a school spirit unlike any other," said Peg Regan, who is serving her second year as school president.

The spirit expresses itself in many ways. Mrs. Regan said she has witnessed firsthand the strength of the students' voice when working closely with administration and faculty on governance committees.

At class night, which will be held at the Performing Arts Center at 7 p.m. on Friday, more than half the student body will receive scholarship awards. For graduates and postgraduates, scholarship money will total more than half a million dollars.

Shauna Nute, director of the guidance department, said the percentages of students going off to a four-year college or a two-year college will be about the same as last year, along the lines of 68 per cent and five per cent. Two students will be attending Ivy League schools. Other students will attend vocational schools like University of Massachusetts or the Franklin Institute of Boston. Some half-dozen students have decided to attend art schools, while several others will go into nursing. The majority of students will attend state and private colleges in New England.

This year's class has three exchange students, from Japan, Germany and Chile. Ms. Nute said the graduating class has made decisions to travel further away from home than any other previous classes. One student will be heading to Canada. Others will be attending schools in New York, Washington, D.C., New Jersey, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, and as far away as Hawaii. At least two students have enlisted in the armed services, one in the Army and another in the Air Force.

"This class is a strong academic class who have applied to some of the top notch schools in the country. They are right on with the majority of other classes we've had except that they have started to branch away more," said Ms. Nute.

The decision of many students to attend colleges further away from home is credited in part to the school trips. Next year, the school will take a total of seven trips abroad. This year, the graduating class had the opportunity to travel to such places as England, Denmark and Argentina. The school band visited Chicago, while another group of students went to the nation's capital.

"To me, this is an all-American class, a little bit of everything. The wide range of colleges students will attend is representative of the wide range and mix of the student body," said Ms. Nute.

The students will be in good hands and will continue to feel the support from their Island community. "The school on this Island gives out more money than other schools. The community is extremely generous," said Ms. Nute.

Commencement exercises will take place on Sunday at 1:30 p.m. at the Tabernacle on the Camp Ground in Oak Bluffs.