Somehow, in the small gaps afforded by a senior schedule that included six AP classes, two editorships and volunteer work at the animal shelter among other things, regional high school valedictorian Astoria Hall finds time to make whimsical, delightfully detailed pen and ink drawings each week for the masthead of the school newspaper.

In a drawing from a November edition of the High School View, a hot air balloon floats above a bare tree, a rope ladder dangling from the gondola. In another from mid-May, a girl rides atop a giant tortoise, holding onto the reins as they gallop toward the page’s edge.

The drawings, like the valedictorian, offer a glimpse into a rich and bright interior world.

Speaking with the Gazette on the eve of her last day of high school, Astoria’s quiet voice barely rose above the coffee shop music as she described the things she loves. Wuthering Heights captivated her as much as her computer science class. She’s as eager to master Spanish as she is to about playing Scarlatti on piano.

She is not one to seek the limelight, but her enthusiasm for learning, her love for her family and her love for art shine through her shyness. She is a member of the students for social and global change club, a photographer, the president of the art club, art editor for the newspaper and the editor of the high school literary magazine Seabreezes.

Astoria Hall will work at her family's bicycle rental shop before heading to Brown in the fall. — Jeanna Shepard

“I like a lot of different things,” she said with a small smile.

Next year, she will attend Brown University in Providence, R.I., and she said she chose the school partly for its open curriculum component. Passionate about both math and the humanities, she plans to double major in applied mathematics and anthropology.

She is a lifelong resident of West Tisbury and a devoted friend to her younger sister Olympia, who is in the seventh grade. She has spent every summer working at her family’s bike rental business in Oak Bluffs. She loves hiking at Cedar Tree Neck and going to the beach after school. She knew she wanted to go to college somewhere close to home.

“I didn’t want to take a plane back every time I had a vacation,” she said. “If there was a great college on Martha’s Vineyard I’d go there.”

At the same time though, she looks forward to exploring the world outside the Island. She spoke fondly of trips abroad, including a meaningful trip to England with her eighth grade class at the West Tisbury School. She said there is a lot to be learned from people who are different from her.

“I definitely feel like I’m very sheltered on the Island. I don’t know people from that many different backgrounds. So I would like to meet people who have lived in cities and other areas and have that perspective,” she said.

Her valedictorian status brings many trappings and rituals, including a speech at the Tabernacle during her class’s graduation ceremony on June 9. The top 20 students are an impressive group this year, and Astoria said leading the pack wasn’t something she had thought much about. When pressed, she talked about what it means for her family.

“It’s nice because my grandmother really likes stuff like this,” she said. “She has cancer right now, so this is really nice for her.”

As editor of Seabreezes, she spent countless hours considering the writing and art of her peers. This year’s magazine was recently sent to print, and Astoria was visibly happy with the result.

“We have poetry, short stories, essays, pictures of sculptures, pictures of crafts, photography, artwork, all types of stuff,” she said. “It was a lot of work. I don’t know. I love it.”

This summer, as she prepares for college, she will return to the job she has held every year since she was 11: Anderson’s Bike Rentals on the Oak Bluffs harbor. It’s a full-time job at the family business her grandfather started. She is in charge of reservations, answering the phones and moving bikes in and out.

Meanwhile, she said she is still working on her graduation speech, and she thinks it might have something to do with nostalgia. She hasn’t done much public speaking, and giving a speech in front of hundreds at the packed ceremony is not a task for which she feels particularly equipped.

“I don’t know if I’m the most qualified person to make a speech . . . Maybe they should do it based on who’s the funniest or something, you know?”

No doubt the combination of thoughtfulness, perceptiveness and joy evident in both her quiet voice and her quirky art will make it a speech worth listening to.