Tenacious and passionate are how Pete Steedman, director of Martha’s Vineyard Public Charter School, describes the seven students graduating this weekend.

“They showed incredible resilience and that’s something we’re so proud of them for,” Mr. Steedman said.

Most of the students will continue their studies after high school, heading to college to pursue a wide variety of fields, including sociology and veterinary technology.

The students met at Owen Park this week for a picnic to celebrate their pending graduation, which takes place Sunday, June 2 on the school grounds in West Tisbury, beginning at 1:30 p.m.

At Owen Park, they reflected on their time at the charter school, which focuses on providing students with a project-based education and hands-on learning opportunities. During high school, students participate in community service and mentorship programs, and work on longer term projects.

“Each one of them has been able to pursue a very specific passion,” Mr. Steedman said. “It’s really incredible what our students have been able to achieve.” Ella Blodgett will attend Massachusetts College of Art and Design in the fall to study glassblowing, a passion he discovered as part of his educational curriculum. As a student, he connected with Martha’s Vineyard Glassworks, located in West Tisbury, not far from the charter school.

“Sophomore year I decided, hey, I’ve been into glass my whole life, I might as well try actually making it,” He said. “I sat there and observed for a couple months because, obviously, it’s very dangerous. But once I got used to it, they let me work . . . they would assist me in whatever I was doing.”

Students gathered Tuesday at Owen Park for a pre-graduation lunch. — Ray Ewing

Kaitlyn Vanderhoop will attend Curry College and hopes to minor in photography.

“At the charter school, I started getting into taking pictures and learning how to use light,” Ms. Vanderhoop said. “I love doing it, so I stuck with it, and hopefully I can do that in college.”

Lucia Capece will attend University of Massachusetts Amherst where she will study veterinary technology, a passion she discovered at an early age.

“I grew up with animals,” she said. “When I was younger, I had a chicken and she broke her leg and my dad said ‘well, we’ll have to put her down,’ . . . I gave her a splint and everything . . . And

then she was fine and she survived.”

The students also talked about the difficulty of starting their high school careers during the depths of the Covid-19 pandemic.

“I didn’t have a freshman year. I was completely online . . . my learning definitely went down,” said Mr. Blodgett. “My mom was high risk, so I couldn’t go back until last minute. Once I was allowed to go back, everyone immediately helped me get back up to speed.”

Charter school director Pete Steedman. — Ray Ewing

The students said the pandemic continues to impact the way they interact with the world.

“It happened during a very developmental time in our lives,” said Grace Robinson. “I do think that it changed how I interact, how I socialize, how I learn.”

Vivian Peatie said that the pandemic changed how she uses technology.

“I feel like after Covid, everything was so technical. I dropped it all. I have a flip phone,” she said. “I feel like [constant use of technology] was normalized through Covid because that’s where you found your education . . . It made me and everyone rely on technology a lot more.”

Ms. Peatie took part in the charter school’s rigorous International Baccalaureate (IB) diploma program and participated in a mentorship with Gannon & Benjamin Marine Railway.

“I’m going to work on the Shenandoah for the last part of the season. I got connected with that through the mentorship with CAS,” Ms. Peatie said.

CAS stands for Creativity, Activity and Service, which is a core class in the International Baccalaureate (IB) diploma program. In the class, students complete a service project in the community.

Ms. Robinson also participated in the IB program, pairing it with her artistic interests.

“I always pushed off art because I had to focus on other, academic classes, but with IB I actually got to focus on art,” Ms. Robinson said. “It was just as important and science . . . I like to learn academically and artistically.”

Sebastian Bennett-Rock will attend the University of Massachusetts Amherst in the fall where he may minor in violin, an instrument he took up at the charter school thanks to their robust strings program.

“I played for 11 and a half years. I learned at the charter school,” he said.

“Chelsea Pennebaker, a real one,” he said of his teacher.

He added that the violins were available through the Chamber Music Society which made it financially viable for students to explore their interests in music.

“Lo and behold, it’s one of my biggest passions,” Mr. Bennett-Rock said.

Several emphasized the importance of the Island community, with some hoping to return to the Vineyard after college to work and settle down.

“I hope to work at Edgartown Library, have a career there,” Mr. Bennett-Rock said.

But no matter where they go, they will take what they learned at the charter school with them.

“I love the school. I love the community of people,” said Mr. Blodgett, “I’m definitely going to come back to say hi to everyone, because I have so many friends here.”