For Truman French, Being Valedictorian Reads: Hard Work
Sam Bungey

Sitting outside Up-Island Cronig’s earlier this week, Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School’s 2008 valedictorian Truman French appeared to wearing much of the earth he had shifted around a Chilmark home that day, during a 12-hour landscaping shift.

“I’m trying to get a couple years’ college paid for,” he explained. Along with the rest of his class, Truman finished his final classes less than a week ago.

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Vera Shorter Is An Artist of All Things Possible
Julia Rappaport

The day outside was cold. A real winter northeaster was blowing in and the gray clouds above promised snow. The door to Vera Shorter’s Vineyard Haven home, however, was open.

She had just indulged in what is quite possibly her only vice she said as she spread a stack of ginger snaps on a plate. She braved the cold so her home would not smell like the cigarettes she cannot seem to give up. She would hate for the smoke to offend the guests who stop in from time to time.

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Yoga Takes Sherry Sidoti to Full Stretch
Julia Rappaport

Tucked into the corner of the Woodland Business Center in Vineyard Haven, between the bakeries and offices in this off-the-beaten-path part of town, is an office door. On a recent Monday, just shy of 9 a.m., workers passed right by it in their beeline pursuit of morning coffee. Not one paused to look in.

Had they done so, an empty hallway is all they would have seen.

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Class Valedictorian Headed to Wheaton
Megan Dooley

It seems appropriate, somehow, that the first reward Bethany Pennington received upon hearing that she was the valedictorian of the Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School class of 2009 was extra homework.

“The principal called me into his office and said, ‘You’re the valedictorian. You have to make a speech at graduation and it’s due in three weeks,’” she said, laughing, in an interview at her father’s office yesterday.

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David McCullough: Gracefully Tapping the Keys of History
Mike Seccombe

David McCullough laughingly calls the pretty little eight-by-10-foot structure in his back yard his “world headquarters.” Naturally, he was keen to pass on the details of its architecture and history.

“This is where I’ve worked since 1972,” he said. “It was built by Alan Miller, an artist with carpentry. He built the Black Dog in Vineyard Haven. He built numerous buildings around the Island, all distinctive.”

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The Voice and Pen of Civil Rights
Katie Ruppel

As a little girl, Charlayne Hunter-Gault would sit on her grandmother’s knee while she read the news, picking out the comics, finding one in particular rather enchanting.

“I fell in love with Brenda Starr,” she said. “I thought, here’s the most exciting job for a woman — taking on the world as she reported for the newspaper. It never occurred to me that this was a white woman with red hair and blue eyes.”

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Rose Styron’s Vineyard Winter of Content
Sara Brown

Come May for the past two years, a pair of ducks have come to nest on Rose Styron’s lush lawn overlooking the outer Vineyard Haven harbor. “They eat a lot, at least the mother eats a lot, and the father, a gorgeous green-necked mallard, guards her. And when she’s fat enough, she goes to make a nest under the dock,” Mrs. Styron said, looking out at the water from her porch.

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At School and on the Mound, Valedictorian Proves He’s Tops
Ivy Ashe

Scholar.

Athlete.

Entrepreneur.

Volunteer.

Fisherman.

Chef.

Pianist.

Wait, that last one hasn’t happened yet.

But regional high school senior William Stewart has been thinking about teaching himself to play the piano for a while now, and this summer, before he packs his bags and heads off to Harvard in the fall, might be the perfect time to learn.

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