By DAN TOMASELLO
LYNNFIELD — Lynnfield High School has helped prepare students for college and beyond, three recent LHS graduates told the School Committee on May 26.
College students Carmine DiCesare, Andrew Drinkwater and Cassandra Keane discussed their respective college experiences with the school board and how they felt LHS prepared them for the next chapter in their lives.
The three college students also outlined a few recommendations for the high school to consider implementing to help students’ transition to college go smoother.
Carmine DiCesare graduated from LHS in 2012. He is currently an incoming senior at Bentley University, where he is majoring in finance and is minoring in accounting. He is going to be interning at Natixis Global Asset Management in Boston this summer.
“I am pretty excited about it,” said DiCesare.
DiCesare said he’s “very proud of graduating from Lynnfield High School.” He said the high school’s teachers’ work very hard to help students succeed.
“They were more than just teachers,” said DiCesare. “They were friends and they would always help us out whenever we needed it.”
DiCesare said the high school’s coursework helped prepare him for Bentley. He also said the guidance department was helpful during the college application process.
“They really pushed us to achieve and apply to the schools we wanted to apply for,” said DiCesare.
DiCesare said he learned great deal from the high school’s sports programs, particularly his coaches. He also said the new fields complex at LHS will have a positive impact on students.
“Sports keeps you organized and helps you stay focused things such as grades,” said DiCesare.
DiCesare outlined a couple of recommendations for high school officials to consider implementing. He said it would be beneficial if the high school offered more business classes such as a class focusing on finance and the stock market. He also said it would be beneficial to get more alumni involved at LHS to discuss their college experience with seniors.
As a whole, DiCesare said he was very happy with his experience at LHS.
“Lynnfield High School is a great school to grow up in and develop into becoming a young man,” said DiCesare.
Andrew Drinkwater graduated from LHS in 2013 and is a rising junior at Amherst College in Amherst. He said he learned a great deal about the real world from the classes he took at LHS, including a personal finance class with business teacher James Thoen.
“I think some of the exploratory classes offered at the high school are very helpful,” said Drinkwater. “I was talking with my dad and I told him some of the things I learned in those classes are very useful in my life today.”
Drinkwater also said high school teachers helped instill a strong “work ethic” into him.
When Drinkwater first arrived at Amherst College, he said he struggled making the transition from high school to college. However, he said the values he learned in town helped him make the adjustment.
“Whether students realize it or not, Lynnfield has helped foster a good sense of community,” said Drinkwater. “During those moments when I wasn’t standing on solid ground in the beginning, I fell back on the values I learned in high school from my friends and my teachers to help me push through.”
Drinkwater said it would be beneficial if the high school held a seminar for seniors at the end of the school year to help them better understand what to expect before entering college.
Cassandra Keane graduated from LHS in 2014 and will be entering her sophomore year at Salem State University next fall. She is majoring in management and said she is “hoping to become a hospital CEO” in the future.
Keane echoed DiCesare and Drinkwater’s sentiments that the high school’s rigorous workload prepared her for Salem State.
“I just want to thank everyone in Lynnfield because when I went to college, a lot of the kids weren’t as prepared as I was,” said Keane. “I had an English class and at the end of the class we had a 35 page paper due. A lot of the kids dropped out of the class.”
Keane also said the high school taught her how to act like a professional. She said teachers offered advice about dressing professionally and how to properly shake someone’s hand.
While Keane said she was satisfied with the high school’s courses, she said LHS would benefit from having a college prep economics class.
School Committee member Salvatore Cammarata said he found the students’ presentation about the high school’s positive climate to be informative.
In response to a question from School Committee member Jamie Hayman about how the high school prepares students for college, DiCesare said there are students at Bentley who did “very poorly” in college because their respective high schools did an inadequate job preparing them.
“They told me their courses were a joke,” said DiCesare. “I really think Lynnfield really prepared me for my coursework when I got to college.”
“I think the teachers prepare us very well,” said Drinkwater. “Lynnfield forces you to grow as a student.”
School Committee Chairwoman Susie Cleary personally thanked the three students for giving the presentation.
“We rarely hear feedback once students are out of high school,” said Cleary. “I appreciate you taking time from your summer vacation to talk to us about it.”