Her teachers say she’s a leader among her peers, but Catherine Patchell prefers to play supporting roles.

“She’s the one that’s always screaming and clapping and giving a high-five,” said her swim teammate Jessica Ciampi.

She’s also the one who’s painting the sets for school plays and tutoring younger students in her spare time.

Patchell, 18, of Standish, graduated from Bonny Eagle High School on Friday.

Her former teacher, Christine Hesler, said Patchell’s humble and supportive nature has been apparent since she was in fifth grade.

“She was extremely bright, but it wasn’t a show-off thing. She would help anyone around her,” Hesler said.

The captain of the varsity swim team at Bonny Eagle for two years, Patchell received the team’s sportsmanship award three times.

She was recognized as one of the top 10 finalists among athletes from all over the state for the Hood Good Sport Scholarship Award.

With a grade-point average of 4.08, Patchell was also one of the top 10 students in her graduating class.

Patchell plans to study computer science and interactive media next year at Northeastern University and hopes someday to work in computer animation.

She said she could also see herself teaching, which she’s enjoyed as a tutor and swim instructor.

Hesler said Patchell has already made a mark on at least one student.

Hesler’s daughter was terrified of the water before taking her first swim lesson at Saint Joseph’s College, where Patchell works.

“The only way she would go in was if Catherine was her instructor,” Hesler said.

Patchell’s patience and reassurance made all the difference for her daughter, Hesler said. “She’s swimming like a fish now.”

Ciampi said Patchell has had the same effect on her teammates.

“She’s always there to talk to you. She gives you confidence,” Ciampi said.

Hesler considers Patchell the model of a confident and conscientious young woman.

“I hope my daughters grow up to be like her,” she said.