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Casco Bay High School
196 Allen Ave., Portland |

Graduation day: June 6, 2013
at Merrill Auditorium

Graduation information provided by the high school
    National Honor Society Students

    Samuel Astrachan
    Sammy has a love for the outdoors and nature so it is not surprising that his passion lies with environmental issues and his dream is to major in Environmental Studies and pursue a degree in Environmental Law. During his high school career Sammy has engaged in numerous environmental activities and community service events, but a few highlights include: working thirty hours a week at one of the finest restaurants in Portland, volunteering for the Obama campaign and Equality Maine (supporting gender equality in the state of Maine), being a founding member of our first sports team (Ultimate Frisbee) & embracing his passion for surfing and the sea. These highlights exemplify the diversity of interests and dynamism that Sammy possesses and that he will surely take with him as he attends The University of California at Santa Cruz this fall.

    Sydney Kucine
    Sydney is a consummate musician, performer and person. She personifies what we hope all professional performers to be: amazing, humble, hardworking and compassionate. Sydney personifies all these qualities and much more. During her four years at Casco Bay High School Sydney's most impressive work has been in such diverse experiences including: winning the the Classical National Association of Teachers of Singing competition five years in a row (in addition to several other awards and scholarships), being on the honor roll every trimester, holding a state track record for the 400 meter dash, participating in numerous musical theater productions and operas, coaching middle school basketball being a member of the National Honor Society, singing the national anthem in numerous public venues, participating in numerous district and all-state music festivals, being a camp counselor, singing in Musica de Filia, interning at the Portland Conservatory of Music, participating in the acclaimed Boston University Tanglewood Institute summer music program, being chosen as a prestigious Karger's music scholar and participating in the junior class Habitat for Humanity program in West Virginia. What is most striking about Sydney is her incredible work ethic, her compassion, her insatiable hunger for excellence and her professionalism. Suffice it to say, Sydney thinks, works and acts like a professional. She does this with a spirit and compassion that are rare at any age. Moreover, in a crowning achievement for any high school student performer, Sydney recently had the distinct honor of participating in the Metropolitan Opera Guild’s High School Opera Singers Intensive program and having a master class with renowned MET Opera soprano Jane Marsh. Needless to say, Sydney's star shines brightly not only in amazing talent, but also merit and character. Sydney will be attending the San Francisco Conservatory of Music in the Fall.

    Eliza Lambert
    Eliza is a skilled visual artist, piano player, singer and actress. She's especially gifted with language and writing. As a sophomore Eliza wrote a grant promoting the education of girls in sub-Saharan Africa. As a junior, she wowed a panel of local experts with her research presentation about the necessity of a state-wide “take back” program to combat pharmaceutical waste. After the summer of her junior year, she earned entrance and scholarships for two coveted summer programs, Maine Seeds of Peace and EF Global Citizenship, getting to learn and grow in Otisfield, ME and Berlin, Germany. She has achieved with honors (3.75 or 4) in every subject and never had a grade lower than a 3.5. As a junior, she took on the most demanding course load possible and managed honors in every class, every trimester. She also scored an “A” in two college courses. By the end of her junior year, Eliza was inducted into the National Honor Society and received our award for the class's outstanding scholar (the Smith Book Award). Eliza excels in analysis – whether the content is physics or literature, but it's her artistic capabilities and imagination which are even more astounding. Eliza will be attending New York University in the fall.

    Summer Leppanen
    “Wow. What a writer.” This is how many people have reacted upon reading Summer's work. Summer has a gift for writing witty dialogue. Summer's gift for the written word is just one of many strengths she brings to the table. Summer is the quintessential can-do, will-do and does-all kind of person – truly. If you look at her resume, you might think you were looking at a college student's resume. During her time at Casco Bay High School some of Summer's most impressive work has been in such diverse experiences including: interning at the Portland Press Herald, taking a pre-Calculus class at the University of Southern Maine, being a barista at Arabica Coffee, interning at the Portland Museum of Art, tutoring ELL students in the after-school program, teaching a workshop on conducting a tea ceremony, being an active member of the Portland Young Writers Council, acting and tech. crew for every One Act play, spring play and winter musical production, participating in Model U.N. every year, receiving numerous awards including Outstanding Achievement in Math and multiple Habits of Work Student of the Week, being inducted into National Honor Society and participating in the junior class Habitat for Humanity program in West Virginia. What is most impressive about Summer is her amazing work ethic, her keen wit, her compassion and her organizational skills. Consistently one of our top students in every aspect of the term, Summer is exceptionally adept at balancing a multitude of academic, extra-curricular and job-related responsibilities with grace, professionalism and creative flair. Most importantly, as our inaugural Klingenstein Pritchard Scholarship recipient, Summer clearly personifies the scholarship's primary criterion including: integrity, accountability, compassion, service and resilience. Summer will be attending UVM in the Fall.

    Antonio Macomber
    Antonio is the current “Man of Music” at Casco Bay High School. At Casco Bay, when we think music, we think “Antonio”. Antonio has an abundance of musical talent and a rare ability to keep a band together. Moreover, he is a musical “go-to” guy that you can count on to make music happen no matter the venue. During his time at Casco Bay High School Antonio's most impressive work has been in such diverse experiences including: being a Math Teacher Aide, being the student leader of the musical theater pit band for the past four years, excelling academically in almost every subject he has undertaken, producing and performing in a local eclectic music concert, composing some very compelling songs and creative writing pieces, being a member of the National Honor Society, producing and performing his own music, being one of our “Mathletes” and participating in the junior class Habitat for Humanity house construction program in West Virginia. His easy going spirit (with sprits of unshakeable determination), composed enthusiasm and his adept math mind set him apart from most of his peers. What is perhaps most remarkable about Antonio is his exceptional balance of the artist and academic within him. One minute he is leading the musical theater pit band and the next minute he is tutoring students in math. Antonio is a textbook case of how musical talent and exceptional math skills coincide. Moreover, Antonio has a dignified, yet steadfast spirit that helps solve problems and get things done. He is the kind of musician you want to have around when you are trying to get a gigantic musical up and running. He can also help the actors with their calculus homework so they can make rehearsals instead of having to meet with teachers after school. This is Antonio – musician and mathematician with a big dash of good deeds. Antonio will be attending Berklee College of Music in the Fall.

    Sophie McGovern
    Sophie is the kind of person that let's her intellectual, adventurous and artistic curiosity rule her world; and she is all the wiser for it. Sophie does it all and with grace and humility. During her time at Casco Bay High School some Sophie's most impressive work has been in such diverse experiences including: interning with Nomad Pictures movie company, being a part of a National award-winning Odyssey of the Mind team, performing in numerous plays and musicals at Casco Bay High and with Reindeer Productions, being a member of the National Honor Society, researching and presenting a public policy paper to an expert panel on incentives for making homes more “green”, participating in swim team, challenging herself in the Cow Island/Rippleffect Sea Kayaking Environmental Leadership Program, being a fifth grader's Big Sister, promoting and teaching an improv acting workshop at a local venue and participating in the junior class Habitat for Humanity program in West Virginia. Needless to say, Sophie has many interests and passions that set her apart from most of her peers. What is most notable about Sophie is her amazing work ethic, her creativity, her compassion and her uncanny ability to balance a multitude of activities and responsibilities. Sophie is exceptionally adept at setting a goal and then surpassing all expectations. Sophie is also a gifted and passionate writer. It is obvious that she not only likes to write about life, she likes to explore life – give seemingly every aspect of life a thorough test-drive. This is the insatiable passion that writers are made of. Sophie will be attending Emerson College in the Fall.

    Samuel Pierce
    Described by his principal, Derek Pierce, in his letter of recommendation as “the of the hardest-working, sweet, genuine and self-less teenagers – humans – I have encountered in my twenty-plus years of education. An exceptional student and an even more stellar human, Sam earns my highest recommendation.” As a freshmen, Sam helped craft a sea worthy ten-foot rowboat and as a sophomore, he assisted in the creation of solar panels that powered a school assembly. Last year, Sam interned with a mechanical engineer and defended his research about how to reprocess nuclear waste to a panel of experts. Sam Pierce is one of our very top students in an especially strong cohort. He was a no-brainer for selection to the National Honor Society as a junior, and he's on track to graduating Magna Cum Laude. Sam's clear intelligence – especially in math and science – are bolstered by his impeccable diligence. No one will outwork Sam Pierce. Sam is one of few students in the history of our school to ever earn straight “4's” for a “Habits of Work” grade in his academic classes. This year, Sam continues to push himself with a course load that includes AP Environmental Science, Calculus and an additional college math course. Sam has been actively involved in Model UN and is a founding member of our school's ultimate frisbee team. Perhaps more telling, Sam is an avid gardener and an exemplary teacher aide. Sam is excited to seek an advanced degree, perhaps even a PhD, in mechanical engineering. Sam will be attending The University of Maine in the fall.

    Ben Smith
    Ben Smith is the teenager that most parents wish they had – not just bright, hard-working and caring – but also deeply dependable and steady. Ben's remarkable accomplishments – National Honor Society, the youngest shift leader ever at his McDonald's and one of three “distinguished delegates” at the state Model UN conference are among few of his accomplishments. As a sophomore, Ben wrote and presented a grant proposal to end hunger in Zimbabwe through improvements in their agricultural infrastructure. As a junior, Ben interned with an accountant, completed an oral history of a destitute West Virginian and shared his advocacy for liquid thorium reactors to a panel of local experts. On the latter project Ben's research and presentation won him the highest praise (and grade) possible. He's earned one of the rare seats on our high honor roll the last four trimesters. Ben's achieved “with honors” in every subject and has won year-end awards in physics, French and (twice) history. As a junior, Ben scored a “4” on the AP US History exam and earned an “A” in two college courses this year he's tackling the most ambitious course load possible at Casco Bay, including three AP courses and a Western Civilizations course at the local university. Ben takes his studies very seriously, and can get frustrated with those who don't, but he also is committed to service. Last winter, Ben helped some of our African immigrants learn to ski and skate. This fall, Ben is making time in his teeming schedule to mentor a group of academically needy freshmen. Be is also co-captain of our ultimate frisbee team this spring. Ben will be attending The University of Maine in the fall.

    Nadia Umwali
    Nadia moved to the United States only four years ago speaking little to no English and transferred to Casco Bay High School at the beginning of her junior year. Nadia impresses all with her maturity and character. She has an excellent work ethic inside and outside of school Nadia was born one year after the Rwandan genocide; one million people – and many of her extended family – were murdered during a four month period. Her family emerged from the chaos resilient. Her father became the mayor of a mid-sized city. Nadia was soon at the very top of her class. (In fact, the ranking of Rwandan students began in first grade!) Nadia's academic success in elementary school earned her a coveted spot in a catholic public/private boarding school as a seventh grader. Every school day for two years began at 5am and ended at 10pm with a torrent of expectations, classes and rules in between. Last summer Nadia spent the better half of the summer in Appalachia learning about coal mining. She is part of our Model UN team, an active peer tutor, a young writer and leader for The Telling Room, a local non-profit writers group, and an integral part of the CBHS community. Nadia is also an exceptional dancer and performs with Abeza b'inganzo a Portland based Rwandese dance troop. During her senior year Nadia was inducted into the National Honor Society and received the Maine Principal Association Award. Nadia will be attending Husson University in the fall.

    Sophia Hurlbert
    Sophie has an innate sense of others. She is funny, driven, multi-talented and extremely passionate about her desire to become a doctor. Sophie is subtly shy, but incredibly rich in her knowledge and her passion for life. Throughout her high school career Sophie has taken on much more than the average high school student. She has exceeded in AP US History and has taken Anatomy & Physiology at The University of Southern Maine. Sophie was inducted into the National Honors Society as a junior and senior. An avid member of the CBHS community and the greater Portland community, Sophie has graced her inner and outer circles with her presence. Sophie is an artist, athlete and scholar. She is a member of the Portland High School Tennis team and an impressive ultimate frisbee player. Sophie will be attending Barnard College in the fall where she will pursue her passion to become a doctor.

    Benji Astrachan
    “Benji” is the epitome of a “go-getter.” Benji makes it happen. During his time here at Casco Bay High School (and one year studying abroad in AFS) Ben's most impressive work has been in such diverse experiences including: winning an award for his grant proposal for sanitation improvement in Papua New Guinea, studying in France at Lycee Jean Bodin for one year, playing three sports (tennis, soccer & nordic skiing), being a veteran employee at Otto Pizza, leading a workshop in the importance World Language instruction in public schools, being a Big Brother volunteer for an elementary student, consistently having one of our top GPA's (even while studying abroad), being on every Habits of Work Honor roll, having an insatiable appetite for French literature, being a member of the National Honor Society and being on either the Academic Honor Roll or High Honor roll every trimester. Ben is clearly an exceptional young man and personifies the personal, entrepreneurial and academic spirit we celebrate at Casco Bay. What is most remarkable about Benji is his incredible work ethic, his academic curiosity, his compassion and his relentless pursuit of his goals. When “Benji” sets a goal, he not only attains it, he exceeds all expectations. Early in his freshman year, Benji quickly made his goal-oriented mindfulness and resolve quite evident when he began enquiring about the steps to studying abroad. Within a short time, Benji had a solid plan for participating in an AFS program in France. Needless to say, Benji made it happen. He made it happen while balancing a myriad of activities, volunteer work, a part-time job and always prioritizing his academic pursuits and Habits of Work. Benji is well liked and respected among his peers and teachers. Benji is a very motivated, compassionate and academically gifted student. One moment he might impress you with his knowledge and the next moment he will have you laughing. It is this wonderful balance of humor, resolve, habits of work and academic curiosity that will serve Benji very well in his future endeavors. Benji will be attending McGill University in the Fall.

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