Once again, We-Ha.com and West Hartford Magazine (WHM) salute the graduating class of 2018 with the annual Terrific Teen feature.
This annual celebration of our “terrific teens” puts the spotlight on a handful of teens who have worked very hard to make it to that graduation stage. Finding just two students from each high school each year is a challenge we love, and we do mean it’s a challenge since the options are seemingly endless. Some are kids we’ve watched mature from childhood, and some were just recently brought to our attention. We wish we could spotlight more great and deserving kids, but we only have so much room in our pages.
This year, we wanted our teens to shine in a new way. For the interview process we built a questionnaire for the young adults to fill out in their own time and place, and we’re so pleased with their candor! With the exception of some editing for space constraints, most of what you’ll read here are their own words.
Our teen photo days have brought us from studios, to parks, to shopping centers. And this year we visited West Hartford’s public golf course, Rockledge Golf Club, for some fun photo opportunities. We hope you enjoy “meeting them” as much as we did. We’ll feature one student per week.
Each year, with input from our editorial board, the “Terrific Teens” section puts the spotlight on one boy and one girl from each of the public and private high schools in West Hartford. The only requirement to become a featured teen is that the student live in town.
This week, we are proud to feature Kathryn Shea, Northwest Catholic High School.
Kathryn Shea is happy that running will always be part of her life and even on the hot day of our photo session with her, she had already been on a jog.
WHM: If you could tell your freshman year self just one thing about high school, what would it be?
KATHRYN: If I could tell my freshman year self one thing about high school it would be that life does not go as planned. Ever since I was little and would make my mom her “to do” lists every weekend, I have been a very avid planner. Yes, being a planner is good at the right times in life, but one of the hardest things to come to terms with is that every aspect of life cannot be planned out. I have definitely had my ups and downs throughout high school that I would have never expected to happen to me. When I reflect back on my high school career, I am not just grateful for all of the ups, I am also equally grateful for the downs. When I tell people that I am grateful for the lows in my life they usually get confused because they think what good can come from low points that would ever make anyone grateful for those hard times. Well to me the answer is that a lot of good things come from low points.
WHM: Who inspires you and why? Think of a special teacher, parent, sibling, or other friend and share a story of what makes this relationship special.
KATHRYN: My high school cross country and track coach is very inspiring to me. He shows me what it is like to be a good, organized leader. Coach Pat pushes me the right amount in my sport without ever allowing me to be in a position where I would crumble under the pressure. Ever since I told him I wanted to run in college he has done everything in his power to help me accomplish that goal. Without him I would not have fulfilled my dream of running Division 1 at an amazing college.
WHM: What are some of your hobbies and interests? This can be sports, books, art. Give some examples of your favorite things.
KATHRYN: I love to hang out with my friends, get ice cream, hike, travel, and go on runs. Running helps clear my mind and allows for me to have nice alone time with myself and my thoughts.
WHM: It’s your first summer after high school … Tell us what you are looking forward to most about the coming year.
KATHRYN: I’ve always wondered what my summer going into college would feel like. Would I be nervous? Would I be excited? Would I be scared? Now that the time is finally here I can surely say that I am definitely feeling all three of those emotions. College is a huge transition in a person’s lifetime. This is when people my age start getting a taste of what full independence from our families feels like. I am excited to continue to grow into my own self and develop myself through different life challenges. College will for sure be a challenge, but it is a challenge that I know will only make me stronger and more independent. I am excited to have more freedom and to see how I function with that freedom. As long as one is open to self-growth and self-reflection, college will help one realize so much more about oneself. I am looking forward to getting to know myself better through these realizations about myself that come about in these different life situations and environment.
WHM: If you’ll be attending college, tell us where and why you chose this school?
KATHRYN: I will be attending the University of Richmond in the fall. I’ve always wanted to go down south for college, so I visited many schools down south such as William and Mary, Duke, Wake Forest, UNC, University of Virginia and finally the University of Richmond. Richmond was by far the best fit for me. When I visited University of Richmond in my spring of junior year in high school it seemed like my dream college. Richmond had a great business school with high success rates, a beautiful campus, a cute town walking distance away where I will definitely be shopping in a lot next year, the city is only 10 minutes away and last but not least I have the opportunity to run on their Division 1 cross country and track team which I had been dreaming about doing in college since middle school.
WHM: Any other anecdotes or fun facts about yourself?
KATHRYN: I’ve worked at a snack shack at a country club and as a hostess. I love baby-sitting and taking care of kids.
You can also read the full issue of West Hartford Magazine here.