Once again, We-Ha.com and West Hartford Magazine 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 Maddy Pliskin, Hall High School.
As submitted by Maddy Pliskin and edited for content and length
Madeline Pliskin, who prefers to go by Maddy, is smart, eager, and ready to make a difference in the world. We think she already has. Go Maddy!
WHM: If you could tell your freshman year self just one thing about high school, what would it be?
MADDY: If I could tell my freshman year self just one thing about high school, I would tell myself to get involved earlier. Joining the student government and ultimately becoming the Board of Ed rep provided me with a feeling of belonging and pride in working to better Hall as a whole. Also, I would tell myself not to take everything so seriously.
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.
MADDY: My junior and senior year English teacher Ms. Blejwas, voted most inspirational by my graduating class, is an inspiration of mine. She teaches unconventionally, creating a writing space that breeds confidence and helps students find themselves through writing. She finds the good in every student of hers and is the most trustworthy reader I have ever and will ever have.
My wonderful twin sister Hannah inspires me every single day. Her kindness, compassion, and selflessness make me strive to be a better human being. She always thinks of everyone else’s feelings before her own.
WHM: What are some of your hobbies and interests? This can be sports, books, art. Give some examples of your favorite things.
MADDY: I am very passionate about human rights activism, especially girls’ right to education. I love being outside, traveling, going to concerts, and reading poetry. I also like spending time with friends and family. My favorite poem is “Somewhere a Carpenter” by Andrea Gibson because it reminds me of my Grandma Minnie.
WHM: It’s your first summer after high school … Tell us what you are looking forward to most about the coming year.
MADDY: I am most looking forward to the new community I will be entering when I begin college. I am excited to be surrounded by new diverse thoughts, beliefs, and ideas that will make me question my own. I am also excited to study subjects which I feel passionately about, biology in particular. I am also excited for the academic rigor and creating close relationships with my professors.
WHM: If you’ll be attending college, tell us where and why you chose this school?
MADDY: I will be attending Brandeis University next year and I chose to attend Brandeis because of its environment which fosters academic and personal growth; an environment unmatched by any other university I visited.
WHM: Any other anecdotes or fun facts about yourself?
MADDY: When I am older, I want to become a fertility specialist … Last June the Hartford Courant published my op-ed about President Trump defunding Michelle Obama’s “Let Girls Learn” initiative which helped girls in underdeveloped countries to access education.
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