Once again, We-Ha.com and West Hartford Magazine (WHM) salute the graduating class of 2018 with the annual Terrific Teen feature.
By Joy Taylor
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 Haley Carangelo, a Kingswood Oxford graduate.
Haley Carangelo says she “can’t wait” to see what the next four years bring after spending the recent seven years at KO. Best wishes Haley!
WHM: If you could tell your freshman year self just one thing about high school, what would it be?
HALEY: Looking back on freshman year, I wish I would have known to not be intimidated (especially of the older kids haha), and to just be myself. I think, at times, I was pretty shy. It took me a while to feel comfortable with myself as a freshman walking through the high school halls, not caring about other people around me…. As a senior this past year, I wanted to be a leader for the underclassmen and become friends with them. It’s exactly what the seniors did for me when I was a freshman, and I really appreciated it.
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.
HALEY: My parents are truly the people that inspire me the most. My dad works so hard for our family to provide opportunities for me and my siblings. He teaches us every day that hard work pays off and to never give up on your passions in life. My mom teaches me to be kind, humble, and to love yourself and the life you’ve been given. I don’t know where I’d be without them.
WHM: What are some of your hobbies and interests? This can be sports, books, art. Give some examples of your favorite things.
HALEY: I would say my top two hobbies are sports and music. I’ve always loved playing lacrosse since I picked up a stick in third grade. It’s been my go-to sport. It’s played in the best season, you make friends for life, and create bonds with teammates that you will never forget.
Off the field, I have a passion for music. I’ve known how to play the piano since I was in second grade, and I’ve been teaching myself how to play the guitar this past year, but I mainly love to sing. I’ve performed at all the coffee houses we’ve had at KO since my sophomore year, and it’s one of my favorite experiences I’ve had in high school.
WHM: It’s your first summer after high school … Tell us what you are looking forward to most about the coming year.
HALEY: I’ve been going to the same school for seven years, so it’s definitely time for something new. I’ve been asked this question many times, and I honestly say the same thing every time. I’m so excited for new experiences, meeting new people, and making new memories. It’s time that I live a different routine. I’m going to learn so much about myself in the next 4 years!
WHM: If you’ll be attending college, tell us where and why you chose this school?
HALEY: On Aug. 24, I will be moving into my dorm room at Elon University. I always knew I wanted to go somewhere south. I want to experience the warm weather and the laid-back atmosphere, but obviously I want a good education as well.
WHM: Any other anecdotes or fun facts about yourself.
HALEY: This summer I’ve been working at SPoT Coffee in the center which is really good! Other interests: I care deeply about the environment and the lives of wild animals and I hope to make an impact on the world (whether small or big) in the years to come.
You can also read the full issue of West Hartford Magazine here.