For the five members of the Martha’s Vineyard Public Charter School class of 2014, Friday, May 23, marked the end of a major period of their life.
It was the last day of classes, and after 12 years in the charter school the students prepare to leave their high school years behind them.
On Thursday afternoon, 10 days before graduation, the small class gathered at the Polly Hill Arboretum for lunch at a picnic table in the garden. Seniors Fawn Pelletier, Greg Allan, Izze Rose, Chase Eppers and Earth Laothong were joined by board members Maurice Reidy and Laura Hearn Caruso, as well as art teacher Ken Vincent, for lunch and casual conversation.
With the last day of classes right around the corner, the picnic marked the end of an era, but on that day, all eyes were looking forward to the summer and beyond.
Fawn and Earth will spend their summers working in Oak Bluffs, Fawn at Enchanted Chocolates and Earth at the Black Dog Store. Across the Island, in Edgartown, Izze will continue to work for the harbor master and Greg will work as a counselor at the Boys’ and Girls’ Club, while Chase works construction.
When the summer ends, many of the students will leave the Vineyard and go their separate ways, but they all seem excited to start the next chapter of their lives. Next year, Earth will head to Bunker Hill Community College where he will continue to study drawing and graphic design. Izze will take some time to travel before she gets back to school; she is planning to study medical anthropology. Fawn, too, will take a year off from school as she narrows her many interests and decides what she wants to study. Chase will take his first steps toward what he hopes will be a career in the Marines, joining the two-year ROTC program at Cape Cod Community College. Greg will remain on the Island, taking online classes and conducting private research, striving toward his dream of becoming an inventor.
There is no saying where these five classmates will be a year from now, but over lunch in the garden, the unknown future did not loom as a burden. Instead, students sat happily around the picnic table and discussed everything from old friends to North Korean propaganda.
Toward the end of the lunch, Laura emptied a bag of apples onto the table and asked the students if anybody could juggle or do any tricks with the fruit.
“I can program a robot to juggle,” said Greg.
“Can you do it by graduation?” Laura asked.
“Maybe,” he responded.
The Martha’s Vineyard Public Charter School graduation is Sunday at 1:30 p.m. at the school campus in West Tisbury.