On Sunday, June 10, the Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School will celebrate the accomplishments of the class of 2018 — a group of 146 seniors that faculty members and students alike have described as “kind,” “innovative,” and “well-rounded.”

The ceremony will take place at the Tabernacle in Oak Bluffs, beginning at 1:30 p.m. On Friday, June 8, seniors will be honored with scholarships from the Island community at Class Night, also held at the Tabernacle, beginning at 6 p.m.

Shauna Nute helps direct students. — Ray Ewing

Guidance department director Mary MacDonald has been working at the regional high school for 25 years and has seen her fair share of student involvement, both in and out of the classroom. This year’s class stands out for her.

“Our students are involved in a lot,” Ms. MacDonald said. “They go out and get involved in the community and do various things—fundraisers, road races, all to help a cause. They’re out there and it’s pretty standard practice that our kids do that because it really exemplifies what this community is all about, giving back and helping each other.”

This initiative materializes itself in many different facets. From athletics to academics, the level of engagement may come as a surprise to some, but for senior Curtis Fisher “engaged” was the first word that popped into his mind when asked to describe his peers, a description that simultaneously covers the span of his own four years at the high school. As a varsity swimmer, member of the track team, seasoned science fair winner, and leader of two a

capella groups, the Minnesingers and SoundWave, Curtis has a hand in almost every aspect of the high school’s community. And the list doesn’t end there.

Cooper Bennett eyes his future. — Ray Ewing

“I like being busy, I really do,” Curtis said. “You kind of just gotta go for it. For me, high school has helped me to define my goals in life and develop my personality in a way that I’m happy with who I am and what I’m doing.”

Curtis will embark on a gap year before beginning at Northeastern University, a year he plans to use for travel to places like Nicaragua and the National Parks, all while taking online courses and working on independent projects.

Kevin McGrath works as the school librarian and senior capstone project coordinator. “It’s a very caring class,” he said. “They really look out for each other and a lot of kids are very driven. They’re definitely going places. I know for sure that we’re going to be hearing about them.”

By taking on a capstone or senior project, a number of seniors had the chance to dive deeper into their passions. This year 10 students participated in the program — six completing specialized capstones as part of the school’s English curriculum, while four focused on self-directed projects on a topic of their choosing.

Senior Isabella Youmans was one of the four project participants. A self-described “doer,” Isabella moved 17 times before settling on Chappaquiddick this past November with her family. She joined the senior class at the end of the first semester. Since then she has participated as an active member of the school’s swim team, single-handily filmed the production of West Side Story, worked on freelance projects for the Martha’s Vineyard Film Festival, written poetry for a book she hopes to finish this summer, and continues to teach herself new video editing software in preparation for her start at Columbia College Chicago where she plans to major in filmmaking.

“If I want something I’ll find a way to make it happen,” Isabella said.

"It's a very caring class," librarian Kevin McGrath said. — Ray Ewing

Isabella isn’t the only student with a passion for the performing arts. Drama teacher Brooke Hardman-Ditchfield said about a dozen seniors participated in West Side Story, whether onstage, backstage, in the pit, or weaving between all three. Curtis Fisher and fellow senior Lizzie Williamson found their niche under the spotlight, as they played Tony and Anita respectively.

“Musical theatre was something I was really drawn to and so I took a class freshman year and I just fell in love with it,” Lizzie said. She will be attending University of Michigan this fall where she hopes to major in English for education. She said becoming a teacher is an interest that took her by surprise junior year, as growing up she was always “the math kid.” It wasn’t until she took an English class with former MVRHS teacher Dan Sharkovitz, that her interests shifted. “He just totally changed my whole outlook on teaching and what an English class can be like and what literature and writing can be like,” she said.

Anna Cotton is the department chair of Project Vine, the school’s alternative program. She spoke about her students desire to utilize all of the resources the school has to offer.

“The students really want to take an active role in their education,” she said. “They want to be self-directed, and active community members.”

Ms. Cotton said one student who exemplified these characteristics was Jake Baird, a member of the senior class and Project Vine program who died in a car accident earlier this winter. “He was very independent, he was very self-directed, he definitely charted his own course,” Ms. Cotton said.

Garrett Zeilinger fist bumps a classmate at rehearsal. — Ray Ewing

Many remember Jake for his positive energy, ever-present smile, and the ease in which he could bring people together. These qualities earned him the Renaissance Man Award from his Project Vine teachers and peers, presented to him at a ceremony just one day before he died.

“I feel like that summed him up, this idea of the Renaissance man,” Ms. Cotton said. “He was across all areas, not pigeonholed...just a really smart, capable guy.”

Accepting the diploma for Jake at the ceremony on Sunday will be his older sister Rya and younger sister Jayden.

As class essayist, Lizzie Williamson will give one of the speeches during the ceremony. She has worked closely with Ms. Hardman-Ditchfield to perfect her farewell sentiments — a team effort that showcases another skill Ms. Hardman-Ditchfield says the seniors have mastered: collaboration.

“I feel like it will take them far,” Ms. Hardman-Ditchfield said. “I hope that they always carry that collaborative mentality with them because it’s a really good thing to have. Now more than ever.”