The Top 10 students in Smithfield High School Class of 2016 in their own words

By Kendra Gravelle

Gabriella will attend the University of Connecticut next year, with the intent to major in physiology and neurobiology.

“I hope to continue on a pre-med track,” she said. “I’ve found that my strongest interests throughout high school have been mostly in biology and anatomy and those kinds of things. I started to feel like I really wanted to make a difference in the medical field after my dad had a heart attack when I was younger. It made me reconsider what I wanted to do with my life. It made me take school very seriously.”

Lasorsa is excited to have the experience of living on a big campus.

“I guess I’ve always kind of felt like I’m living in a little pond, in such a small town,” she said. “I’m really looking forward to being a part of a bigger world. Striving in a little pond has, I think, been easier, and I want to see what I can do when put into a bigger environment with more resources and more people I’ve never met.”

Despite her excitement to meet new people, she said she’ll miss being with people she’s known her entire life.

“I’ll miss those small moments when you’re in the classroom and you have five minutes left in class and you get to have a conversation with someone who knows you in such a unique way because you’ve grown up together,” she said. “Those are the moment’s I’ll miss the most.”

Howard played on the Smithfield High School lacrosse team for all four years of high school, and served as varsity co-captain during her senior year.

“The biggest room in the world is the room for improvement.”

Paige Howard has strived to live her life according to this motto.

Howard holds two part-time jobs—one at the Village at Waterman Lake and the other as a karate instructor at American Martial Arts—and has been actively involved in the Smithfield High School community for the last four years. She will be attending the University of New England in Maine, and plans to major in chemistry.

“I’ve always been a math person, and I like to be able to apply what I’m learning hands-on,” said Howard, who hopes to either find a job in her field or attend graduate school after graduating from college.

Howard will miss her friends, most of whom will be closer to home than she’ll be, she said.

“My friends would never fail to remind me that there is more to life than school and that I need to just go out and have fun sometimes.”

McCauley, who did an internship at the District Court in Providence last summer, will be attending American University in the fall. She wants to eventually go to law school.

Mae McCauley will attend The School of Public Affairs at American University next year, and hopes to eventually become a trial attorney.

“I’ll be in D.C., so I’ll be right in the political hub of the United States,” she said. “I’m excited about being in a big city and about all the different opportunities.”

McCauley said she would miss the close-knit community of Smithfield.

“Sometimes we’ll drive around on a Friday or Saturday night and you know where basically everyone is, because you’ve memorized everyone’s car by the time senior year comes around,” she laughed. “So, you’ll be like, ‘Is anyone at the hockey game?’ and you’ll drive around the parking lot and be like, ‘Oh, so-and-so is there,’ so I’ll definitely miss that.”

She said she would also miss how easy it is to get involved in the activities at Smithfield High School.

“I’ll miss the teachers, too. The teachers are just amazing here, I’ve gotten close with a lot of the teachers,” she said. “I hope that I’ll be able to do that in college, too.”

She said her favorite class in high school was her AP literature and composition class.

“We learned about so many topics that I didn’t know about to that extent before,” she said. “The classroom discussions were also so engaging.”

Grundy has been teaching herself the guitar, and said she enjoys having it as a hobby and a stress release.

“I look at the fact that I get to have an education and the fact that I had the opportunity to have such a good high school experience, I look at that as a privilege and I try not to waste it.”

Miranda Grundy will attend Bryant University on a full-ride academic scholarship, and intends to major in literary and cultural studies.

“I love learning about major social issues,” Grundy said. “The things that I’ve learned from reading and analyzing the books in my English classes are the things that I’d consider make me who I am today. My favorite part of the day is going to English class and I feel like that’s what I need to pursue.”

Grundy said AP literature and composition has been her favorite class in high school, and that the class has inspired her to write about social issues.

“I like raising awareness about social issues, so I hope that my writing can be seen on a platform that’s big enough for me to make a difference somehow,” she said. “That’s really my biggest hope—that I can write things that people respond to and that make an actual difference in society.”

Grundy will play on the field hockey team at Bryant next year. She said she’s excited to be a part of the team, but that she’ll miss the friends she’s made in high school.

“I think about college and I think about everything changing and it’s just going to be really weird. I like the fact that high school provides just enough freedom, but you’re not totally on your own. I’ll miss that.”

Acciaioli said art has been an interest of hers since she was young, adding that it’s something many people may not realize about her.

Delaney Acciaioli will be attending the University of Vermont, and plans to study nutrition and dietetics. She hopes to eventually become a dietician, having been inspired by the community service she’s done at the Rhode Island Food Bank, as well as by a class she took last year.

“I took global issues and we did a unit on food and nutrition, so I became really interested in how much sugar is in your food,” she said. “I’m interested in what’s actually healthy for you and what people say is healthy for you and actually isn’t.”

Acciaioli said she’s excited to further explore her interests in college next year.

“High school was all about exploring who I am, but now that I’m going to college it’s a fresh start,” she said. “I’m really excited to figure it all out, be on my own, be independent and to take classes that pertain to what I’m going to be doing.”

She said she hopes to work in a hospital in Boston after graduating, but that she’ll miss home.

“I’ll miss Smithfield, because this is where I grew up,” she added. “Everything’s really close by which is convenient. I live kind of out in the woods, but I can drive five minutes into town and everyone that I know lives within fifteen minutes of me. I think it’s a pretty nice place to grow up.”

Saliba spends every Tuesday afternoon at the Rhode Island Philharmonic Music School in East Providence, where she’s been singing in choir for years. She said it’s “where I do the thing that I love.”

Brooklyn Saliba will attend Ithaca College in New York, where she’ll study environmental sciences and music. She said witnessing the way people in Lebanon, where she has family, view the environment was her inspiration for choosing environmental sciences.

“It’s just different there, because they don’t know as much about how they impact their environment, both negatively and positively,” she said. “I just really want to try to help and make a difference.”

Although Saliba said she is open to the possibility of returning to Rhode Island after graduating college, she said she’s especially excited about the possibility of traveling abroad.

Although she’ll miss her friends, Saliba said she’s looking forward to meeting new people next year.

“I’m looking forward to the opportunity to meet different people. You spend 12 years with the same group of people you’ve known your whole life,” she said. “So it’ll be different, but I’m excited to explore.”

Cote enjoys listening to old music, and his parents often refer to him as “an old soul.” Some of his favorite albums are by Bruce Springsteen, The Beatles and Simon and Garfunkel.

“I’m excited to meet new people, coming from a small town like Smithfield.”

Christopher Cote, who will attend Florida State University in Tallahassee, Fla. with an intended double major in accounting and finance, said he’s excited to be at a school of 40,000 students.

Cote, who is the senior class president, said his parents, who are both certified public accountants, inspired his choice in majors. He hopes to work in either Boston or New York City after graduating from college, he said.

Although he won’t miss Rhode Island’s weather, Cote did say that he would miss the friends he has in Smithfield.

“Just the at-home atmosphere,” he said. “Like I said, it’s small, and you know everyone. Everyone’s your friend.”

Inspired by a class she took at Smithfield High School, Labbe started a trashcan band club. She and the other members get together on Friday afternoons to rehearse their “urban modern percussion music” to play at various school functions.

She will attend Northeastern University next year, and plans to study general engineering. She said her determination to be accepted into an engineering program is what has motivated her to do well academically.

She added that she’s excited to live in Boston.

“I’m excited about living in the city and all the opportunities,” she said. “It’ll be a stark contrast to Smithfield.”

Some of her favorite activities in high school have been cheerleading, Spanish National Honor Society and Trashcan Band Club. She said she would miss the people she’s met in Smithfield.

“It was the combination of my friends, teachers and classmates that made my high school experience so unique and memorable,” she said. “My friends have always been the most fun group of people to be around.”

English, who is an Eagle Scout, said he enjoys the peace that comes with being in nature, and that reaching a mountain’s summit during a hike can be “exhilarating” and is a great stress release.

“I hope that I won’t be mired in debt, but that may be wishful thinking on my part,” said David English, thinking about his future. “And I hope that I find what my passion truly is, and hope that I’m able to make a living out of it.”

English plans to take a gap-year after graduation. Despite leaning toward going to school for either literature or communications, he’s taking the time to figure out exactly what he wants to study, he said, adding that in the meantime he hopes to join Americorps.

“It’s not a decision I make out of apathy,” he said. “It’s more something I’m doing because I don’t want to make the wrong decision.”

He said he would miss the friends he’s made at Smithfield High School.

“The harsh reality is I won’t see most of these people again, unfortunately. I will miss a lot of people,” he said. “I have made many a friend, and I’ve had a unique experience with each of them, one way or the other.”

Karpinski has been involved in sports throughout his entire high school career, and said it has shaped the person he is today. He is especially fond of soccer. Photo submitted by Matthew Karpinski.

Matthew Karpinski

Matthew Karpinski will move to Worcester, Mass. in the fall to attend The College of the Holy Cross, where he intends to major in economics. He said he hopes to go to graduate school after college and would ultimately like to find a job in logistics or investment banking, ideally somewhere in New England.

“I’m excited to see what the world has to offer outside this Smithfield bubble.”

Karpinski will miss playing on Smithfield High School sports teams, he said.

“Sports have been my whole life,” he said. “Every day has been school and then sports. It’s been a big part of shaping who I am.”

He said if he could give one piece of advice to the underclassmen of Smithfield High School it would be to get involved in the school community.

“If you’re a music person, do everything you can with that, if it’s sports, do something with that,” he said. “Get involved, whatever it may be.”