Carroll County Public Schools’ largest senior class gathered at the Carroll County Agricultural Center’s Shipley Arena for the class of 2021 graduation ceremony Thursday afternoon.
Many of the graduates were honored at the ceremony and Tuesday’s award night. Of the 422 graduates, 69% will attend a two- or four-year college, 5% will go to trade school, 3% will enlist in the military and 8% will enter the work force. Westminster’s class of 2021 had a combined 61,281.75 service learning hours.
Some of the individual honors the school pointed out included the winners of the Seal of Biliteracy. Carrie Geisler, a 2021 grad, was a Seal of Biliteracy recipient. She was also recognized for recording a song of hers at a recording studio in Nashville.
The Times caught up with Geisler to learn what her high school experience was like and her plans for the future.
Q: How would you describe your high school experience?
A: My high school experience has been amazing. As the largest school in the county, WHS provided me with a plethora of academic course offerings that allowed me to take all different classes that fit my interests. I’ve worked very hard to succeed with a rigorous course load, and I’ve been supported by dedicated and enthusiastic teachers and staff. I’ve also been involved in a number of extracurricular activities including STEM Club, various honor societies, a musical, volunteer projects, Culture Fest, Unity Day and more. Through my classes and these activities, I’ve met a lot of incredible people, and made some lifelong friendships. Although the last two years certainly looked different than I expected, overall, I’ve made a lot of great memories in high school, and I’m very grateful for all the opportunities WHS has afforded me.
Q: How would you describe your experience when schools were virtual/hybrid?
A: It definitely had some challenges. It was difficult having reduced access to my teachers, and taking classes like chemistry where I couldn’t do any labs or chorus where I had to sing with a mask on. However, my teachers were all amazing. They made every effort to help me and my classmates learn, regardless of whether we were in person or virtual. Additionally, the flexibility of hybrid learning had a lot of benefits. For instance, I was able to spend almost the entire month of April traveling to visit colleges without missing very much school, because I was able to take my classes from hotel rooms or even the car.
Q: What are your academic and/or career plans?
A: In the fall I will be attending Princeton University in Princeton, New Jersey. I’m planning to major in aerospace engineering and I’m considering minors in Spanish language and culture, robotics and intelligent systems, and planets and life. After completing my undergraduate studies, I would like to use my engineering knowledge to serve as a Peace Corps volunteer, building infrastructure in undeveloped countries. Once I return from my service, I plan to work as an engineer in the space industry, designing spacecraft for long-range, manned missions to Mars and beyond, while pursuing my graduate studies and working toward my PhD.
Q: How has high school prepared you for those plans?
A: I’ve taken advantage of numerous academic and extracurricular opportunities during high school. I’ve completed many honors and AP classes, in addition to dual enrollment classes at Carroll Community College. I also participated in the Project Lead the Way Engineering program at the Carroll County Career and Technology Center. This variety of classes allowed me to get the most out of my four years and gain in-depth knowledge of a wide range of subjects, while also developing technical skills. Additionally, I have served as the co-founder and co-president of Spanish National Honor Society, as well as the vice president of Tri-M Music Honor Society. These roles helped me to develop my leadership, teamwork and interpersonal skills, which will be equally as valuable to me as my academic knowledge in my future endeavors.
Q: What is your favorite high school memory?
A: At the end of my sophomore year, I helped to organize a surprise retirement party for my advisory teacher. It was a lot of fun to plan the decorations, the food, etc., and it all came together really nicely. We even got a few teachers and administrators involved to help us keep it a secret. The party was a lot of fun and we totally surprised him! It was a special moment, and I think it really demonstrated the close-knit community at our school. WHS is a family and we all come together in the good times and the bad.
Q: What is something you learned in high school that you will carry with you in the next chapter of your life?
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A: The importance of making time to do things for fun. While academics are very important to me, I’ve discovered that breaks to play music, go outside, or spend time with my friends are essential to my happiness, and help me to succeed academically — because they allow me to destress and refocus.