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Staff seniors look to the future

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By Michael Booton/Teen Pulse staff

On Saturday, the 2015 class of Los Alamos High School graduated, a first of many stepping stones in their adult lives.
Marking the completion of the last four years of standard education, they will now continue to make their way in the world. Three Teen Pulse seniors shared their experiences and their plans for the future.
Melissa Wysocki looks forward to college as the first step in her adult life. “I think college will be freeing, and allow me to be more independent than I ever have been,” she said. At Fort Lewis College she will study to become an exercise science specialist.
Her favorite part of high school was seeing the person she became over those four years. To Wysocki, working toward something that she would enjoy and find fulfilling is more important than doing something for other benefits. “Income is not my priority,” she said. Wysocki wants to be either a health or physical education teacher, fulfilling her desire to help others become active.
She participated in track in high school, as well as many other clubs and activities. She was involved in Evolvement, Spanish Club, Student Council, Gay-Straight Alliance and Naval Junior Reserve Officer Training Corp (NJROTC).
Wysocki is a passionate photographer and runs her own photography business. She was the staff photographer for Teen Pulse and staged a photo show for the Teen Center, where her work was put on display.
As most busy people, she finds that time has flown by and will miss the opportunities of high school and her friends. “Most high school students don’t take advantage of the classes with life skills like auto, and I advise that seniors should make sure to take advantage of that amazing opportunity. Cherish your time, because it flies by. You think it’s going to go so slow, but graduation really took me by surprise. It feels like the first day was yesterday. Everything happens for a reason,” Wysocki said.
Rigel Baron is looking forward to life after high school. Recognizing the importance of high school but finding it dull, his favorite memories will be the breaks from school. Baron’s favorite pastimes were being with friends, playing pick-up sport games and NJROTC activities. He participated in both track and cross country at Los Alamos High School.
Baron was very active in NJROTC, participating in many of the group’s activities. He commanded the armed exhibition team, was captain of the physical fitness team, and participated in color guard and the academic team.
He contributed the “Pondering Column” to the Teen Pulse page, a philosophical reflection on questions sent in by readers. He wrote his column because of his interest in philosophy, which came about from his hobby of thinking through problems that arise in society. He plans to attend University of New Mexico to attain an undergraduate in both philosophy and economics, the second of which is another of his interests.
Directly after graduation, he will leave for Marine Corps basic training on June 1 and complete all the subsequent trainings. He will return to New Mexico in the spring of 2016 to begin classes. He wants to enlist in the military in Marine Special Operations Command.
His goal is to continue in the Marine Corps, rising in rank until he is no longer eligible for active service. Baron is satisfied with his high school career, but will not miss high school nor be eager to return to Los Alamos. Giving advice to remaining classmates, he said, “Join NJROTC and do physical training every day.”
Tom Hanlon will be attending the University of New Mexico to begin a possible education in journalism. In high school he was very active in the NJROTC as an officer, a member of the drill team, and as a shooting team member, and he plans to continue the ROTC program in college.
Eventually, he hopes to commission as an officer in the Air Force and serve in the field, using his degree to further his military career.
He was also heavily involved with the Jemez Mountain Home School Speech and Debate team, qualifying to the National Tournament twice and was part of the youth group at Immaculate Heart of Mary Catholic Church.
During his high school career, Hanlon ran cross country for Los Alamos High School, was a Pajarito Mountain Ski Area ski instructor and wrote for Teen Pulse for five years.
Despite missing NJROTC and the other groups in which he has been involved, Hanlon believes college will be an exciting chance for change. “It will definitely be an exciting experience in which I hope to learn a lot about who I am and what I can do when I push myself to my limits,” he said.  
During his senior year, Hanlon broke out of his comfort zone and tried new things like a ballroom dance class with an end of year dance show.
Giving advice to the incoming seniors, he said, “Applying [to colleges] early gives you options which are invaluable when it’s time to make the final decision. Things you’ve been involved in for four years may not interest you as much as they used to. Try new things during your senior year, but don’t give up on what you’ve invested so much in. Change things up — just don’t abandon what you’ve worked so hard at for the past three years!”

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