Meet Scituate High School Class of 2020’s Top 10

Meet Scituate High School Class of 2020’s Top 10

Top row, from left, are Josephine “Josie” Miner, Conal Wilkie, Nicole Godbout, Leah Bessette and Olivia D’Antonio. Bottom row, from left, are Emily Rossner, Jonathan Messier, Amanda Nardone, Aaron Leach and Kristin DeMatteo.

SCITUATE – The new normal for Scituate seniors may be social distancing, but for the top ten students at Scituate High School, staying at the top of the class has not changed.

Valedictorian Josephine “Josie” Miner, 18, daughter of Julienne and John Miner, tops SHS’s Class of 2020. She will attend Brown University in the fall with a double major in chemistry and microbiology on a pre-med track.

She credits having cool, smart parents who helped her develop hobbies and pursue what makes her happy as the leading contributor to her success. She said her mother helped her with English and science and made her laugh while her father, a computer science guy, helped with math.

“They taught me how to think outside of the box and blaze my own trail,” she said.

Miner said her goal of making money, supporting herself, traveling the world and pursuing her passions motivated her to excel in school.

“When I am older, I want to be able to say that I took full advantage of all opportunities presented to me, and that I lived my life by doing what I loved,” Miner said.

While high school is hard, she said will remember the great support she received from the teachers who served as role models for hard work.

Miner received the Harvard Book Award, the National Center for Women and Information Technology Aspiration Award, the Deans List Finalist for First Tech Challenge Robotics, the Hugh O’Brian Youth Leadership Award, and the AP Scholar Award.

She is the vice president of the Student Council, captain of the Scituate Programming Team, head programmer on the FTC Team 6217 The Fellowship, Girls Varsity Tennis, and co-president of the National and Rhode Island Honor Society.

“There is no substitute for hard work,” she said.

Salutatorian Conal Wilkie, 17, son of Karen Gravel and Douglas Wilkie, remains undecided on which college he will attend or his major. The best thing he will remember from high school is the people he met and the friends he’s made.

“My friends have made high school a great experience, and I couldn’t have done it without them,” Wilkie said.

Wilkie said his parents, especially his mom, motivated him to excel at school starting back to elementary school.

During high school, he played soccer and ran indoor and outdoor track.

His team won the first Rhode Island Economics Challenge his junior year, and won the Rensselaer Medal, the Pell Medal for U.S. History and second teal All-State for soccer and all-tournament team.

Nicole Godbout, 18, daughter of Edmond and Eileen Godbout, will attend Stonehill College with a major in Health Science.

She said her family, grandparents, friends and teachers contributed to her high school success and enjoyment. Quoting Eminen, she said you only have one life, so make the most of it.

“In the future, when I think about my high school years, I will remember the friends’ faces I saw every day, the teachers that kept me smiling, cheesy school-based jokes, and most importantly, the countless times my friends and I tripped going up or down the stairs,” Godbout said.

Godbout was a member of SHS’s DECA Club, the National Honor Society and the Student Council as well as captain of the girls’ tennis team. She won the First Team All-Division Doubles in 2017, the Yale Book Award in 2019, the 2019 Spartan MVP for Girls Tennis and third place for the DCA Hotel Lodging and Management in 2020.

Leah Bessette, daughter of David and Tina Bessette, will attend the University of Rhode Island Pharmacy Program.

The 18-year-old said she will always remember the bonds formed with classmates and administrators in the small, tight-knit community of Scituate that felt more like a family.

She said her parents motivated her to excel through high school and were always supportive and encouraged her to challenge herself and strive to excel. She looked up to her brother, Justin, who had many accomplishments in high school and gave her guidance and motivation to do her best and never quit.

Bessette won the National and Rhode Island Honor Society Award, Suffolk University Boston Book Award, awards for achievements in band, First, Second and Third Team All-Division for Basketball, All-Division Cross Country and the Sportsmanship Award.

She said her teammates and coaches pushed her to do her best and accomplish awards.

“I could always rely on them

to make my laugh and brighten my day,” Bessette said.

Olivia D’Antonio, 17, daughter of Joe and Karen D’Antonio, plans to study business management at Providence College or James Madison University.

Over the years, attending LaSalle Academy freshman and sophomore years and SHS as a junior and senior, D’Antonio participated in numerous sports, including field hockey, indoor and outdoor track, soccer, basketball and boys’ tennis.

She is also a member of the National Honor Society, winning awards for the NHS, Women in Engineering, the National Association of Women in Construction for Design and Drafting, and the Rhode Island Interscholastic League All-Academic Team for Women’s Soccer.

D’Antonio will remember her friendships with classmates and experiences in athletics, and thanks her family, teachers, coaches, Principal Michael Hassell and her councilor, John Haas, for helping her exceed. Three keys to success, she said, are to work hard, treat people the right way, and have faith in yourself and others.

“Additionally, I will remember doing my best to make a difference in the Scituate Community, and making a personal commitment to do everything I could to make a positive impact on the school during my junior and senior years,” she said.

Emily Rossner, daughter of Rosanna and Martin Rossner, will attend Rhode Island College with a computer s

cience major.

Rossner is a five-year FIRST Tech Challenge alum, a dancer at TLC Performing Arts, a volunteer of Rotary International, and a member of All-State and Select Chorus. She won the FTC Dean’s List Semi-Finalist Award, the National Center for Women in Technology Award, the Econ Challenge Award and is a member of the National Honor Society.

Of high school, she will remember the places she traveled with her robotics team and both classmates and mentors. Rossner said her mother, and her resourceful, talented friends contributed to her success and enjoyment of high school.

Jonathan Messier, 18, son of Jonathan Messier Sr. and Laurel Best, will attend Rhode Island College to study graphic design and French.

Messier won awards for art classes, including an achievement in Introduction to Art Studio and Computer Imaging and Fine Arts freshman year, an achievement in health sophomore year, an achievement in Advanced Portfolio Studio Honors and the St. Michael’s College Book Award junior year.

Messier said he is motivated by competition, and striving to become better and to improve his grades.

He said he will always remember his senior year due to COVID-19 and the friendships made at SHS.

“I will also remember the time, effort, and the struggle that I put in to maintain my class rank and also creating my art portfolio for college,” Messier said.

He attributes his success to teachers who went above and beyond each week to help him and other students succeed.

Amanda Nardone, daughter of Susan and Charlie Nardone, will attend the University of Rhode Island with a pharmacy major.

“My goal has always been having a career as a health professional. This motivated me to always work hard, since it will not be easy to reach this goal,” she said.

Of her high school years, Nardone’s fondest memory is building a prosthetic arm for a middle school teacher’s son during her sophomore year in engineering.

“I will always remember how excited he was when he first put the prosthetic arm on,” Nardone said.

She said her parents contributed most to her success, and reminded her to never give up despite stressing over schoolwork.

Nardone is a member of cross country team, captain of the indoor and outdoor track and field, and the HOSA club.

She won MVP for cross c

ountry her sophomore, junior and senior years, MVP in indoor track her junior year, second place in Health Education at the Rhode Island HOSA Competition, and is on the Rhode Island and National Honor Society.

Aaron Leach, 17, son of James and Marni Leach, will attend Northeastern University in the fall with a double major in mechanical engineering and business.

Leach said his parents played a tremendous role in his success helped him stay focused.

“I also owe a lot of my success to the teachers who have supported me throughout the years, and offered me countless opportunities to succeed,” Leach said.

Leach said he wants to make enough money to travel the world, and live comfortably, which pushes him to do the best he can do.

Leach was the center and defensive lineman for SHS Varsity Football, designer for the FTC Robotics Team 6217 The Fellowship, member of SHS NEED Club, played recreational basketball, baseball and the trombone in the SHS band.

Leach won the Bausch and Lomb Honorary Science Award, National Honor Society membership, and All-League All-Academic Team Selection in football.

Kristin DeMatteo, 18, daughter of William and Lisa DeMatteo, will study computer science and innovation at Champlain College.

DeMatteo played baritone in band, is the editor of SHS’s Reservoir Journal, and won the Xerox Award for Innovation.

Of her high school years, she will remember band trips and her trip to Sturbridge Village.

She said the support of her friends and teachers allowed her to strive to accomplish the most she could, and supported each other to be the best they can be.

“They all helped me have fun every day with comedic stories and jokes,” DeMatteo said.