As top graduating seniors from high schools in the Archdiocese of Baltimore, Pat Terranova, Christine Basil and Kevin Ford seem to have one thing in common – their ability to earn superior grades while juggling a myriad of extracurricular activities.
Mr. Terranova of Mount St. Joseph High School, Irvington, Ms. Basil of Mount de Sales Academy, Catonsville, and Mr. Ford of Calvert Hall College High School, Towson, were all presidents of their student councils and held leadership roles in countless school, sports, parish and community outreach groups, while graduating with honors.
“There were certainly moments when it got difficult,” said Mr. Ford, 18, editor of his student newspaper who made the commute from Columbia to Towson every school day. “There were times when I was scheduled to be in five places at once. Luckily for me, I was in charge of most of these groups and could work out the scheduling conflicts.”
Time management was key in achieving success in all academic, extracurricular and religious activities, said Mr. Terranova, 17, of Arnold, who will attend LaSalle University in Philadelphia on a Christian Brothers Scholarship in the fall.
“I have a pretty strict mom who also keeps me in line,” the St. Andrew by the Bay, Annapolis, parishioner said with a chuckle. “I also find that the more I have going on, the better I manage my time and the more I get done.”
Having too much free time often leads students to procrastinate, said Ms. Basil, 17, of Arnold, who will attend Belmont Abbey College in Charlotte, N.C. in the fall. “When you have a lot going on, the deadlines keep you on track.”
Students who involve themselves with multiple activities tend to achieve better academically, said Judi Lanciotti, vice principal of student affairs at Mount de Sales.
“I think they tend to do well in all of their activities,” Ms. Lanciotti said. “They stay focused. They don’t get lazy and they manage their time well.”
Mr. Terranova spent first through third grades living in South America, while his mother worked at the U.S Embassy in Colombia, traveling in armored cars and living in a gated community.
“Living with the lack of freedoms we’re used to in this country gave me a unique perspective,” he said. “I think I can appreciate the opportunities we have in this country and the drive to seize them.”
A homeschooled student until she entered ninth grade at Mount de Sales, Ms. Basil believes that experience taught her how to be an independent learner.
It also gave her a thirst for social interaction, and along with her challenging academic schedule, the St. John the Evangelist, Severna Park, parishioner played soccer and softball, participated in the rosary making guild and a host of other religious clubs and played the trumpet and guitar for several school and church events.
“I don’t know what we are going to do without her,” Ms. Lanciotti said.
After a summer of work, travel and a little relaxation, the graduates all said they are looking forward to a different kind of freedom living at college will afford them.
The strong values Mr. Ford learned from his family, high school and at St. Louis, Clarksville, have prepared him to focus on the rigors of life at the enormous campus of University of Maryland, College Park.
“I’m ready to pick out my own classes and seei if I’m ready for adulthood, which is what I think living at college is all about,” he said. “I’m also looking forward to rolling out of bed and being at class in 10 minutes. That will be a change after four years of having a 45-minute commute to school.”