BG prepares its students for success

NASHUA – “Through a rigorous college preparatory curriculum and an extensive extra-curricular program, we promote lifelong learning that is not only about success for today, but also about formation for tomorrow,” Bishop Guertin High School’s mission statement reads.

It also states, “We – young people and adults alike – accept the ongoing challenge to grow as people of integrity who understand the responsibility to use our many gifts creatively in the service of others.”

Three students are taking that mission statement quite seriously.

On Dec. 5, U.S. Sens. Maggie Hassan and Jeanne Shaheen, along with U.S. Rep. Annie Kuster, all D-N.H., announced the nominations for students to attend the U.S. Air Force Academy, the U.S. Military Academy, the U.S. Naval Academy or the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy.

Caitlin MacVarish of Manchester received a nomination from Hassan to attend the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland.

For MacVarish, wanting to be part of something bigger than herself was her driving force for why she wanted to join the Navy. MacVarish will be following in the footsteps of her older brother, who is currently a senior at the academy.

“I have seen the path that he has taken and thought that it was very honorable and I wanted to do that as well,” MacVarish said.

MacVarish, a senior, said she has learned a lot while at Bishop Guertin. What she notes as her biggest takeaway is learning to use her abilities in the aid of others.

“Bishop Guertin is focused on giving back and selflessness,” MacVarish said.

The values she has learned go hand-in-hand with why she wants to volunteer.

“Using all the abilities and everything I learned and gained through my school career up to this point, I wanted to join the service just to give back and do something bigger than myself. If you spend so much time working on something, you should use it to help your country, not just yourself,” MacVarish said.

MacVarish is heavily involved in extracurricular activities at Bishop Guertin. She said she is part of the executive student council, the student body president, part of the campus ministry program and other service programs, and is a member of the National Honor Society. MacVarish said she was very excited to receive a nomination from Hassan.

“Going to the academy is something I’ve wanted for a very long time. I still need an appointment, but I’m hoping for the best. I’m glad to take one more step closer,” MacVarish said.

MacVarish is interested in pursuing a cybersecurity major before serving at least five years in the Navy.

Bishop Guertin senior Andre Laplante also received a nomination to the U.S. Naval Academy from Hassan, along with nominations to the U.S. Air Force Academy from Shaheen and Kuster.

Laplante said he hasn’t determined which path he wants to take. He is also still waiting on an appointment. Laplante views any of the academies as an opportunity to serve the people around him and himself.

“I was able to see another member of my family go through this process. I’ve seen the commitment, and I see this as an opportunity to better myself and the people around me,” Laplante said.

Commitment and challenging himself are just two of the many things Laplante has taken away from his education at Bishop Guertin.

“Bishop Guertin is a really great school. I think I have benefited from Bishop Guertin because of the people there. The students I was surrounded with were great. I have a great group of friends; it’s really welcoming place. The teachers and administration are always looking out for students’ best interests and they made this process through high school easier,” Laplante said.

He added, “Bishop Guertin has challenged me academically as well. There’s a type of academic rigor here that pushes students to challenge themselves and go out of their comfort zone.”

When Laplante is not in the classroom, he is immersed in extracurricular activities. Laplante plays on the school’s baseball and basketball teams; he is the senior class president; he is involved in campus ministry; and he is part of the school’s student ambassadors program.

One last student from Bishop Guertin received a nomination. Matthew Lashua received a nomination from both Kuster and Hassan to attend the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

Lashua said he was excited to receive the nomination. He hopes to study mechanical or aerospace engineering. He believes the atmosphere at the academy will be different from a traditional college campus.

“At the academy, it’s a college and it teaches you how to be a better individual…they teach you how to live honorably,” Lashua said. “It’s so demanding that everyone has big goals and everyone wants to be there.”

Lashua said he hopes to be part of this so he can be focused on his own goals. This determination is something Lashua said Bishop Guertin instilled in him. He said the school especially helped him with time management. Lashua is a year-round swimmer and he’s part of various honors societies, including the National Honor Society.

Lashua is waiting to see if he will receive an appointment. He said most applicants hear back in March.