DANVERS — Superintendent Heidi Riccio is pleased to announce the Essex North Shore Agricultural and Technical School Class of 2020 valedictorian and salutatorian.
“Congratulations to the Class of 2020 valedictorian and salutatorian– they have both demonstrated that they are hard working, brilliant, capable young professionals,” Superintendent Riccio said. “Well done to them both; we will miss them here at Essex Tech, and cannot wait to see the wonderful things that lie ahead for them.”
Charlotte McDonald, of Salem, has been named the valedictorian of the graduating class, and Julia Harrington, of Saugus, has been named the salutatorian. Both students are in the Equine Science program at Essex Tech.
“When I first came to Essex Tech, I was a transfer student who arrived three weeks late into freshman year,” McDonald said. “I was petrified everyone had already found their friends and I would feel out of place. However, I was quickly proven wrong as the students and teachers welcomed me with open arms and made me feel at home right away. This accepting atmosphere has only gotten stronger throughout the four years and has led to the creation of some of the strongest relationships I have ever had.”
McDonald is a member of the school’s National Honors and National Technical Honors Societies and is involved in student mentoring. During the course of her high school career, she also took part in the Essex Tech Art Club, GSA, is a member of the school’s horse judging team for FFA and literary magazine. She also works as a bank teller and, in her spare time, draws and paints at the Acorn Gallery School of Art in Marblehead.
“Charlotte and Julia were some of the hardest working young ladies to come through our program,” said Linda Corson, an equine science teacher. “They each have bright futures ahead of them, and it has been a pleasure to be their teacher.”
“We feel truly fortunate to have spent time working with young women with such enormous hearts and compassionate souls,” said Clarice Menesale, an equine science teacher. “We’ll miss them dearly in the Equine Science program.”
Harrington is a member of Essex Tech’s horse judging team for FFA, as well as the school’s National Technical Honor Society and National Honor Society. She joined the school Chorus and Drama Clubs earlier this year, and also plays the guitar and enjoys hiking.
“I had no idea what to expect coming into the school, and, knowing very few people, was worried that it would be easy to be isolated, with students from all different towns separated into shops, and a new community that was still developing its culture,” Harrington said. “What I found was quite the opposite, and I’ve branched out more than I would have ever expected. It’s been satisfying to watch the school grow as I grow relationships with the people I’ve met in it, and I’m happy with that.”
Both the valedictorian and salutatorian will be given the opportunity to give a speech to their peers when Essex Tech holds its graduation event, which is scheduled to take place Aug. 1 with a rain date of Aug. 2. Further information will be provided on the ceremony as it becomes available.
“They were kind, considerate, dedicated and professional every moment of their journey with us,” said Vanessa Wilde, an equine science teacher. “Their killer senses of humor brightened everyone’s days, including the horses.”
“They are both extremely hard working and amazing young women who are dedicated to their education and will go very far in life,” said Guidance Counselor Casey O’Donnell.
McDonald will attend UMass Amherst this fall, and will be a part of the Honors College as she studies pre-law. Harrington will attend UMass Lowell, and will be a part of the Honors College as she studies psychology.