The Future Plans and Reflections of Five 2016 Graduates

At Hyde we have the privilege of working with an exceptional group of young people, and to be part of their growth as they challenge themselves to discover their unique potential and develop their character to its fullest. Graduation gives us time to reflect on the tremendous accomplishments of those moving on to college, taking with them the skills they learned at Hyde as well as some great memories. We asked a few of our graduates this year to share what they most valued about their time at Hyde and to give us a glimpse into their future plans. Then we also asked them to leave some advice for the undergrads.

Jillian Tolman

Jillian Tolman
Jillian Tolman

Hyde-Bath
Hometown: Raymond, Maine

What college are you attending?

Keene State College in New Hampshire

What are you looking forward to the most there?

I’m looking forward to studying psychology. I’ve always been interested and I’m excited to learn more about it. I also think it will be neat living farther away, because although I board at school, I am still only an hour away from home, and often visit my family more than other students.

How do you feel Hyde has prepared you for the next phase of your education?

I have developed a strong work ethic that I would not have received from my local high school. My time management with academics has improved and I have grown into a curious learner. I am looking forward to applying this at Keene State next year.

What is one thing that you have learned here that you will take with you?

One thing I have learned from Hyde is to never give up. When things get tough, I always continue to push myself. This past winter I was challenged to look at myself as not just an athlete. That feedback encouraged me to go out for a role in the school play. Performing arts isn’t my favorite thing but I found the courage to get out of my comfort zone and try something new and have fun with it.

What will you miss most about Hyde?

I will miss the people the most. I have built strong partnerships with the faculty and formed great friendships with my peers. I hope to continue these partnerships and friendships beyond Hyde.

Do you have any advice for the undergraduates?

My advice is to accept the process and trust it. When I first arrived at Hyde I was nervous and a bit shy. The public speaking aspects of Hyde and all the leadership opportunities helped me mature and grow out of my shyness. Hyde can be very time consuming and stressful at times, but is rewarding by the end.


Aaron Cao

Aaron Cao
Aaron Cao

Hyde-Woodstock
Hometown: Shanghai, China

What college are you attending?

Rutgers or Penn State University

What are you looking forward to the most there?

I am looking forward to finding an academic major that truly fits me. Also, I think the large student population at college will be an opportunity not only to make new friends, but also to learn more about myself.

How do you feel Hyde has prepared you for the next phase of your education?

Hyde’s character education and its words and principles have prepared me to face challenges with determination and a clear conscience. Also, I’ve relied on Hyde’s focus on finding one’s unique potential to help me to set goals and discover what I am passionate about.

What is one thing that you have learned here that you will take with you?

I learned that you need to have some humility in life. Knowing that there is something greater than myself propels me to pursue my best and to find the truth with rationality and a little modesty.

What will you miss the most about Hyde?

Hyde’s close-knitted community, its performing arts program, and its wisdom.

Do you have any advice for the undergraduates?

Be honest with yourself—be aware of what you are doing and why you are doing it. The truth is always out there, but to find it or not is solely up to you. It’s good to have structure in your life. Conscience is the voice of your inner self, listen to it and you will find out who you really are.


Shemar Jack

Shemar Jack
Shemar Jack

Hyde-Bath
Hometown: Hempstead, New York

What college are you attending?

Assumption College in Worcester, Massachusetts

What are you looking forward to the most there?

At Assumption College I’m really looking forward to playing college football. I am also looking forward to meeting my fellow classmates for the next four years.

How do you feel Hyde has prepared you for the next phase of your education?

I feel as though Hyde has strengthened not only my study habits but also my work ethics. One thing I will be taking to the next level will be nightly study hall.

What is one thing that you have learned here that you will take with you?

One thing I learned here at Hyde would be not only to lead by example, but to be a vocal leader as well.

What will you miss the most about Hyde?

I will miss the connection I had with the faculty here. This was the key to having the successful senior year that I had. Also the family program—this helped me create a much greater relationship with my parents.

Do you have any advice for the undergraduates?

My advice for the underclassmen would be to take every aspect of the senior year seriously, especially your partnership with the faculty. This will play a huge role in your senior year.


Melissa Leventhal

Melissa Leventhal
Melissa Leventhal

Hyde-Woodstock
Hometown: Basking Ridge, New Jersey

What college are you attending?

The University of Massachusetts in Amherst, MA

What are you looking forward to the most there?

Being able to study a subject that I love (Psych).

How do you feel Hyde has prepared you for the next phase of your education?

Hyde helped me to become more confident as a leader and to develop a good work ethic. Hyde also taught me a lot about working in small groups and public speaking—skills that will help me in college, not only in the classroom but also as a member of the college community.

What is one thing that you have learned here that you will take with you?

I learned that having structure in my life helps keep me on track.

What will you miss most about Hyde?

I loved Performing Arts—it was an opportunity to take risks and learn about myself—and fun too!

Do you have any advice for the undergraduates?

Take your senior year seriously—it will be over before you know it.


Nadia Aikebaier

Nadia Aikebaier
Nadia Aikebaier

Hyde-Bath
Hometown: Chengdu China

What college are you attending?

The University of California at Irvine, CA

What are you looking forward to the most there?

When I go to college, I can finally make my own decisions, and I will be able to explore new academic subjects and discover what is really helpful for my future.

How do you feel Hyde has prepared you for the next phase of your education?

Hyde helped me to develop confidence speaking English, my second language. I feel I am now able to communicate correctly and effectively with other people. And in college I will be able to speak confidently with my teachers and classmates.

What is one thing that you have learned here that you will take with you?

Leadership. Before Hyde I lacked confidence as a leader. But the character education program and the public speaking skills I learned at Hyde helped me to become a confident leader.

What will you miss the most about Hyde?

I will miss the connection I had with other students and faculty. It was really wonderful to have so many caring people in my life, helping me everyday.

Do you have any advice for the undergraduates?

Challenge yourself to go beyond the basic expectations, and help each other when your classmates are struggling.