New Castle News

June 8, 2012

Super Grad 3: Shenango senior a busy volunteer

Tory Irwin
New Castle News

NEW CASTLE — With graduation season here, certain seniors have records that shine.

Shenango senior Michelle Watson is one of them.

  Watson has been involved in several clubs and organizations during her years at Shenango. She is a member of SADD, Spanish Club, Peer Leadership, Student Council, National Honor Society and the volleyball, softball and track teams. Through peer leadership, she has participated in a peer buddy mentor program and been a part of two events held to raise money for the Make-A-Wish foundation, each earning $4,500 for the charity.

Outside of school, Watson has volunteered with Royal Family Kids’ Camp (a summer camp for abused and neglected children), Big Brothers Big Sisters of America, Life Long Learning Choices, the BooFest and summer reading parade at Cascade Park and St. Vitus Church’s  food drive and bazaar.

Watson couldn’t imagine her high school career going differently. She loves helping people, and doesn’t think she would have reached the level of maturity she is at today without volunteering.

“It’s definitely shaped who I am. I see things differently,” she said. “It’s helped me to have more of an understanding of issues that I’m going through or that other people are going through.

“If that were me, I’d want somewhere to be there for me.”

The end of high school — she and her classmates graduate tomorrow — doesn’t mean the end of Watson’s volunteer work. She plans to continue working with Royal Family, as well as finding other programs to be involved when she starts attending Robert Morris University in the fall. She will major in nursing and continueher involvement in track.

To those she’s leaving in the halls of Shenango, Watson offers some advice.

“I’d say probably the most important thing would be not be afraid to ask for help,” she said. “Whether you’re struggling in class or going through something, just realizing that you’re not alone and that there are people that will help you.

Watson also maintains that when things seem overwhelming, prioritizing your schedule can be a big relief. She says that she balanced her busy workload by being opportunistic about free time in school to get work done, clearing her schedule to be able to do the activities she loves.

Though she’ll miss her friends and the sports and clubs she’s been involved in, Watson is looking forward to getting a new start.

“It’s so bittersweet,” she said. “That’s honestly the only word to describe it. It’s hard to realize that I’m never going to walk the halls with the kids I’ve been in school with since kindergarten.

“But on the other hand, it’s exciting to get a new start and to begin this new chapter in my life. So regardless, it’s bittersweet. It’s exciting, it’s depressing, it’s awesome. All of the above.”