Erika Hanson, who rounds out the top five graduates in Malden High School’s class of 2013, expresses that “Growing up and being young should be fun.” As her years of high school dwindled down to her senior year, Hanson had transferred from Suffield Academy, a private boarding school, to our very own Malden High School.

“The transition was natural and easy, I love the environment and loved my first day of school,” she explained. However, MHS’ known diversity was a big change for Hanson as her previous school was not fortunate enough to have such diversity. Despite the change, Hanson adjusted with ease and “discovered who [she] is and what [she] is interested in [along] with what she wants to do with her life. [She also] opened up to trying new things.”

Since her freshman year, Hanson’s main goal was to work on her self-confidence, something she says was her biggest struggle throughout high school. High school has taught Hanson not to let people get the best of her, but at the same time it was a good learning experience that helped her grow as a person. She has been trying to “take care of [herself] and spend time with [her] friends and family.” Taking time for herself and opening up to her parents about stress and necessities is sometimes still difficult for Hanson to overcome, but she likes to step back and look at the larger picture.

Hanson has now realized as a newfound person that she is passionate about letting herself experience new things in life, such as studying abroad and finding her inner self. The one thing she wants to take from high school and move onto college with is that “growing up and being young is about having fun, because at the end of the day that is what matters” to her the most.

While Hanson puts in tons of effort to find herself, she also encourages other students to form good relationships with teachers in the school because they have been such a good support system for her. Whenever she was in trouble or needed help there was always a teacher in the building whom Hanson could depend on to show her some “really good insight.” Hand in hand with this knowledge from her teachers has been advice passed down from her mother. “She has a lot of common sense and I would not think of myself as [academic, but] she taught me to look at different point of view helping me to get good grades,” Hanson said of her mother.

Opportunity in Hanson’s future is what she is most nervous about. There are “different things to do, but also, the options are overwhelming and [she] is nervous to get in [her] own head and needs to believe in [herself].” However, it is clear she has a great support system in the friends she has made in her short time at MHS. As senior Jessalynne Brown states, she is “excited for Erika to study to become a nutritionist [at Simmons] because I know it is something she has always talked about being and she is really passionate about it.”

Hanson has always been a woman to strive for success; it is clear she is on a great path for the rest of her life.

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