Top 10 Profiles

Kayla Dos Reis Sousa is graduating MHS having spent two years at Bunker Hill Community College.

Class Orator: Kayla Dos Reis Sousa

Kayla Dos Reis Sousa, a graduate of the Malden High School Class of 2019, has been one of the pioneering students for Malden High’s partnership with Bunker Hill Community College, the Dual Enrollment Program. She spent her freshman and sophomore years at MHS studying with a conventional schedule, attending classes normally and participating in track. She excelled particularly in her Spanish and English classes, noting that “though [her] high school career is minimal [she] became very close with [Yahaira] Marquez and [Sharon] Kallagher,” who saw her interest in each subject and incentivized her learning in their respective classes. Her junior year, Sousa made the transition to Dual Enrollment, opting for a less confining academic schedule that would allow her to maintain her job. She comments that guidance counselor Ann O’Connor “made the transition so much smoother” and that she is “thankful for the resources MHS provides to cater to all students and their preferences.” In the fall, she will continue to further her education at Bunker Hill as a full time student in order to obtain her Associates Degree and transfer into another college or university in the future.


#4: Emily Woo

Emily Woo is graduating MHS having participated in many clubs.

Emily Woo is an outstanding student in the class of 2019.

Woo joined Interact Club her freshman year, and has been the secretary of the club since junior year. She was also a part of Movie Production Club and SNHS (Science National Honor Society) since junior year, which was also the year that both clubs were founded.

Woo has been involved in Crew since her freshman year. Woo was assigned to be a coxswain just two weeks into practice, and while she had no idea what that was at that time, “now, [she is] more confident in [her] job”, which is to steer the boat, give directions to her  teammates, and to motivate them during the race. Woo mentions that “this responsibility has trained [her] to be more clear-headed and determined.”

Outside of school, Woo loves to play ping pong and badminton. Woo loves to hike as well, because “it is nice to escape from [her] busy life and embrace nature.” She also enjoys traveling, because “it allows [her] to explore the characteristics of different cultures.”

Woo is going to miss a lot from high school, including her friends, her teachers, and “the valuable experience of coxing in the crew team.”

She credits her freshman and junior year English teacher Margaret Giberson as someone who was essential in the success of her high school career. She mentions that freshman year, she had just moved to Malden from Hong Kong, “so [she] was not confident in [her] English, and was shy to talk in class, so [she] would go to Mrs. Giberson’s room after school and ask for advice to improve [her] writing.”

Woo adds that “[Giberson] also helped build up [her] confidence by recognizing [her] improvement.” She also wanted to thank her biology teacher in 9th and 11th grade, Diem Phan, saying that “she [was] like a friend to [her].”

Woo added that “although [she has] gotten used to the environment here, sometimes [she] still feel[s] like [she is] new to this country due to the cultural difference, and hope[s] the college experience will help [her] further assimilate into American society.”

Woo is planning to go to the Honors College at UMass Amherst in the fall. She is going to major in nutrition “because [she] wants to connect [her] interest in science to daily life.”

In the future Woo wants to be a nutritionist/dietitian “since [she thinks] it is necessary to teach people more about how to implement a healthy lifestyle.”

She would like to plan healthy diets for specific individuals. “{She} hopes that [she] will be able to improve [her] patients’ health by using [her] nutrition knowledge as an alternative to medication.


#5: Sean Tran

Sean Tran is graduating Malden High looking toward a career in STEM.

Sean Tran leaves Malden High having accumulated great experiences along the way and as one of the top academically ranked students in the class of 2019.

A student with many interests, Tran has dipped his toes in various extracurricular activities throughout high school. He competed in track and cross-country his freshman year, helped start the MHS Ping-Pong Club, and co-founded the MHS Math Team this year alongside fellow class of 2019 member Thomas Tran.

Tran explained that he always “look[s] towards future possibilities” which persuades him to continue to “branch out and try a lot of different things.” “[He] notice[s] that [he burns] through a lot of things quickly so [he is] always open to trying new things,” said Tran. His level of comfort in various different areas has allowed Tran to meet and build relationships “with a mesh of personalities,” all with different levels of studiousness, which he has come to enjoy. 

Throughout high school, Tran has always gravitated towards STEM because he has always been interested in “the physical properties of the world” and applied mathematics. Tran highlighted science teacher Brian Morrison and math teacher Cara Joyce as two of his mentors in the faculty that have most helped him along the way.

“They have been extremely real with me and have thought me a little bit more about being a person than maybe I would have liked to know.”

In the fall, Tran will attend the University of Massachusetts Amherst with a declared major of Chemistry. Tran is unsure if he will switch his major to Engineering or any other STEM field.


#6: Joanne Ho

Joanna Ho is graduating Malden High having many leadership roles.

Joanne Ho graduates from the Class of 2019 after a lively four years that included many strenuous courses and extracurricular activities.

President of the American Red Cross Club and captain of the swim team, Ho built up her leadership skills throughout high school and took the initiative to give back to the community on numerous occasions. Linking up with the American Red Cross, Ho helped organize several blood drives in her years at the high school. In addition, she, along with her fellow swim team members, also volunteered for a swim clinic held on the weekends, teaching kids how to swim completely free.

Joanne Ho reflected on her overall MHS experience with fondness, citing the diversity of the student body as one of the things she revered the most. 

“The diversity at Malden high is definitely one of the biggest factors that allowed me to have such a fantastic four years here. I was exposed to so many cultures, traditions, and amazing people, and for that, I’m extremely grateful to have spent my high school career at Malden High.”

Ho also credited the faculty at MHS for her positive experience, stating that “the teachers here truly, genuinely care about their students and form meaningful relationships that allow [students] to thrive even through the toughest of times.”

In particular, Ho pointed science teacher Brian Morrison and history teacher Gregory Hurley for being “huge sources of support that motivated [her] to try [her] hardest senior year.”     

Joanne Ho will begin a new chapter in her life this fall when she heads to the University of Massachusetts at Amherst to pursue a degree in biology, as a first-generation college student. In the long term, she hopes to attend medical school and pursue a career in pediatrics. 


#7: Novia Li

Novia Li is graduating Malden High looking forward to Tufts University.

Novia Li is an academically gifted member of the class of 2019.

Li has stayed involved in various forms around the school. She was co-founder and Vice President of Science National Honor Society since junior year, and president of Interact Club for three years. She was also co-founder and president of Culture Connection for two years. Outside of school, Li also did a lot of internships for bioengineering as well, and did some environmental work with Sunrise and ACE.

Painting is one of Li’s many strengths. She speaks on this, talking about how she “like[s] expressing [herself] on paper, and that “it honestly just makes [her] very happy and it’s a way to de-stress.” Li is skilled in various forms of art including digital, watercolor, and and acrylic. Apart from painting, Li also enjoys listening to music, and watching Korean dramas.

Li is going to miss “the carefree nature” that high school brings. She expands on this saying that the move to college makes “things feel more real and actions means more.” However, Li “couldn’t be happier” about where she is headed.

Li is committed to attend Tufts University this fall. With great options in front of her, Li decided on Tufts due to her wanting “to go into engineering but also want[ing] to get a liberal arts education,” which made Tufts “perfect.” She also loved that students at Tufts “don’t compete with one another but with themselves and collaborate with one another.”

The offer from Tufts was also an easy one to accept due to how “[she’ll] be close to home where [she] can visit [her] family members.” Li’s greatest motivators throughout high school were her parents, who “have done a lot for [her and her education].”

She went into high school with the goal of being “able to go to a good college and come out with zero debt to make [her parents and herself] happy,” and is ecstatic that her goal was realized.


#8: Paolina Fornari

Paolina Fornari is graduating Malden High with intent to pursue her love of arts.

Paolina Fornari is another exceptional member of the class of 2019.

Fornari can be somewhat defined by her passion for art. She is currently the Vice President of the Fine Arts Club, which she has been part of it since she transferred to Malden High her sophomore year. Fornari talked about how “[she’s] been drawing for as long as [she] can remember,” and even though [she doesn’t] have a specific career in mind that [she’d] like to jump into after college, [she] hope[s] that with whatever [she does] in the future and even now, [she has] the opportunity to use [her] art to make people feel more included and represented and help those who are already overrepresented have more empathy and understanding for those who are not.”

Apart from art, Fornari is also interested in “current events, politics, and trying to make the world a better place.” Because of this, she has become actively involved in the Malden High School Democrats and the Malden Youth Civics Council since last year.

Fornari is “going to miss the people at Malden High the most,” but “the excitement of starting a new journey, making new friends, and having more freedom is helping [her] accept that this chapter of [her] life is coming to a close.” Fornari’s hopes for the future motivated her the most throughout high school.  She mentions that while there’s “a lot of anxiety about the future-whether [she’ll] get a job, what job that will be... something [she has] been looking forward to for all of high school is the freedom [she’ll] have after [she] graduate[s] to make more of [her] decisions and do more of what [she] love[s].” 

Fornari is headed to UMass Dartmouth’s College of Visual and Performing Arts in the fall. She will be majoring in Integrated Studio Arts. She was drawn to this major because she “can’t imagine [herself] only sticking to just illustration, just animation, or just graphic design,” and “want[s] to involve them all in [her] education.” 

Fornari was drawn to UMass Dartmouth because she “like[s] having the option to take other classes that aren’t in visual arts, like Women’s and Gender Studies or Psychology classes that could help inform [her] art.” The choice of UMass Dartmouth also came from how “art schools can be lacking in diversity due to the financial barriers it takes to get into them,” and Fornari thinks “surrounding [herself] with diversity in every really important to [her] development as a person and as an artist.” 

#9: Brendan Vo

Brendan Vo is graduating Malden High with sights on Brandeis University.

Brenden Vo is one of the most academically talented members of the class of 2019. Despite this, he has stayed a humble and approachable person. 

Throughout high school Vo has maintained good grades, while at the same time being involved in extracurriculars. He was in Chemistry Club junior and senior year, Science National Honors Society senior year, and Key Club and Ping Pong Club for four years. He became Treasurer of Ping Pong Club senior year. Vo has enjoyed being a part of Ping Pong Club, and says he liked “being involved in the club for the sport, but also because of the people, because after being in the club so long, [the members] all got really close.” Regarding other sports, Vo also did Crew his freshman year. 

As far as hobbies, Vo enjoys playing video games and hanging out with his friends. Vo is especially going to miss science teachers Brian Morrison and Martin Berryman, who had a great influence on his high school career. Senior Nina Nguyen has known Vo since middle school. She talks about him saying that “besides being one of the smartest people [she] know[s], Brenden is someone who many enjoy being around.” She expands on that, saying that “he has a fun personality that never fails to make people laugh.”

While Vo is excited to leave high school, he is also sad about the teachers and friends he is going to leave behind. 

As far as motivators throughout high school, Vo credits his mother who “pushed [him] to do the best [he] could do.” 

In the fall, Vo will be attending Brandeis University here in Massachusetts. After being accepted to respected institutions including UMass Amherst and Boston College, he decided on Brandeis because of the research opportunities that they offer. He is going to be majoring in Bio-Chem, and in the future he hopes to be involved in Alzheimer’s research. 

#10: Melody Wong

Melody Wong is graduating Malden High with sights on a future in nursing.

Melody Wong leaves Malden High after an eventful four years that saw her step out of her comfort zones and get involved in various ventures.

In Wong’s freshman year, she decided to join the crew team, which was the first time she had ever partaken in competitive sports. As a novice to competitive sports, she was driven “to work extra hard” to keep up and had a “difficulties balancing sports with her academics.” 

In addition, Wong also volunteered with the MHS Key Club throughout her four years.

Academically, Wong was motivated to excel in terms of her grades and took several rigorous courses that pushed her throughout her high school career. 

“I was able to motivate myself knowing that one day it will pay off, not only with good grades but with the knowledge that would make my college experience easier.”

Wong also credited MHS teachers Gregory Hurley, Brian Morrison, and Rebecca Corcoran as mentors who she could ask for advice and “gave [her] an environment where [she] felt safe and was able to work.”

Her fondest memory of high school is her junior year trip to Italy with the Tornado Travellers club. Wong described the trip as an opportunity to “travel and explore with her close friend” as well as meet and build relationships with teachers and peers she had never met before. 

Wong will attend the University of Rhode Island’s College of Nursing in the fall.    

Rebeca Pereira

Rebeca Pereira, Editor in Chief of The Blue and Gold, is entering her third year in the class and her fourth, and last, year of high school. In spite of the immense responsibility inherent in senior year, Pereira remains optimistic, knowing she can rely on the solidarity of her friends and the guidance of her teachers. Apart from the relationships she’s built, Pereira appreciates most her time spent leading MHS’s Feminism Club and volunteering as a peer tutor with MTEC. Extracurricularly, Pereira enjoys listening and playing music, reading both novels and news articles, watching late night and stand-up comedy, and a her new hobby, cooking. She’s also active in her religious community and plans to carry her interests and activities with her to college, where she plans to study either Journalism or International Relations.

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