Honor Grads excited for future, grateful for support

Honor Grads Lydia DeFusto, Katelyn Zirilli, Deanna Villegas, Shannon Doherty, Nina Pasquini and Constance Bouchard smile at the camera outside the high school entrance.
Honor Grads Lydia DeFusto, Katelyn Zirilli, Deanna Villegas, Shannon Doherty, Nina Pasquini and Constance Bouchard.

More than 30 years ago, Goshen High School administrators began honoring the top six graduating seniors instead of the traditional top two. It was found that these high-achieving students held GPAs so close – merely hundredths of a point apart – that the district felt they all deserved to be honored for their accomplishments. And so the Goshen tradition of honoring the top six Honor Grads began.

Honor Grads The tradition runs strong today, and for good reason. For the past four years, Honor Grads Constance Bouchard, Lydia DeFusto, Shannon Doherty, Nina Pasquini, Deanna Villegas and Katelyn Zirilli immersed themselves in extra-curricular activities, volunteer work, and interscholastic athletics – all while dedicating themselves to achieving high academic standards.

It won’t be long before they head out into the world, taking with them their memories and lessons learned. But each can recall how their school chose to celebrate their accomplishments together as the Class of 2017 Honor Grads.

Constance Bouchard

Constance will attend Boston University where she will major in business with a concentration in accounting. She is the daughter of John and Jeanne Bouchard of Goshen.

Extra-curricular activities/athletics: Student Government Treasurer, Student Senate President, National Honor Society, World Language Honor Society, basketball and tennis.

Awards/Honors: AP Scholar, honor roll.

On being an Honor Grad: “It is an amazing honor to be named an Honor Grad. It has been my dream since I saw both my brother and sister become an Honor Grad.”

On her favorite teacher: “My favorite teacher that influenced me is Mrs. Barquero. I worked closely with her for Student Government and she is an amazing woman who is extremely supportive and a teacher whom I feel comfortable with.”

On her success: “I credit my success to my family. They constantly supported me throughout high school. I credit my older siblings the most for being amazing role models, setting an example for the type of person I want to be.”

Lydia DeFusto

Lydia will attend Brown University where she will major in English or History. She is the daughter of Anthony DeFusto and Elizabeth Tarvin.

Extra-curricular activities/athletics: National Honor Society President, World Language Honor Society, Symphonic Band, All-County, Area-All State and NYSBDA for flute, Odyssey of the Mind, Student Government, Student Senate.

Honors/Awards: First place in the Ninth Judicial District Women’s History Month essay contest, National Latin Exam Summa Cum Laude, AP Scholar with Honors, Goshen Great, various Academic Achievement Awards.

On feeling prepared for the future: “I will walk out of Goshen High School as a clearer communicator, more globally aware citizen, and a more efficient learner. I am certain that these skills will provide useful in college and beyond.”

On what she looks forward to most after graduation: “I’m excited to live in a new city, meet new people and hear new ideas.”

On her success: “For the past four years, I have had teachers who were engaging, challenging and kind. I knew how hard they were working and how much they cared, which made me want to produce the best work I possibly could. I cannot thank them enough!”

Shannon Doherty

Shannon will attend Binghamton University Scholars Program where she will major in history. She is the daughter of Lynne and Michael Doherty of Goshen.

Extra-curricular activities/athletics: Member of National Honor Society, World Language Honor Society, stage band, advanced concert choir, spring musical, secretary of symphonic band and co-captain of the varsity swim team.

Honors/Awards: Accepted into the Binghamton Scholars Program.

On being an Honor Grad: “It’s a wonderful honor and I am greatly humbled to be named an Honor Grad.”

On what she’ll miss most about Goshen High School: “I will miss all of the supportive and passionate teachers who I have formed bonds with throughout these four years. All of these teachers have profoundly changed me for the better. I will also miss all of the wonderful friends I have made in these four years, who have made me the person I am today.”

On her favorite teachers: “Miss Panzer has been one of the most influential teachers throughout high school. She has opened my mind to the importance of learning history and has doubtlessly influenced my career path. Mrs. Longo has also influenced me by encouraging my passion for music and being so kind and supportive of me. Mr. Isseks, even though I have only known him for one year, has further encouraged my love for learning and his classes have been the highlight of my year.”

Nina Pasquini

Nina will major in Government, History and Science or Economics at Harvard College and possibly continue her studies at law school. She is the daughter of Hunhee and Victor Pasquini of Goshen.

Extra-Curricular activities/athletics: Mock Trial attorney and co-president, World Language Honor Society president, Chamber orchestra president, violinist in All-County and Area All-State Orchestra, National Honor Society, Odyssey of the Mind, varsity tennis.

Honors/Awards: National Merit Scholar, National Latin Exam Gold Medal, AP Scholar with Distinction, Goshen Greats in Biology Honors, Advanced Latin and AP Literature & Composition.

On being an Honor Grad: “While I am thrilled to be named an Honor Grad, I also feel that my hard work has manifested itself in many more important ways – the things I leaned and became passionate about, the relationships I made, etc.”

On feeling prepared for the future: “Goshen High School provided an environment where I could try different things without fear of failure. I could try new sports, take challenging classes, and even become a mock trial attorney as a senior after being a quiet, reserved freshman.”

On what she looks forward to most after graduation: “I look forward to broadening my horizons and realizing how much more there is to the world than Goshen by learning new subjects, studying abroad, and meeting people from all over the country and world.”

Deanna Villegas

Deanna will major in early childhood and elementary education at Nazareth College, and hopes to enroll in Teach for America after graduation. She is the daughter of Dale and Diane Villegas of Middletown.

Extra-curricular activities/athletics: Interact Club, Leo Club membership coordinator, treasurer of Future Educators of America, varsity tennis.

Honors/Awards: Outstanding Teacher Award in Education and Management Class, valedictorian of Orange-Ulster BOCES CTEC.

On what she’ll most about Goshen High School: “I will miss the atmosphere of Goshen High School. I love walking in the halls and interacting with fellow students, teachers and faculty members. Even if I don’t know them by name, I feel a connection with them, like we have each others’ backs. I will miss the friendly faces as I walk through new, unfamiliar hallways.”

On feeling prepared for the future: “All of my wonderful teachers are role models to me and someday I will use what they have taught me in my very own classroom.”

On what she looks forward to most after graduation: “I want to explore new places and cultures, help and teach others, and enjoy new experiences. I hope to do this through study-abroad and religion-based mission trips.”

Katelyn Zirilli

Katelyn will participate in the London Honors Program at Houghton College where she will major in inclusive elementary education. She is the daughter of David and Rachel Zirilli of Hamptonburgh.

Extra-curricular activities/athletics: Student Government, Student Senate, treasurer of Interact Club, treasurer of World Language Honor Society, National Honor Society, track and filed, soccer, basketball, tennis.

Honors/Awards: Rotary Youth Leadership Award, Honor Roll, Honors in multiple subjects, Goshen Great.

On being an Honor Grad: “When I first came to Goshen Schools in eighth grade, I heard about the top six and I decided that one day I would be one of those six. I am so happy to finally have achieved this goal that I have worked really hard to achieve.”

On feeling prepared for the future: “I will go to college with over 20 credits from the OCCC and AP classes I had the opportunity to take over the past four years.”

On her success: “I credit my success to God, my family, my friends and my teachers.”