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The Bae Diaries

By Brittni Henderson

I visited my high school alma mater one day in August to conduct an interview with one of my former teachers. The last time I stepped foot at Smithfield High was probably three or four years ago, so it felt a little strange walking through the hallways that were once my home for four years. The cafeteria is painted a different color, there are new murals where there were once blank hallway walls, and new teachers made themselves at home in classrooms once claimed by ones that have long since moved on in their careers and/or personal lives. As I walked through the cafeteria, I looked out into the courtyard where I once spent lunchtimes hanging with friends and noticed that the gazebo that we all rebelliously tagged our names on years ago was now gone.

“What happened to the gazebo?!” I asked frantically.

“Oh, that’s been gone now for seven, maybe eight years,” my former teacher laughed.

Eight years. Wow—where have I been? Those measly eight years pale in comparison to the 50 years that Smithfield High School will be reaching this year. A half century ago, the home of the Sentinel was born. Almost nine years ago I graduated from this high school, and so much has changed in just a decade’s time. To commemorate the golden anniversary, I reached out to other graduates who have a special place in their hearts for their high school. Here’s what I found.

Brittany Medeiros ’11 owes her college preparedness to her time spent at SHS. She shares that this school challenged her to be more than just average, not be afraid to work hard, and not be intimidated by larger workloads. Teachers at SHS not only helped her do her best school wise, but also went out of their ways to make sure that once she was ready to apply for college, it was affordable for her. Ms. Busam was one teacher in particular that sticks out for Medeiros. She helped her apply to over 60 scholarships! Medeiros was able to graduate college a year early due to the college-level classes she took in high school, too.

Kasey Carberry-Pagnozzi ’00 shares a similar sentiment. Teachers like Ann Andrews and Mrs. Hopkins always gave her the motivation she needed to get through even the toughest days. Pagnozzi notes that if it weren’t for Hopkins’ music and drama classes, things would be much different for her today. Now, she is working as a successful and talented Assistant Manager at the prestigious makeup brand MAC cosmetics.

Wendy Karspeck ’85 agrees that Smithfield High School provided her with a solid education to carry with her into college. For her, the bonds she formed with friends, even years after she graduated are what she cherishes the most. According to her post on The Smithfield Times Facebook page, she considers many of these friends, even from classes other than her own, just like family.

Deb D’Amario Violette ’85 owes her success in All State Band to her former teacher Alan Tinkman. Tinkman pushed her skills on the trumpet beyond anything she would have done on her own. Thanks to this motivation, Violette was able to lead the trumpet section for two years. According to Violette, no one ever pushed or explored her potential like that in her entire life. She also has a strong personal connection to a classmate she has known since 7th grade. Violette and best friend Gina Colantuono were inseperable. Colantuono’s family was like a second family for her, with her parents being one of the strongest support systems in her life. She owes many friendships and contacts to Colantuono.

Tammy Dailey’s ‘78 memories are some of the most unique. She was a student at Smithfield High School at a time when there was a majorette team, which she was a proud member; ping pong, knitting, and crochet clubs; and a Sentinel riding a horse at pep rally. Guidance counselor Bob Salisbury had a great impact on her life. When she was ready to give up, he wasn’t. He pushed her and truly kept her best interest at heart. Principal Henry Shepard was like a father figure to her, too. These teachers, as well as many others, were full of compassion and kindness. Without them, she isn’t sure she would have ever graduated. Now, Dailey has two children of her own that were once Sentinels. The tradition continues!

Do you have a unique or special story about your time at Smithfield High School? Share it with us on Facebook!

26 September 2016
visited my high school alma mater one day in August to conduct an interview with one of my former teachers. The last time I stepped foot at Smithfield High was probably three or four years ago, so it felt a little strange walking through the hallways that were once my home for four years. The cafeteria is painted a different color, there are new murals where there were once blank hallway walls, and new teachers made themselves at home in classrooms once claimed by ones that have long since moved on in their careers and/or personal lives. As I walked through the cafeteria, I looked out into the courtyard where I once spent lunchtimes hanging with friends and noticed that the gazebo that we all rebelliously tagged our names on years ago was now gone.

“What happened to the gazebo?!” I asked frantically.

“Oh, that’s been gone now for seven, maybe eight years,” my former teacher laughed.

Eight years. Wow—where have I been? Those measly eight years pale in comparison to the 50 years that Smithfield High School will be reaching this year. A half century ago, the home of the Sentinel was born. Almost nine years ago I graduated from this high school, and so much has changed in just a decade’s time. To commemorate the golden anniversary, I reached out to other graduates who have a special place in their hearts for their high school. Here’s what I found.

Brittany Medeiros ’11 owes her college preparedness to her time spent at SHS. She shares that this school challenged her to be more than just average, not be afraid to work hard, and not be intimidated by larger workloads. Teachers at SHS not only helped her do her best school wise, but also went out of their ways to make sure that once she was ready to apply for college, it was affordable for her. Ms. Busam was one teacher in particular that sticks out for Medeiros. She helped her apply to over 60 scholarships! Medeiros was able to graduate college a year early due to the college-level classes she took in high school, too.

Kasey Carberry-Pagnozzi ’00 shares a similar sentiment. Teachers like Ann Andrews and Mrs. Hopkins always gave her the motivation she needed to get through even the toughest days. Pagnozzi notes that if it weren’t for Hopkins’ music and drama classes, things would be much different for her today. Now, she is working as a successful and talented Assistant Manager at the prestigious makeup brand MAC cosmetics.

Wendy Karspeck ’85 agrees that Smithfield High School provided her with a solid education to carry with her into college. For her, the bonds she formed with friends, even years after she graduated are what she cherishes the most. According to her post on The Smithfield Times Facebook page, she considers many of these friends, even from classes other than her own, just like family.

Deb D’Amario Violette ’85 owes her success in All State Band to her former teacher Alan Tinkman. Tinkman pushed her skills on the trumpet beyond anything she would have done on her own. Thanks to this motivation, Violette was able to lead the trumpet section for two years. According to Violette, no one ever pushed or explored her potential like that in her entire life. She also has a strong personal connection to a classmate she has known since 7th grade. Violette and best friend Gina Colantuono were inseperable. Colantuono’s family was like a second family for her, with her parents being one of the strongest support systems in her life. She owes many friendships and contacts to Colantuono.

Tammy Dailey’s ‘78 memories are some of the most unique. She was a student at Smithfield High School at a time when there was a majorette team, which she was a proud member; ping pong, knitting, and crochet clubs; and a Sentinel riding a horse at pep rally. Guidance counselor Bob Salisbury had a great impact on her life. When she was ready to give up, he wasn’t. He pushed her and truly kept her best interest at heart. Principal Henry Shepard was like a father figure to her, too. These teachers, as well as many others, were full of compassion and kindness. Without them, she isn’t sure she would have ever graduated. Now, Dailey has two children of her own that were once Sentinels. The tradition continues!

Do you have a unique or special story about your time at Smithfield High School? Share it with us on Facebook!