Faced with the possibility of an abbreviated graduation ceremony this spring or summer, all four graduates of Martha’s Vineyard Charter Public School were unanimous in saying they wanted to wait as long as it takes to make it. the traditional and non-traditional charter school graduation experience. ceremony.
Graduation will take place in the fall or later if needed, but this past weekend faculty, friends and family celebrated Matt Gonsalves, Kathryn Cuthbert, Ethan Aubrey Taylor and Finn Cole with a surprise presentation from their diplomas at their home. The moment carried the same personal touch that the students said they experienced during their time at the charter school.
Matt, Kathryn, and Ethan all live on the vineyard while Finn made the seven-mile nautical trip across Vineyard Strait from Falmouth every day of the week. Finn started charter school in grade five, having previously been homeschooled. At the time, her two older brothers were still in charter school.
“Getting them around the boat made it easier for me,” he said.
Ethan came to charter school in fourth grade and immediately knew he was in the right place. “It was so much more individualized, they tailored everything for each child so that you learn exactly at the level you needed, which was really helpful,” he said.
Kathryn and Matt came in first grade. Kathryn had just returned to the Vineyard after living in Rhode Island. She said freeform planning was a big draw.
Matt had started his career in regional high school but decided to change on the recommendation of his best friend. Her older sister had graduated from a charter school in 2018 and also praised her time there.
“I wanted to travel and go places and have fun while in school, so I gave it a try and it has been fun ever since,” Matt said.
And they traveled. Over the years, the group has collectively visited Italy, Panama, New Orleans, Maine and Hartford.
“I think the charter school gave me a lot of opportunities to travel and see new places,” Finn said.
Students said the school also gives them the opportunity to explore their passions through mentorships with members of the island community and project periods, which allow for focused study on any topic of interest, academics to breeding.
Kathryn worked with horses in Misty Meadows during her mentorship.
“I just fell in love,” she said. “It became my passion to work with the horses there. “
She plans to major in equine barn management at Johnson and Whales University next year in Providence, RI
Matt’s mentorships included his work at Plane View Restaurant at Martha’s Vineyard Airport and State Road Restaurant in West Tisbury. He plans to work at the State Road Restaurant after graduation, learning as much as he can so he can one day open his own restaurant.
Finn is looking to devote himself to firefighting, especially fighting forest fires, but also hopes to gain more skills in landscaping, mechanics and other trades.
Ethan will be attending Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts in North Adams, where he plans to major in English. Her love of writing began in fifth grade when her teacher and some of the older charter school students guided her class through the journey of writing a novel.
“They really make sure you know there’s no wrong way to learn, it’s just what works for you,” Ethan said.