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posted: Mon, Feb 1st, 2016

Alumni Panel encourages students to make the most of MOHS

On Thursday, January 7th sixteen Mount Olive High School Alumni from the Class of 2015 returned to MOHS to participate in the 11th annual Alumni Panel event. In the past, the event was only run for juniors and seniors as they finished submitting applications for college and began preparations for life after high school; however, beginning two years ago the event was broken down into two separate programs, one for 9th and 10th graders and the other for 11th and 12th graders.

Moderated by Mr. Stansberry, MOHS principal, the first program for freshmen and sophomores focused on which classes to take in high school and how to augment one's high school career. Another program, geared towards juniors and seniors, featured how to adjust to college life and how to make the most of opportunities at MOHS.

This year's Alumni Panel participants were: Thomas Wisnewski, Chetan Kamath, Michael Garth, Isabella Amorim, Kelly Mellusi, Brooke Speas, Madisyn Mugavero, Emily Silkowski, Claudio Sanchez, Sarah Wells, Lillie Rolsing, Matthew Buzzelli, Chris Grillo, Ashley Piserchio, Claire Callaghan, and Kariem Morssy.

To begin, the alumni introduced themselves and stated where they are going to school and what they are majoring in at college. The list of majors showed a wide range of interests and fields, including English, Psychology, Diplomacy, Computer Science, Business, Molecular Biology, and Education just to name a few.

Alumni were asked how to plan their course selections at MOHS to make the most of their high school careers. Wisnewski said to "Dabble in classes you're interested in during freshman and sophomore years. Then, if you can, take AP (Advanced Placement) classes in the upper grades." Many of the students agreed with Wisnewski's suggestion and said that it is best to try out different electives and courses while students are in high school so they know what might interest them for future studies. For example, Garth took a forensic science elective at MOHS and enjoyed the field of study so much that he is majoring in Archaeology at Brown University.

Mr. Stansberry, posed the question to students, "What would you do over at MOHS if given the opportunity," and one of the predominant themes in the responses was to challenge themselves more while at MOHS. A few students said they had wished they had taken AP classes and tests to help earn them college credits. Garth said he "would pay attention more and write things down," and he would take advantage of more of the opportunities and learning available to him here.

As for the college application process, alumni said they researched the colleges and applied to a variety of schools to maximize their potential choices. They considered the cost of the college, potential scholarships, the size of the college, and the availability of majors before applying to schools. Mugavero suggested getting applications done early during senior year. She had applied Early Action to Salve Regina and knew she had gotten into the school before Thanksgiving, which took a weight off her shoulders during senior year.

As for some of the differences between high school and college, the alumni agreed that there is a greater amount of work but with a greater amount of freedom. Speas said that one of her professors at Ohio State told her class that for every hour of class time, students should be spending four hours preparing work outside of class for that course.

One of Mr. Stansberry's final questions for the alumni was whether or not they felt prepared for life outside of high school after leaving MOHS. Mellusi said she felt prepared because she put a lot of effort into her time at MOHS. She also stated that high school is what you make of it, and the more effort you put into it, the more you will learn. Mugavero echoed Mellusi's sentiments, adding that she had great English Language Arts teachers all four years, who prepared her for the rigors of college essay writing.

Morssy concluded the program by praising MOHS teachers. He said, "You have some of the best teachers in the world at this school. They don't just teach you the subject; they teach you how to be a better person."

Thank you to all of the alumni who donated their time to help benefit the students of MOHS!

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Mount Olive High School
18 Corey Road Flanders, NJ 07836
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