‘Bittersweet’ end

Hannah Shimura thinks about the end of her Stratford High School career with plenty of happiness, and more than a few tinges of sadness.

She remembers what it was like entering SHS as a freshman. And seemingly, in the blink of an eye, she’s ready to walk out for the final time.

SHS valedictorian Hannah Shimura

“It’s been bittersweet,” said Shimura, 17. “Everything coming ahead is going to be exciting. But it’s going to be surreal not being with people I’ve been with since I was little.”

Shimura and her SHS classmates will depart high school life on Thursday when they receive their diplomas at the commencement ceremony at Penders Field. Shimura will lead the Stratford High Class of 2018 as the class valedictorian.

Shimura says she’s reflected on her years in Stratford schools and being with her classmates since she was seven years old.

“It’s been kind of sad,” said Shimura. “A lot of us are excited about continuing our education. It’s closing our [high school] chapter, but it feels pretty good” being a graduating senior.

It’s easier to feel good when you know where you’re going to college. After much thought and waiting, Shimura decided to attend Villanova University, just outside of Philadelphia. She received her acceptance in March.

“It was actually one of the last schools I applied to. Most I applied to without visiting the campus. Then I toured Villanova when I found out [I was accepted] and I fell in love with the school and campus,” she said.

Shimura has spent the last year of her high school career doing some fun things, including joining the track and field team. She’s also working as a hostess at The Old Dog Tavern, less than a block from her future alma mater. “It’s super convenient.” she said.

Shimura has also spent time as a class officer, senior class treasurer and president of the SHS branch of the National Honor Society. She most enjoys taking part in the Kick Start soccer program, teaching younger kids some tips on how to play the beautiful game. Shimura and her friend, Hannah McLaughlin, Bunnell’s valedictorian, were also busy as school representatives at Stratford Board of Education meetings.  

Shimura is also spending more time with friends and her family, including her sister Maddie, a 15-year-old freshman at SHS.

“I normally drive her to school. We’ve gotten really close,” she said.

While the future might be nerve-wracking for a graduating senior, Shimura says she’s more excited than nervous about what’s ahead. Before starting at ‘Nova, Shimura plans to enjoy vacation with her family in Maine and soaking up as much time with her Stratford High classmates before college and careers separate them, though they will keep in touch via social media.

About author
Editor for the Stratford Star. Former reporter for the Darien Times.

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