BRISTOL - After graduation, Nicole Truszkowski is headed to the University of Connecticut to study biology in the honors program.
The daughter of Eva and Jack Truszkowski, she is salutatorian of Bristol Central High School’s Class of 2017. Her plan is to earn her bachelor’s then do graduate work to become a physician assistant, possibly specializing in orthopedics.
“Later on in life I feel like I want to get a teaching certificate and be a teacher as well, most likely teaching biology in high school or as a college professor,” she said.
“When I was younger I always wanted to be a teacher. I was always that person at the end of the school year that, if the teachers had extra school supplies to give away like class chore charts and calendars, I’d take them and pretend to be the teacher with my siblings at home,” she said.
She has also substitute taught catechism a few times at her church, St. Stanislaus.
“I went to Greene-Hills when it was still just an elementary school, from kindergarten on, and the teachers there are just so amazing,” she recalled. “You walk in there 10 years later and they still know your name and they ask you how you’re doing, so that school and those teachers just mean so much to me.”
Truszkowski especially credits Terry Grant, her eighth grade science teacher at Greene-Hills K-8 School, with instilling her love of science. Grant was also her coach in Odyssey of the Mind, an international educational program that provides creative problem-solving opportunities for students.
Grant’s influence led her to taking biology as a high school freshman, she said. “And all of my science teachers really helped instill that love too, ever since then.”
What being a physician assistant and a teacher have in common is they’re both about helping people, Truszkowski said. “That’s all I want to do. It would make me so happy just to make an impact in someone’s life one day.”
During her high school years, she took AP Chemistry, AP Psychology, AP Statistics, AP English Language and Composition, AP Biology, AP Physics 1, AP Human Geography, AP Environmental, and AP Calculus B C.
For her favorite subject, “I want to say Calculus because I love to hate it,” she said. “You look at the numbers and sometimes it takes you five minutes to figure it out, and it’s very satisfying. And sometimes you sit there and you have to take a break because you don’t know what you’re doing.”
Truszkowski took Latin all four years, earned multiple honors on the National and State Latin exams, and counts Latin teacher Kelly Monahan-DiNoia as an inspiration as well.
She is also vice president of the National Honor Society and Future Business Leaders of America, and a member of the Latin National Honor Society and the Business National Honor Society. She participated in Math Team and RAMbassadors, a peer mentoring program that pairs seniors and freshmen.
For all four years she was a member of the InterAct Club community service organization, holding holiday celebrations at the Senior Citizen Center, and she also volunteered through her church at the Ingraham Manor Nursing Home and the Zion Lutheran Soup Kitchen.
“I did indoor and outdoor track, and tennis too, but junior year is when I realized I really like theater,” she said. “I did the spring musical that year and I’ve done every show since then. I sing too, not very well, but well enough that they let me sing. I got mic-ed this year for the first time. I was pretty excited, that was a proud moment.”
“What I’m going to miss about high school is mostly just the atmosphere,” she said. “When you’re a freshman you’re shy, and then you start building those relationships. Now four years later you finally get the hang of it, and the teachers are so kind, and you have to leave.”
Susan Corica can be reached at 860-973-1802 or firstname.lastname@example.org.