An inquiring mind fueled Terryville H.S. valedictorian's passion to learn

Published on Monday, 11 June 2018 22:28


PLYMOUTH - The pre-med program at the University of Pittsburgh is the goal this fall for Maria Cesare.

Chosen as the valedictorian for Terryville High School’s Class of 2018, Cesare plans to do her undergraduate work there. After that, “I will either stay at the University of Pittsburgh because they have a really good medical school, or I was also looking at Johns Hopkins in Baltimore,” she said.

She hasn’t yet settled on a specialty, saying “I was interested in gynecology for a while, but endocrinology was always interesting to me too.”

“I wasn’t really sure about medicine until probably the last couple of years,” Cesare continued. “I didn’t really know what I wanted to do, but I knew that I liked science and I liked the inquiry that went with it. I would always be that person to ask 10 questions about something, like ‘oh this works like this, why can’t it work this way? Or why can’t it work backwards or why can’t we use this concept to do something else?’”

She said having an inquiring mind makes her interested in constant learning process that goes with doing lab research.

While at Terryville High School, one of her favorite teachers was Samantha Layton. “She is the AP Bio teacher. I took it last year and Mrs. Layton always encouraged extra inquiry and extra effort. She really helped me a lot going through the college application process too,” Cesare said.

In addition to AP Biology, she has also taken AP Statistics, AP Literature, AP Calculus, and AP Psychology, and she enjoys English in addition to the sciences.

Outside the classroom, she played soccer all four years of high school and was team captain this year, and played softball for three years. “I did indoor track for one season last year,” she added. “It was interesting, something new.”

She was a member of the Debate Club when it started in her sophomore year, and stayed with it when it evolved into the Mock Trial Club, and then the Newspaper Club, for which she was the editor. She was president of the National Honor Society, as well as a member of the Leo Club, which is the junior division of the Lions Club, and Fresh Start Mentors, in which upperclassmen mentor freshmen.

“I’m also in the Explorer Post for the Ambulance Corps, I volunteer at Indian Rock Nature Preserve in Bristol sometimes, and at a couple of the churches in town,” she added.

One of her best experiences in high school started back in freshman year, she said. “For soccer we made the state tournament and that was the first time in I think seven years, so it was a really big deal when we got in. Then we got progressively better and then last year we ended up making it to the semi-finals. So that was exciting.”

Susan Corica can be reached at 860-973-1802 or

Posted in The Bristol Press, Bristol, Plymouth, Terryville on Monday, 11 June 2018 22:28. Updated: Monday, 11 June 2018 22:30.