One of the great things about being a faculty or staff member at a unit school like Cape Henry Collegiate is the chance for the community to watch students grow and thrive over the years. I was quickly reminded of this privilege when I sat down with Tomas Mariano to interview him for his senior feature. Tomas arrived to Cape Henry in grade 6, and I had the opportunity to teach him in both the 7th and 8th grades. I remember a shy, somewhat cautious young man who sat in the back of my classroom (often skillfully balancing his chair on its two hind legs). Fast forward several years to our interview, and the confident, graduating senior who sat across from me discussed his impressive plans for the future, was eagerly anticipating new opportunities, and reflected on time well-spent at CHC.
This fall, Tomas will be attending George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia. He explained that throughout his college search, he knew that he was seeking an engineering program. He plans to pursue a degree in mechanical engineering because, as he explained, “I love every single component of how a machine functions.” This statement came as no surprise to me. Tomas was a talented woodworker when a student in my classroom; he often wrote with intricate, homemade pens that he created in his spare time. Although he said that he does not have as much time these days for pen-crafting, he has maintained his love of all things mechanical. For that reason, engineering just seemed like the natural fit. He also credits “tough” and “great” teachers like Mr. Kerbin and Mr. Rodgers for preparing him for what is to come, both in college and beyond.
Over the last several years, Tomas also took advantage of a number of opportunities outside of the classroom. He was a valued member of the Cape Henry tennis program, and he has plans to try out for the George Mason team when he arrives to campus later this summer. Additionally, at the time of our interview, he was looking forward to setting off to Iceland on his last Nexus adventure; from the looks of the pictures, what an adventure it was.
As we wrapped up our conversation, I asked Tomas what advice he might give to my 6th grade students, or any students younger than him. “Get good grades,” he replied almost immediately, “so that you can choose a college where you wish to go” and do the things that you would like to do. A simple yet significant response. Since I have known him, Tomas has also been a strong example of hard work and persistence -- two characteristics that certainly opened doors for the opportunities he is looking forward to now. Perhaps most importantly, I know that Tomas’ kind nature and humble demeanor will continue to carry him far.
Best of luck, Tomas! We are proud of you!