Graduation. It’s always bittersweet—leaving what is known and casting a line out in new water, finding a fresh way to define the future. For Ellen Apotheker, these concepts are nothing new and, in fact, offer a way of returning rather than departing.
Ellen did not spend her formative years here at Cape Henry Collegiate; she is not a Legacy, and she did not walk these same familiar hallways throughout Middle and Upper school. Ellen hails from Connecticut and only joined the CHC community in her senior year. For some people, this transition would have been daunting, perhaps nearly impossible. But if you know Ellen, you will also know that Ellen has a special gift for seamlessly blending into new situations and, at the same time, maintaining her individuality. Ellen came to CHC from a small parochial school, Immaculate High School in Danbury, where she had been educated academically and socially throughout her developmental years. When her mother received an interesting career transfer option here in Hampton Roads, the family relocated. Ellen became a member of the CHC 2019 graduating class.
Ellen does not feel that the transition was in any way a negative aspect. In fact, Ellen has only positive feelings about her relocation. “I’d like to thank my parents for choosing CHC,” says Ellen. “It was definitely the right choice. I felt welcomed to the community right away. Mr. Horgan, Mrs. Finley, and Ms. Hummel sat with my family and me and talked about who we were, not just what the school offered. That meant a lot to us.”
But the northeast is in Ellen’s heart and informed her decision to apply early application to Curry College in Milton, Massachusetts where she hopes to study business or pursue an education major. Ellen said that she wants the opportunity to interact with people on a daily basis—no desk job will satisfy her need to meet people and help them realize their own dreams. Additionally, Ellen is a legacy in this instance. “My mother attended this college,” says Ellen. “The professors care about you here, make time for you. There is a feeling of belonging and the class sizes are small enough so that you can depend upon individualized attention from the professors.”
It should be no surprise, then, to learn that her International Relations class here at CHC was a favorite. “I enjoy interaction with the other students who have been in the Global Scholars program,” says Ellen. “I enjoy knowing what is happening around the world and how other countries impact Americans and our impact on them.”
Ellen leaves CHC and Virginia Beach with no regrets. “Your years in high school go by fast—make the best of these years,” says Ellen. “Don’t be afraid to reach out to other people. Be true to yourself. You may become friends with someone you did not expect to befriend. I met some of my best friends here on the tennis team.”
Although Ellen will miss the friends she’s met and the weather in Virginia Beach, she looks forward to returning “home” again when she attends college. Now, that’s the true definition of “bittersweet” closure.