Members of NWL Class of 2016 share plans for the future
At graduation practice, adviser Lauren Elsenbaumer scanned the class gathered before her.
“This is a bittersweet [time],” she said. “I’m proud of them but I’m always sad to see them go.”
For many a graduate, this new reality begins with college.
This is true for Morgan Billig, who is headed for Lehigh Carbon Community College to study business.
“I’ve wanted to be a horse trainer since I was a kid,” she said.
A business degree will be the first step to achieving her goal.
Billig’s participation in shows in Massachusetts, New York, Connecticut and beyond has given her a taste of the life she wants to establish for herself.
“I‘ve been riding horses since I was 4 and my mom and my uncle [Carson Kressley] have been showing for years,” she said. “Everyone on my mom’s side of the family has [stressed] racing [while] the other side is more about farming.”
Cheyanne Markovitch is staying local at first with California dreams as the ultimate goal.
“I’m going to LCCC for the first two years to save money, but after that I want to go to a state school and get my bachelor’s in criminal law,” she said. “My goal is to end up at Santa Barbara.
“They have a really, really good law school there and I’ve always had my heart set on Cally.”
Brandon Segan is headed for Penn State to follow a biomedical track.
“I was in the emerging health program where I shadowed medical professionals,” he said. “I have 72 shadowing hours just in that program. I highly recommend it.”
Segan could not conceal his enthusiasm for the experiences he’s had and for his prospects for the future.
“The overnight emergency room shift was crazy, but I loved it,” he said.
Two recent graduates pursuing a college education are doing so with the additional desire of national service.
This service is a long held dream for Alyssa Cinquemani.
“I’ve wanted to do it ever since I was little,” she said. “I had the passion. I knew I wanted to be that person that wanted to fight for our nation.”
“I want to make myself a better person, ultimately in the K-9 unit as an officer.
“I want to be a police officer and I’m not afraid of seeing the line.”
“I’ve always had family in the military.
“My older brother is in the National Guard.”
National service also motivates Angela Alden.
“I wanted to go into the military to serve my country,” she said. “There aren’t a lot of people who are physically able to serve and I am, so I want to.”
Alden will report to Naval ROTC at North Carolina State on Aug. 8.
“I’ll have continuous training throughout the year,” she said. “I have to serve for at least four years.”
“My parents were hesitant at first, but now they support me.“Every summer there is a different training program.”
Alden is “planning on studying logistics and communications at North Carolina State.”
She supports the lifting of restrictions for women serving in combat “as long as the standards are kept the same. Otherwise it’s’ dangerous for everyone.”
The new reality for other graduates means full-time work.
Nick Baer has been planning for his dream for years.
He produced a business card imprinted with T.B. Mobile Fabrication, Welding, Truck Repair and Hauling, and his father’s name and his name side by side.
The company is all about on-site welding, sheet metal and heavy metal fabrication.
“I bought all my own equipment but I’m running it under [my dad’s] name because it’s expensive striking out on your own,” Baer said.
Even though Baer’s been around the shop since he was 5, he said, “It was helpful attending Lehigh Career and Technical Institute. It expanded my knowledge and they have good equipment and decent teachers.”
“I will be going right to work for myself and Rabenold’s Fabrication,” he explained.
Randy Belnoski is also working with his father.
“I used to be an excavator,” he said. “I worked 60 hours or more a week at Hopko Excavation during the summer and then did co-op during the school year, but now I’m working for my dad [at] Belnoski Construction.”
“I started out my high school career by being a bus mechanic for Northwestern in 11th grade, but when I found out I was going to be a dad, I needed more work.
“I was actually the first 11th grader doing my co-op in heavy equipment at LCTI.”
Now Belonski is living in his own apartment in Schnecksville with his 5-month old daughter Sadie and her mother Megan.
For these and other graduates, life is moving ever forward, but not without a nostalgic glance at the past.
“We have seen these students change and grow over three years since we’ve been their advisers,” said Steph Dunbar. “I still remember seeing them come in as eighth graders and now to see them getting ready to graduate, it just seems unbelievable.”
None of the graduates would argue with that.