Brianna Goncalves '12 lands dream school - again
Brianna Goncalves '12 said she didn't believe in a dream school.
She, however, found a dream school – twice.
Upon her graduation from Wilbraham & Monson Academy May 26, Brianna will attend Worcester Polytechnic Institute in hopes of becoming an orthodontist.
“Everyone has asked me if I had a dream school, and everyone does, but I didn't,” said Brianna, 18, who has highest honors. “I hadn't fully accepted the fact that I was old enough to go to college because I felt kind of young sometimes. Looking at schools was hard: my parents had to force me.
“I didn't want to go too far, I always wanted to be an orthodontist and I realized W.P.I. had pre-dental. It's an hour from home, they're Division III and I got recruited to play soccer, so it all worked out.”
Brianna found her first dream school in the summer of 2009 when she began to attend WMA.
“It's hit or miss when you go to a school, but honestly, I think this is a great school. It's a great opportunity for kids and I'm so thankful for coming here,” she said.
“I don't think I'd be going to W.P.I.; I don't think I would have made the friends I have; I don't think I would have been this happy through high school had I stayed at my previous school. WMA has done a lot for me.”
And Brianna has done a lot for WMA. Along with being on the soccer and track teams, she's served as a student mentor and student orientation leader. Her biggest impact, though, has come with the Greater Wilbraham Relay for Life, which will be held May 19-20. She was the Relay co-chairperson with Jacqueline Smith in 2011, and this year she's the chairperson. Since the winter, she's volunteered 2-10 hours a week toward the Relay for Life.
“Sophomore year, I didn't know what Relay was and I didn't understand it,” Brianna explained. “Then I went to the event and it was really, really fun. I was a team captain. The next year Jackie Smith approached me and asked if I wanted to be co-chair. I had heard it was a lot of work, but I said 'yes'.
“It was great. I got to meet so many more people and I got to learn organizational skills and how to become more of a leader, and overall I think it's helped me.”
Director of Residential Life Tiffany Norman, who's also Brianna's advisor, said “Brianna's tireless effort, enthusiasm and energy . . . she brings it to every project she has and really wants to ensure the success of every project. She goes above and beyond what is asked of her and always comes out on top.”
Brianna started at center midfield and served as captain for the soccer team. For track, the two-time captain has qualified for the 2012 New England Championships in the 100-meter dash, 200, 4x100 and 4x400.
“She is an energetic, opinionated, hard working athlete who has a tremendous team spirit,” said Girls' Track Coach Paul Ekness. “She has been a great role model for the women track athletes over the last two years. Brianna enjoys competition and performs well under pressure.”
“Brianna will graduate with a very strong history in our Titan program,” Girls' Soccer Coach and Athletic Director Don Nicholson added. “Her versatility on the field, field vision and athleticism were always a pleasure to observe.”