What lessons from Gilbert did you apply to the real world?:
"I would say it gave me an open mind. When I started at Gilbert, I wasn't always the best student. It took me a while to find something that interested me. Pretty much at the midway point of my time in high school, I started to discover the Arts was what I really took a liking to. Then, my whole mindset really changed at Gilbert. I attribute the Arts to really helping me find myself and my passion in everyday life.
Even to this day, while I have been in the Navy, I have been associated with the Arts. I've done different charity events with the Red Cross that were associated with acting and performing.
Even though I have been around the world, I still try to keep in touch with people in town, including people at Laurel Music Camp. Now that I am a full-fledged senior staff member, I try to make it out to as many seasons of camp that I can. It keeps me in touch with the Winsted area and the arts that I love."
Why did you get into the military?:
"I was going to attend Western Connecticut State University for musical theater. I wasn't really ever in the top of my class academically and it took me a while to really apply myself. When it came time for me to go to college, it was tough because I didn't have any money of my own and I didn't have any scholarships. I remember looking at the loan paperwork and starting to forecast that it would take me quite some time to pay off these college loans.
I made the decision to go into the military, not in a regretful way, but because it was a way to do something new and interesting. If I didn't like it, my thought process was that I could very easily leave at the end of my contract. I could then go back home and I would have some money for schooling if the military did not interest me further."
What advice would you give current students?:
"Be open to the world around you. Be very receptive. Your life plans can change from what you originally thought, but that's never a bad thing.
I really thought that I was going to go to college for acting, because it was a passion of mine. At first when I joined the military, as any kid would be, I was apprehensive about the change, but the adventure has been nothing short of amazing. I've done things most people never do in their lifetime. I've been to places I didn't have to pay out of pocket to see. It really is one of the major life decisions that I really am proud of.
Looking back at things I could have been, or I might have been, I really appreciate what I have been able to do and the person I have become from the experiences that I have had. My advice is to be openly receptive to that, to making changes, and to not being scared of those changes. Your life may go down a wonderful track that you never would have imagined."