High School Throwback: Michelle

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We love to do week-long blogger series and you are in for a special treat! Starting next week most of our bloggers will be doing high school throwback posts so that you can get to know us even better. I’m starting this off for you today – hope you enjoy this series and learn something new about us!

Yearbook photos, need I say more?
Yearbook photos, need I say more?

Years in high school: 1996-2000 (Holla Trumbull High class of 2000!)

Nickname: Mud (I loved running through the mud, hence the nickname)

It’s interesting to write about what I was like in high school because I’m limited to my own perceptions, but I can say without a doubt that there were two moments that I consider defining. Before we go there, let’s cover the basics.

I didn’t roll with the popular kids. I was friends with people in all different “groups” but I mainly hung out with just a few peeps. I remember feeling awkward a lot – I never really knew the cool thing to say and definitely had some social anxiety. In fact, I was totally one of those people who didn’t eat lunch in the cafeteria. Yep, it’s true. I would eat lunch in the office of my guidance counselor who I loved to pieces.

My and my favorite guidance counciler Judy. Thank goodness she let me eat in her office every day.
Me and my favorite guidance counselor Judy. Thank goodness she let me eat in her office every day.

Other things I didn’t do in high school: drugs/drink (I was also totally naive to other people doing those things too), date (sad but true) or get stellar grades (as my mom would say I didn’t apply myself, I say I blossomed in college). I did do my first 5K run though and even kept my bib tag.

My first 5K. I would go on (post high school) to run multiple half marathons and a full marathon. Now, I'm a slacker.
My first 5K. I would go on (post high school) to run multiple half marathons and a full marathon. Now, I’m lucky if I get a 2 miler in.
Here I am at prom with my friend Justine. The second photo is of me and my friend Tomer at the prom after party. I did have a date to the prom but it was a bit awkard.
I don’t know why we had a professional photo taken, but alas, we did.

On the weekends I would hang out with friends either hitting up the local Dunkin’ with my friend Laura in my piece of sh*t car, riding in my friend Ellen’s suburu to hit up 711 for slurpees (and yes we would blast mobb deep like a boss) or hanging out at my friend Margo’s house. During the school week my afternoons were filled with sports. I did volleyball my freshman year as a fall sport but didn’t make the team the next year. My brother was something of a legacy at my school because he was captain of the track team so when I started high school, I did indoor and outdoor track for my winter and spring sports. I dabbled in sprints, I think I did one 4×400 race and yeahhhh, I’m not very fast (and didn’t really like it). So, I decided to try throwing shot put, and to my surprise, I liked it! So for indoor track that was my event and then for outdoor track I discovered my love of throwing discus and did that as well.

Me and my fellow "weight team" member Christine.
Me and my fellow “weight team” member Christine.
Me and my pal (who also threw discus) being silly during some kind of weird themed day.
Me and my pal (who also threw discus) being silly during some kind of weird themed day.

This leads into life-defining moment #1. Being on the “weight team” (what an unfortunate name…) wasn’t exactly cool. The runners were the popular ones, not me. At least that’s how I felt. One day the team was sitting in the hallway listening to our coaches as they were announcing captions. When they announced ME as co-captain of the indoor track team I was probably more shocked than anyone else. I really believe that was THE moment that I started to feel confident about myself. My coach (holla Coach Sesto!) believed in me even when I didn’t believe in myself. I went on to be elected co-captain of the outdoor track team that year as well and held both posts my entire junior and senior year. In college I actually wrote a letter to Coach Sesto and thanked him for seeing leadership qualities in me and taking a chance. Changed my life.

This is how you throw a discus, in slow motion (in case you didn’t know what this sport is!)

Life defining moment #2 came in my senior year. I was taking an environmental science class with Dr. McVeigh (one of my favorite high school teachers) and we were making plans to create a nature trail in the woods behind the school. One day we were out in the woods looking at things and a man came up to us and told us that later that week the woods were going to be leveled to make way for a  new baseball field. I was SO upset about it that I had some friends over that night to create a petition to have students sign. The next day we got over 500 signatures from students and sent them to the appropriate people. We succeeded in halting the project and I went on to lead efforts to preserve the woods. This was my start in activism and social justice.

News article

I spoke at town meetings, met with public officials, wrote letters to the editor of the CT Post and organized behind the scenes. After a 9 month battle (people in Trumbull LOVE baseball, the odds were not in our favor) we actually won and those woods still remain to this day. I received an award from the Department of Environmental Protection but more than the award, I gained so much knowledge about messaging, how to organize and the importance of standing up for what I believe in. Would I have had the confidence in myself to do this if Coach Sesto didn’t make me captain of the track team? I don’t know.

High school absolutely helped make me who I am today (not that I want to do it over!). I hope that when my daughter starts school she’s able to meet teachers and coaches that believe in her and give her confidence because I know from personal experience just how important that is. I also hope she’s as naive as I was and skips the whole drinking/sex in high school thing! 🙂

14 comments on “High School Throwback: Michelle”

  1. I so enjoyed reading this! Why am I not surprised you were an activist doing great things for your community even in high school?! I loved your photos, especially your yearbook photos with the long straight hair – gorge!

  2. I loved seeing you in high school!!!! You have not changed much!!!! Still gorgeous, smart, persistent and caring!

  3. I loved your pics and I loved learning lots of new things about you! I can totally imagine you as a teenager fighting like crazy to take care of something your cared about…you are still doing that today. I guess somethings change, but others stay the exact same 🙂

  4. Oh how FUN! (Dude, I’ll be lucky to find ONE pic of my in high school and look at all yours! So pretty at prom!) I love, love, LOVED reading about your defining moments ~ absolutely magical. And that guidance counselor looks like a rockin’ chick ~ no wonder you liked hanging out with her. Love knowing you more in this way. 🙂 ♥

  5. Oh Miche! I love how you’ve got us started on our journey down memory lane… Or maybe i’m not so in love based on the high school pics i’ve dug up of myself!! You’re so sweet, and i know we would’ve been great friends!

  6. I remember that Tahiti 44 t-shirt…and I remember you as a high schooler! I’m so glad I’ve known you all of these years. You are awesome!

  7. This is SO good Michelle! So good that you are able to recognize those defining moments that helped make you the wonderful woman you are today!

  8. Hey Michelle…what a great piece about yourself. As I said to you the other day, I remember you as always the person who wanted to change the world and make it better, and today you continue to change the world and make it better everyday. The picture of you being silly, I think that was Rent a Senior Day…hahaha

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