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OHCHS valedictorian, salutatorian look forward to life's next chapter
ONTO COLLEGE — Ariel Garber, right, Class of 2013 valedictorian, with Alyssa Andrews, salutatorian. Both girls plan to attend college in the fall.
OXFORD HILLS — For the top students of Oxford Hills Comprehensive High School's Class of 2013, furthering their education is extremely important.
So much, said valedictorian Ariel Garber, that's she's personally applied to 17 different colleges – 11 of which she's already been accepted to.
Ariel and close friend and salutatorian, Alyssa Andrews, both said on Friday they are looking forward to life after high school.
Ariel, daughter of Robert and Nancy Garber from Harrison, admitted when she first set foot in Oxford Hills, she had a negative opinion.
"I would complain about it, but by my junior year, I started to get more involved in extra-curricular activities," Ariel said.
She also has enjoyed taking more challenging courses, such as AP European history, which she helped create at the school. Her favorite subjects are history and English, she said.
"There's an easier path that I could have taken, but because I made a more challenging and rigorous path, I enjoyed high school a lot more; I got everything out of it," Ariel said.
Of the 17 schools she applied to, Ariel plans to attend Brandeis University in Waltham, MA in the fall. She intends to double major in political science and international studies and minor in journalism.
"I am hoping to do a summer internship in D.C. this summer," Ariel said. "That would be amazing." She may even join the newspaper at Brandeis, she said.
In 2011, Ariel wrote a three-part series on school lunch food in Oxford Hills, along other stories, that were published in the Advertiser Democrat as part of a journalism course taught by Pam Chodosh.
In high school, she participated in student council as class secretary for two years; is a member of the National Honor Society; Tri-M, a music honor society; Big Brothers Big Sisters; and the school's Respect Team, which promotes health and well-being at the school.
Ariel has also played the piano for eight years and is currently a member on the Board of Trustees at the Harrison Village Library. Other hobbies include reading, ice skating and swimming.
Alyssa, daughter of Jeff and Roberta Andrews of Norway, plans to attend Colby College in Waterville in the fall.
Her major is currently undecided, but she may pursue a career in exercise science, she said. For right now, her future plans are to graduate from college and find an "interesting" job.
"I've had a lot of great teachers and experiences in the classroom here, and I've definitely enjoyed a lot of the classes that I've taken," Alyssa said. Like Ariel, her favorite classes are history and English, mostly because they were discussion-based.
At OHCHS, Alyssa played defense in soccer and ran in track and field, she said. She is also a member of the National Honor Society and has played in the jazz band, which she really enjoys.
Alyssa said she also applied to the University of New England, but she chose Colby College because of its location and the fact that it has fewer than 2,000 students.
"I like Maine," said Alyssa, who is also interested in backpacking, camping and 4-H. She said she likes that Colby's campus is still close to home, and most importantly, "in the woods."
"A lot of what I will probably remember about high school is the sports I've done," she added, "especially Nordic skiing."
She first began skiing as a freshman at OHCHS, and fell in love with it. She said it never occurred to her why she joined, but "it turned into a lot of good experiences" she will always remember.