Spotlight on Highlands School Seniors

Editor’s Note: Over the next week or so, Plateau Daily News will highlight seniors to recognize their time at Highlands School. Today’s seniors include Brianna Norris, Isaiah Tucci-Caselli, Javier Figueroa Contreras, Lilly Deal, Matthew Barnes, Michael Hebert, Michelle Flores, Pablo Jimenez, Patrick Woods, and Ryan Talbert.

Brianna Norris

Brianna Norris

High School Activities: Cheer Captain, Volleyball Manager, Track Member, FCA Leader, Sergeant at Arms for Interact Club.

College: “I have chosen to attend East Carolina University and the College of Business which will give me the opportunity to gain skill sets that I will use in my future business and marketing career. My ultimate goal is to develop as a female business leader that can inspire future generations of women to achieve their personal and professional goals.

I am no stranger to hard work and realize that college will require both dedication and diligence. For the past four years, I have managed my time and been active in not only the service realm, but also within my high school. I am a member of the local Upward Bound program, maintained a part-time job, and held positions on multiple athletic teams. I am the captain of the Highlands High School Varsity Cheerleading Team, as well as the manager for varsity volleyball team, and a member of the track team. Being on sports teams has taught me how to work well with others, take criticism, and realize that it is okay to ask for help.”

Brianna Norris

Future Plans: “My plan is to live on campus and remain very active within my University and Community.”

Shoutout to a HS staff member: “My transfer to Highlands High School has been one of the best choices for me, I will never forget Mr. A and Mrs. Porter.  They have made a positive impact on my High School experience. Thanks to all of the staff and students for welcoming me in as a Highlander!”

Favorite Covid-19 activity: “I have found new ways to motivate myself and I have discovered a newfound interest in canvas painting.”

Isaiah Tucci-Caselli

Isaiah Tucci-Caselli

Activities: Isaiah has been involved with Beta Club & Basketball

College: “I plan on attending East Carolina University in the fall, where I will study sports marketing.”

Major: Business/Marketing

Isaiah Tucci-Caselli

Shoutout to a HS Staff member: “Mrs. Porter and Mrs. Cashion have always been my favorite teachers because they always have a smile on their face and are always trying to go above and beyond the expected. Also, shoutout Coach Green for always making our class laugh, and motivating me to be a better person!”

Favorite Covid-19 activity: “Lately I have been skating around the neighborhood or just going for short drives to get out of the house” 🙂

Javier Figueroa Contreras

Javier Figueroa Contreras

Activities: Javier has helped with landscaping and construction to beautify the school during his years at Highlands School.

Future Plans: “After I graduate, I plan to continue working in landscaping.”

Other Plans: “I may go back to school for tattooing. I am interested in being a tattoo artist because I love drawing.”

Javier Figueroa Contreras

Shoutout to a HS Staff member: “I would like to give a shout out to Ms. Ford. Thank you for everything! You helped me in my online classes, and you are a good person!”

Favorite Covid-19 activity: “On Sundays, I have been playing basketball with my family at the Scaly Schoolhouse. My family is there… my uncles, my aunts, my cousins, and my grandma.”

Lilly Deal

Lilly Deal

Activities: Lilly has been involved with Interact Club, Music Club, and served as a soccer manager.

College: Southwestern Community College

Major: Criminal Justice

Lilly Deal

Shoutout to a HS staff member: “Mrs. Cashion, every time that I needed to talk she is there and gives me advice with a clear level head, also I like when we joke around with each other and share a good laugh”

Favorite Covid-19 activity: “I just read all of the time whether that be hard cover books or reading online”

Matthew Barnes

Matthew Barnes

College: “I plan to go to Southwestern Community College for Outdoor Leadership AAS. Then to get a job that requires that class.”

Major: Outdoor Leadership AAS

Matthew Barnes

Shoutout to a HS staff member: “I would like to shout out Mrs. Hedden for putting up with me for so many years.”

Favorite Covid-19 activity: “I like to hike up Whiteside with my Rottweiler, Zeus.”

Michael Hebert

Michael Hebert

Activities: Michael has been involved with Music/Guitar during his time at Highlands School.

Future Plans: “Auto Mechanic School in southern California”

Michael Hebert

Shoutout to HS staff member: “Mrs. Mac and Mrs. Hedden for all the help they have given me.”

Favorite Memory: “One of my favorite memories is playing the guitar with Mr. A and Mr. Brown after school.”

Favorite Covid-19 activity: “Fixing up and rebuilding a 1963 International Scout Jeep with my poppa.”

Michelle Flores

Future Plans: “I decided to take a one-year break from school. My plan is to keep working at OEI, so I can save enough money to afford college. Also, it will be a great opportunity to put my English into practice.”

“I will be going to college until next fall. I’ll be moving to Texas, where I will get my Spanish Master’s degree.”

Michelle Flores

Shoutout to HS staff member: “I would love to thank Ms. A as she was the most important person in my high school journey. She has taught me to never give up, to work hard, and to always show the best of me.”

Pablo Jimenez

Pablo Jimenez

Activities: Pablo has played basketball (3 years), soccer (4 years), been part of the track team (4 years), and a member of the Beta Club (3 years)

College: Appalachian State University

Pablo Jimenez

Major: Computer Science

Shoutout to HS staff member: “Shoutout to Mr. A and to all the janitorial staff for what they do”

Favorite Covid-19 activity: “I’ve continued playing the guitar”

Patrick Woods

Patrick Woods

Activities: Patrick has been involved with soccer, cross country, basketball, and track.

College: Plans have changed due to the current situation, but I still plan to go to college

Major: Computer Science

Patrick Woods

Favorite Memory: “Before spring break last year, I was quiet in Coach Green’s class. Coming back afterwards, I had come out of my shell and started talking a bit more. One day I was talking even more than usual, and he asked the whole class if I had always been this talkative. At the time he laughed with all of us, now he probably hopes I would be more quiet.”

Favorite Covid-19 activity: “Being able to sleep in, play video games with some old friends, and learn a bunch of random stuff I’ll never need to know on YouTube at 2 in the morning. Also just being able to make food whenever, and cooking muffins whenever I get bored.”

Ryan Talbert

Ryan Talbert

Activities: Ryan has been involved with: Soccer (4 years), Golf (1 year), SGA (1 year), Interact (1 year), and FCA (1 year)

College: “I will be attending Western Carolina University to study Social Work.”

Ryan Talbert

Future Plans: “To major in Social Work and I do plan on playing intramural soccer.”

Shoutout to a HS staff member: “I would like to give a shoutout to Mrs. Billingsley for always helping me with any struggles I had and always keeping an eye out for me.”

Favorite Covid-19 activity: “I’ve been spending a lot of time outdoors and playing soccer with my brother.”

Photos courtesy of Highlands School.

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