SOUTH KINGSTOWN, R.I. — Perseverance, time management and staying focused were the keys to success for The Prout School’s class of 2018 valedictorian and salutatorian.
Valedictorian Markos Verissimo and salutatorian Kelby Anderson, both 18 and residents of South Kingstown, will celebrate their achievements at Prout this Sunday during the commencement ceremony at The Cathedral of Saints Peter and Paul in Providence.
“[My advice to incoming students] would be to work hard from the beginning and apply yourself in any way that you can in any club, activity and class that you can, and take advantage of what’s given to you,” Anderson said.
Although Verissimo and Anderson are finishing their journey at Prout with shared academic success, their journeys to this point have been very different.
Verissimo immigrated to Rhode Island from Brazil just four years ago. He started his journey in Rhode Island attending La Salle Academy while living with his brother and his father’s aunt in Johnston. By his junior year, his brother had graduated and started attending the University of Rhode Island, and the two moved into an apartment at South County Commons together. He said the experience has taught him a lot about independence and has been “very interesting.”
Verissimo plans to follow in his older brother’s footsteps next year, studying biochemistry at URI. He has dreams of becoming a doctor, possibly an eye surgeon like his father in Brazil.
“I have shadowed [my father] in the hospital and his clinic, and it’s pretty interesting,” Verissimo said, noting that he gets to see his mother every four months and his father in the summer and at Christmas. Both his parents will be cheering him on as he walks across the stage for graduation.
Anderson, who lives in Wakefield and attended middle school at Monsignor Clarke School, will be embarking on her own journey outside of Rhode Island come the fall when she starts studying chemical engineering and film at Lehigh University in Pennsylvania. While her chosen fields may appear disparate, Anderson said both deal with creation.
“I’ve always really liked chemistry since I was a little kid,” she said. “I like creating things and kind of maneuvering things, and I can do that easily with chemical engineering. And I want to study film, because I love creating different things, I love to pursue that creation through the arts, and film is what I see through the world, my perspective, that I get to share with the world.”
Anderson added that she loves the idea of working with Walt Disney Imagineering and having the opportunity to design rides.
She was a full International Baccalaureate, or “IB”, diploma candidate, and Verissimo took four IB courses as well, which are similar to Advanced Placement, or AP, classes in that they are both rigorous.
Both students pursued a range of extracurricular activities. While at Prout, both were active in theater. Verissimo was part of the swim team at both La Salle and Prout. Anderson was part of the math team and film club, as well as the math tutoring, altar serving and international student mentoring programs.
“Like Markos said, persistence, and doing my own thing and not really thinking about how everybody else was getting things done – just kind of finding my way – worked for me,” Anderson said.
Both had similar advice for incoming students – join clubs and activities at the school, manage time wisely and apply oneself.
“Take advantage of all the opportunities you can,” Verissimo said.