“Dude, I don’t even know. What was good about high school?”
New Paltz senior Ashley Curtis is always looking ahead to the future. She is unafraid to admit that she’s been hoping to leave from the first day she walked through the high school’s doors. She cites keeping her grades up, managing the workload and all the rest as difficulties. However, her senior year has been set apart by her love for the New Visions program.
“I want a career in health care,” says Curtis, who has been attending New Visions health since September. “I didn’t enjoy school up until that.”
As part of the program, Curtis shadows custodians, security guards, nurses — anyone who works behind the hospital doors — in an attempt to learn more about what this work entails and find out where she fits in. She looks forward to a few months from now, when she will be able to focus in more steadily on her chosen area: diagnostic imaging.
“I like that you can see your insides, but you’re not dying,” She says, smiling. Curtis was diagnosed with a benign back tumor, which meant biannual hospital visits throughout her adolescence. Seeing so many x-rays gave Curtis her affinity for radiology. She plans to pursue a four-year bachelor program locally and start working directly after. While many people are pursuing more liberal arts based careers, Curtis is determined to approach the future practically.
“Go to school for what you want, but have a long-term plan,” she says, adding, “Eventually, I’m probably going to go to grad school.”
Understanding the body and medicine has also been important in terms of Curtis’ passion for dance. She has been a dancer at Got Rhythm in Gardiner for twelve years and a teacher for the past four.
“It’s really exciting,” she grins. “I love it so much.”
Curtis’ dance career has included work in the jazz, lyrical and hip hop styles. This year, she is the instructor for pre-hip hop, lyrical 1 and lyrical 2. “If I stay local, I plan to continue teaching.”
Her interest in performing was, up until this year, also reflected through concerts in the high school’s choir. Curtis regrets not joining more clubs and pursuing other interests further. “I kind of wish I did.”
In line with this, she advises, “Don’t get senioritis your freshman year. You just need to focus and stay with it.”
Reaching the end, with the pressures of homework and the long road ahead losing their weight, has the perks of tugging heartstrings. “My freshman year, I remember looking up to the seniors and how much fun they were having,” she recalls. Many seniors have a soft spot for the pep rallies, and Curtis particularly enjoyed the celebratory uproar of being on the way out but still going wild with the school community.
For Curtis, graduation cannot come soon enough. The days after high school are wide open, but one thing is certain — she will go places. Where, you ask? “Everywhere.”