For Beacon's top graduates, family played a starring role

For Beacon's top graduates, family played a starring role

Destinie Reyes of Woonsocket, right, was named valedictorian and Keaton Bergeron, of Cumberland, was named salutatorian of the Beacon Charter High School for the Arts Class of 2018. (Breeze photo by Lauren Clem)

WOONSOCKET – Destinie Reyes of Woonsocket will serve as valedictorian and Keaton Bergeron of Cumberland will serve as salutatorian of the Beacon Charter High School for the Arts Class of 2018, school administrators announced during a student assembly on May 2.

Reyes is the daughter of Jessica Garcia and the stepdaughter of Cuitlahuac Garcia of Woonsocket. A theater arts student with a 4.26 grade point average, she told The Breeze her family has been instrumental in supporting her path to graduation. During the past year, the first-generation high school graduate has taken classes at the Community College of Rhode Island as part of the Running Start program while participating in extracurricular activities at Beacon and working at Polo Ralph Lauren in Wrentham. Her mother was present for the May 2 announcement.

“I was just crying. For me, it was just four years of hard work and it paid off,” Reyes said.

Reyes, who plans to attend the University of Rhode Island to study nursing in the fall, will be the first in her family to attend college. During her junior year, she and other family members devoted much of their time to caring for her great-grandmother, who lived with her immediate family. She shared how she woke up at 5 a.m. daily to help clean and bathe her great-grandmother and slept beside her hospital bed to keep watch on her during the night. Her great-grandmother, who has since died, had a large influence on her family, Reyes said.

“My memere, I really owe a lot to her. She was always there for me when I was little,” she said. “It helped me realize how much I needed to remember my family.”

During her time at Beacon, Reyes served as president of the school chapter of the National Honor Society, served on the Student Council, belonged to the Math League and Yearbook Club and received the Presidential Award for Academic Achievement, Citizenship Award, student artist of the month award and perfect attendance award.

Reyes is also a member of International Thespian Troupe 7444, based at the school, and has participated in various drama productions, including starring in "Hamlet" and serving as stage manager for other shows. She said she hopes to become a nurse practitioner or midwife.

Bergeron is the daughter of Tim and Amy Bergeron of Cumberland. A culinary arts student with a 4.18 GPA, she also said her family played an instrumental role during her high school career. She follows in the footsteps of a brother who previously attended Beacon and graduated as valedictorian, and said keeping close to family was part of her decision to attend college in Boston in the fall. She will attend Emmanuel College with plans to transfer to Boston University during her sophomore year and hopes to major in international studies with a concentration in global justice and sustainability.

“I don’t think I’d be salutatorian if it wasn’t for him,” she said of her brother.

An accomplished flutist, Bergeron has been a member of the Rhode Island Philharmonic Youth Ensemble since 2013 and has also participated in the Rhode Island All-State Concert Band and Solo and Ensemble Festival. Like Reyes, she participated in the CCRI Running Start program during her senior year.

During her time at Beacon, Bergeron served as president of the Student Council and vice president of the school’s chapter of the National Honor Society and was a member of International Thespian Troupe 7444 and the Math League. She received Rhode Island General Treasurer Seth Magaziner’s Young Leader Award, the Claiborne Pell Medal for United States History and a bronze medal in the Skills USA commercial baking competition. She also worked as an associate at Panera Bread and a psychology tutor at CCRI and volunteered at Brookdale Senior Living Community in Cumberland.

When asked if they knew ahead of time that they were first and second in their class, the two graduates said many of their classmates suspected and anticipated a tight competition between them, though the two are close and don’t consider themselves competitive with each other. During high school, they have participated in many of the same activities together, including taking some of the same classes at CCRI.

“There’s supposed to be a rivalry, but we’re really close, there’s not really a rivalry,” said Bergeron.