Pharma Life: Jennifer Donato

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Jennifer Donato, 2011, Oakville, CT

What are you up to? Currently, I am in my last year of pharmacy school at the University of Saint Joseph School of Pharmacy in Downtown Hartford. This program is unlike a traditional pharmacy school where you do 2 years of pre-pharmacy and 4 years of pharmacy; instead at USJ SOP, you must received a bachelors degree prior to being accepted and then do 3 full calendar years of pharmacy. I am also in the process of applying to pharmacy residency programs.

How'd you get here? After graduating from WHS, I attended at the University of Bridgeport and received my bachelors of science in health sciences. Unlike a lot of people who I knew in high school, I knew that I wanted to do something in the healthcare profession, specifically pharmacy. So during my time at UB, I took prerequisites for pharmacy school, along with your general education courses, and courses in health sciences. It was super stressful applying to pharmacy school because I had to maintain a pretty high GPA in order to be competitive, my personal statement needed to be unique, and if the school was interested in me, I had to go through an interview process. And as a young adult at the time, I had never had to go through a professional interview. While going to school, I also had a part time job at ShopRite Pharmacy in Southbury. This job really solidified the fact that I wanted to go to pharmacy school and become a pharmacist. By March 2015, I knew I was accepted into USJ SOP and was excited to continue on the journey towards a rewarding career.

What are your goals? My goals for the future is to become a clinical pharmacist in a hospital. I would love to be board certified in critical care, where I can work in an ICU. This would require me to do two years of residency.

What has been your biggest challenge? My biggest challenge was during my junior year of college. At UB they have a contract with UCONN where I could apply to their pharmacy school and I'd be looked at as a UCONN student rather than an outsider applying to their program. At the time, I did apply, but unfortunately did not get an interview. Although this may not seem like a challenge to most, I was devastated and had to decide whether or not I wanted to try again the following year and earn a bachelors degree as well. If this didn't happen to me, I wouldn't be where I am today.

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What has been your happiest moment? My happiest moment was this past September/October. I was in Arizona/New Mexico for school, working at Gallup Indian Medical Center. This hospital is for Navajo Native Americans who live on the reservation. They are underserved and struggle everyday. At this hospital, there are pharmacy run clinics where the pharmacists see the patients and change medication therapy depending on what clinic the pharmacist is working in. The clinics ranges from diabetes to asthma clinic, as well as anticoagulation (blood thinner) clinic to HIV clinic. I also had the opportunity to live on the reservation. It was definitely a culture shock. There is nothing for miles around and some people are still live without running water or electricity. It was a meaningful experience to understand how the Navajo people live. On a positive note, I did get to do some traveling and see parts of the United States that I didn't think I would ever be able to see.

Advice for WHS Students? If you know what you want to do right out of high school, go for it! It might not be easy and you may not succeed right away, but in the end it will be worth it. Work hard and don't let others bring you down for wanting to do something different. This is your life and you only get one of them.

If you could tell your high school self one thing, what would it be? Confidence is something that you gain over time.

The Good Life: Paul Frohn

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Paul Frohn, 1979, Portsmouth, NH

What are you up to? Retired Air Force and currently in the FEMA Reserves

 How'd you get here? Stationed at Pease AFB 1981. Since I left Watertown/Oakville, I have had a lot of adventures. I completed the last item on my bucket list in September when I crossed the Golden Gate Bridge on a bike. February 23rd, my grandson was born, so all I have left to do in life is to enjoy life itself. I hope my fellow graduates were able to find their life adventures like I have. My military goals started when I was going to Swift Junior High and it is still going in retirement. 

What are your goals? Happiness.

What has been your biggest challenge? Don't have any.

What has been your happiest moment? Family.

Advice for WHS Students? Follow your dreams and complete your bucket list ASAP.

If you could tell your high school self one thing, what would it be? Do not worry about what others think. Follow your dreams ASAP and don't be afraid to ask. If you don't ask, you are stuck with a no.

Accepting the Unexpected: Nathaniel Habegger

Nathaniel Habegger, 2009, Manhattan, New York

What are you up to? I currently work as a Creative Coordinator for a marketing firm in downtown Manhattan. I manage social media and in-house photography. I also help with ideation of events/marketing plans and I contract talent. In addition to my full-time job, I run my own menswear blog and manage social media channels daily. On top of it all, I shoot photos professionally for clients and for my own blog.

How'd you get here? Well, before moving to New York, I wanted to be an actor. I acted in all of the high school shows, loved music, and was incredibly passionate about that career path. Six terrible auditions and college rejection letters later, I realized that acting was too much rejection for me to handle. At this point in my life, I had put all of my eggs in one basket and assured myself that being on Broadway was the ultimate goal. Also, at this point in my life, I had taken advantage of a teacher-student relationship to change my grades in the school computer system. This act of tom-foolery lead me into an emotional downward spiral (as I was almost expelled months before graduating high school.. terrifying). I fell from the pedestal I had put myself on and didn't know who I was anymore or what I was going to do. I felt like a delinquent and that I would never recover from this mistake. So after graduating in 2009, I took the summer to figure out what I wanted to do. I always loved fashion and I loved art. I went to Western Connecticut State University for a year to gain credits before transferring to a private school in Manhattan called The Laboratory Institute of Merchandising. I wish someone had told me that none of my credits from Western would transfer to LIM, but that’s ok. What’s another loan to pay off right? 

I moved to New York and thought I was the best. Come to find out, everyone in New York is the best and I was the worst of the best (or maybe a little better than the worst, but still.. small fish big pond situation). I worked for Coach as a Visual Merchandiser for about 4 years. A Visual Merchandiser is a term used in the fashion/retail industry for someone who creates window displays. I left that job to start working as a Creative Coordinator, which is what I do now. In the process of all of this, I started my own menswear blog and made insane connections with people all over the city through Instagram.

What are your goals? I want to write a book, open a restaurant, take beautiful photographs, open a ceramics studio and start a fashion company. It’d be really cool if I could do all of that, but we’ll see.

What has been your biggest challenge? Self acceptance. I think the hardest part of this journey (which by the way is still JUST starting) has been accepting myself for who I am and not who I think people want me to be. After high school, I left the comfort of home, family, and friends. I had such a strong sense of self and was incredibly confident. Moving to New York really knocked me down a few pegs. It made me see life on a much larger scale. Figuring out who you are is an ever going project that seems endless, and it kind of is. Figuring out how to love the part of yourself that has flaws and that part of yourself that you don’t like is the biggest challenge. It’s the most rewarding when you overcome all of that; when you can sit with yourself and appreciate who you are through and through. By the way - I’m still working on that…it ain’t easy kids.

What has been your happiest moment? There are a couple happy moments I've had recently. One being the day I started my current job. Another would be being featured in a digital campaign for Uniqlo. Both really made me feel like I had made it even though I’m still fighting to make it!

Advice for WHS Students? Start to look outside yourself. Start to be curious about what else is out there in the world. Watertown is an amazing town to grow up in, but I think it’s incredibly beneficial to look beyond the horizon to see what other opportunities are out there. How can you appreciate something if you never lose it? Another tidbit of advice: If your dreams don’t come true immediately, that doesn’t mean they never will. Some dreams don’t come true (like me being on Broadway because I’m not a knock out actor, but was passionate about it!) but your dreams can morph. Allow yourself to accept the ebb and flow that is life. You won’t win them all, but if you do something that makes you feel fulfilled, you’ll be happy. You can reinvent yourself everyday, and should. ALSO: You’ll realize how lovely being in high school is the second you step into the real world.. so enjoy it while it lasts.

If you could tell your high school self one thing, what would it be? I would tell my high school self to shut up and sit down. I was so cocky in high school. I thought no one could touch me and that I was the best. Turns out, I was really lazy and kind of a jerk. Don’t get me wrong, I think most people who knew me would agree I was a good kid, but I was definitely not interested in working hard in class. I’d also tell my high school self that I can do anything I put my mind to and then to actually put my mind to it instead of sitting waiting for life to happen.

Website offers way for alumni to share stories of their lives

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WATERTOWN — Watertown High School alumni Colleen Murphy wants to share the stories of her fellow graduates. To that end, she has created the website Town, found at www.townmag.co.

“I started thinking about it in college,” Mr. Murphy said. “I was doing a lot of cool things, travelling, doing internships; in high school, I wouldn’t have thought it was possible.”

Ms. Murphy, a 2009 WHS graduate, noted that Watertown didn’t have an alumni network for graduates to share their stories and experiences. She wanted to tell the stories of the little guy, not just the “heroes” that other alumni groups seem to focus on. She wanted to tell the stories of teachers and people who fix the roads.

Town collaborators include Miranda Weidemier, Chelsea Kyle, Julian Focareta, Chad Boulier, Mike Garceau and Demosthenes Gakidis.

According to townmag.co, “We are out to connect and strengthen Watertown High School. Through creativity, honesty, and empathy, we are determined to create a more informed WHS class. Our mission is to tell real and raw stories of success and failure to bridge the gap between alumni and current students. This is a new kind of alumni network where we value ‘success’ with an open mind.”....... Read More

Read more from Town Times

UConn Alumni: We Need Your Help

The current proposed state budget will cut $200 million to $300 million dollars from UConn over two years and will affect funding for research programs, Division I athletic teams, financial aid and scholarship funds.

This can directly impact our WHS community. 20% of TOWN Mag's alumni who submitted stories went to University of Connecticut. On top of that, around 50% went to state schools including Central Connecticut State University and Eastern Connecticut State University. As Watertown is a middle class community, these cuts will directly affect students who do not have enough resources to attend UConn; cuts will affect financial aid and scholarship funds.

Our very own WHS townie and UConn MD Candidate, Adam Bartholomeo, spoke out last week against these budget cuts. 

"The level of cuts proposed could make UConn School of Medicine and Dental Medicine and Urban Scholars unaffordable for many students/families, potentially shut down programs like UST, and drive excellent students and our future workforce away from the state, perhaps permanently. Connecticut needs knowledgeable doctors, and an investment in UConn SoM/DM is an investment in CT’s own workforce."

Read more of Adam's statement here.

Want to get involved? Reach out now to your local state legislators. Call, write, or e-mail that you are against the budget cuts to UConn. One of our representatives is also a WHS alumni and may agree that these budget cuts to UConn directly affect our Watertown community.

Joe Polletta, joe.polletta@housegop.ct.gov860.240.8700

Eric Berthel Eric.Berthel@cga.ct.gov860.240.8800


We are curious to see just how many WHS Alumni went to UConn for their education. We're waiting to hear back from the high school from their data, but in the meanwhile, let us know if you attended UConn.

Source: http://www.courant.com/politics/hc-uconn-s...

Life In Watertown Survey

We had a little fun asking Juniors at Watertown High School about life in Watertown. The results were pretty hilarious to read and brought us back to our high school days. Some were really positive responses, but a lot were negative outlooks on Watertown (we asked students to make a hashtag for Watertown and one response was #dontcomeheretohavefun).

Of course, the negative responses make us question how the town and community can step up it's game. We are all for adding a skate park (one request from the survey), which has been something townie teenagers have dreamed of for years. We guess the town budget would have to pass first before we think the town will get a skate park, but hey, a townie can dream. On a serious note, we think that more things for teenage townies to do would really be a benefit the community overall and we're all for supporting these type of community initiatives.

The responses really brought us back to the days when we used to say, “I can’t wait to get out of this town.” Now that we are out.. well.. we love going back.

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After High School - Money Survey

We asked students about money and their understanding of loans, interest, and finances. We won’t lie, these results weren’t exactly straight A’s. We found that many students feel confused or unconfident when it comes to finances. We’re now wondering how the community can help make information about money, finances, and loans more accessible and understandable to all students so that they can make solid financial decisions. Let's get to 100% of students who understand loans, interest, and feel confident in their finances. 

After High School Survey

In January of 2017, Juniors at WHS took a survey from TOWN Mag in their SSP class. Our goal was to get a picture of who students are, what they want to be, and where they are going. The answers we received were positive and inspiring. We can tell from their interests they are a diverse set of students, but many share the same hopes and dreams for a bright future. They are a confident, determined group of students and we are excited that they’ll soon join us in being WHS alumni.