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Class of 2014: Where are they now?

Kathryn Benson

Kathryn Benson

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Most students at Blacksburg High School can describe to you the tradition of displaying the post high school plans of each Senior on the wall outside of the guidance office. But many wonder, how does Blacksburg High School prepare students for the real world? What are some of Blacksburg’s best doing today?

Phillip Huang, Class of 2014, is now a student at Harvard University. “At the surface it may seem like the college life presents more freedom, but the sense of obligation to stay productive and challenge myself constrains what I can do with any given minute. I feel like the increased demands broaden my perspective and give me a more accurate concept of how adult life works,” said Huang. Like many students at Blacksburg, he participated in many extracurriculars during his high school career. Reflecting on his time at Blacksburg High School, Huang critiqued his choice of extracurriculars and gave advice to current students. “On one hand I would endorse spending more time on particular skills rather than trying to do many things at once adequately. However, I wouldn’t completely back that statement, while that may reflect my mindset now, it may have not been the wisest thing a budding high-schooler trying to get into a selective college could do. I value my experience [at Harvard] very much, so it’s difficult for me to justify not trying to appeal to colleges in any way possible.”

Huang’s opinion on extracurricular activities was not shared by all alumni. Natalie Shaver, Class of 2014, is a film student at George Mason University. “My best memories of high school are of the extracurriculars that I joined. I did theatre and forensics, and that helped me to find a supportive network of friends. They taught me a lot about my talents, my likes and dislikes, and they helped me develop skills that I apply in my major everyday. The most valuable part of high school is definitely the people that you surround yourself with. It’s cliche, but when you look back you’re not going to remember every grade or every textbook. You’ll remember the people that you were with. I think that applies to a lot of things in life, but I would definitely encourage anyone still in high school to make the most of those connections now,” said Shaver. Like Huang, Shaver had advice for current students looking to go to college. “In high school everything is structured out for you. You have the same classes, you see the same people day in and day out. Even if you don’t enjoy going to school there’s the comfort of having a routine and knowing where you need to be and what you should do. In college all of that is thrown out the window, especially if you move away from home like I did. It’s hard at first because the burden of responsibility is entirely up to you. You have the choice to make your academic and your personal life whatever you want it to be, and that’s scary, but it’s also liberating. That agency is both the best and most challenging aspect of college,”  said Shaver.


Not all Blacksburg students opt to go the route of a traditional 4-year University. Cadmann Nichols, Class of 2014, took a gap year in order to make money and gain work experience. Now he attends a Community College in Rhode Island. “I live right on the beach and get to listen to ridiculous New England accents all day, so that’s nice. The government of Rhode Island is completely dysfunctional and the state has the worst roads in America, which is not so nice. I’ll always miss the Appalachians,” said Nichols.  He looks to study environmental science in the future and feels that he came to this passion through the guidance of his teachers at BHS.

It’s impossible to feature all of the accomplishments of the Class of 2014, or any group of Blacksburg High School students, but Blacksburg alumni are a recognized and distinguished group.



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Class of 2014: Where are they now?