Longtime Methuen High School guidance counselor Martha Tatro, who now serves as department chair, is supremely impressed with the Class of 2024.

The group, which came into high school during COVID, she said, has “raised the bar.”

“I honestly have to tell you, in (my) 26 years, this group is truly one of the highest achieving,” she said, adding that she’s thrilled “they have chosen schools they love, be it MIT, Harvard or any of the state schools. When I have spoken with each of these kids, their choice was based on best fit and meeting their needs.”

Here, MethuenLife profiles four of them. Tatro, who said she knows them pretty well, calls them great kids.

“They’re kids that are intrinsically motivated, work hard, are successful,” she said. “They’re fun. They’re serious but they’re able to laugh at themselves, laugh with others. They’re so kind and considerate and giving of themselves in a variety of situations. Every one of them has, at some point in time, been involved in some volunteer opportunities we had here. You ask and they jump.

“All four have done extensive research into ‘what are my opportunities depending on the schools I’m applying to, are interested in.’ They’ve done their homework because they’re investing in their own future. That’s why I’m thrilled for them,” she added.

Tatro said her department, which has conversations with students and parents, doesn’t want students to go somewhere they don’t want to be at.

“We want you to go where you want to go,” she said, adding that the school prepares students while in school for a variety of post-graduation choices based on their interests.

Tatro said she believes the school and its students don’t get the credit they deserve for their decisions regarding their post-secondary plans.

“The senior class, in particular, is proof that you can come in and go anywhere you want,” she said.

Meet four of MHS’ Class of 2024 high achievers.

ANTHONY DANELLA

Seeing the positive impact that his mother, a physical therapist, has made on people’s lives is one of the things that has inspired Anthony Danella to pursue a career in the medical field.

Danella is headed to Tufts University in Medford and is thinking about majoring in biochemistry. He is interested in being a pre-medical school track student.

“Obviously that might change,” he said, “but right now that’s the direction I want to go in.”

Danella chose Tufts for its academics and location. He said the college puts a big emphasis on studying a “ton” of different subjects. Students choose majors sophomore year, and many of them double major, he said.

“I have so many different interests,” said Danella, who is considering adding English as a double major. “There are so many things that I would be interested in studying.”

He wanted to be close to home, and the school is only a half-hour drive away.

“I knew I wanted to be near Boston, but I still wanted that campus feel. A lot of colleges in Boston don’t have that. Tufts is just outside (the city) so the location was perfect,” he said.

Danella was a four-year runner who competed in cross country, indoor track and outdoor track. He was a member of Science National Honor Society, Students Against Destructive Decisions, and National Honor Society.

Teachers Maureen Melanson and Caitlin Canane, he said, were probably the biggest influencers on him in his decision to pursue the science realm.

“I’ve always been interested in science, it’s been my best subject but those two teachers – definitely 100 hundred percent – convinced me that’s what I wanted to go into,” Danella said. “Seeing how passionate they were about their subjects – that’s one of the things that really inspired me to go into the bio-chemistry area.”

Danella is interested in being involved in club running in college, so he can focus on schoolwork but enjoy the experience of running with others. Running is a good physical outlet, he said.

He would also like to pursue research opportunities at Tufts.

“There is ton of stuff that I would like to study at a deeper level,” he said. “I’m super excited. I’ve only heard good things about the community at Tufts, and I’m super excited to be a part of that.”
Anthony is the son of Jason and Katie Danella.

 

CARTER DELANO

Carter DeLano decided to attend Tufts University, based in Medford, for several reasons: the need-based aid he is going to receive, the school’s fine academic reputation and its location.

“It will give me a lot of challenges, but it will give me a lot of opportunities in the future if I want to go far in my career,” said DeLano. “It’s known for its good academics, which I like, and it’s going to help me get a bunch of opportunities when I’m out of school.”

Its proximity to Methuen is ideal.

“It’s a good distance from my home – it’s not too far and it’s not too close,” he said.

Carter, the son of Alan and Tracey DeLano, might minor in chemistry or couple it with biology for a double major.

“I was really interested in biology and chemistry in high school. I think I want to study that further and I like it for possible careers in the future,” DeLano said. “One of them that I’m looking at is pharmaceutical sciences. Making medicines is an avenue that I really like. But I’m also interested in biotechnology. That field is also interesting. So I keep windows of opportunity open if I want to do any of that in the future.”

DeLano, who took several science classes at AP or Honors levels, credits science teachers Maureen Melanson and Caitlin Canane for their positive influence.

“They helped me learn a lot about what I want to do and career avenues that I could take,” he said.

DeLano competed on the swimming and diving team and in track and field. He served on Student Council, and was a member of the National Honor Society, the Science National Honor Society and the History Honor Society.

At Tufts, DeLano wants to participate in medical research open to undergraduates, and he might participate in swimming at the club level.

“It’s going to be a large community of people from around the world. There’s also going to be a lot of challenging courses that they offer,” he said. “But given the resources that I had at Methuen High, I think I’m prepared, ready for that change. It’s going to be a great time for me, and it’s going to be very helpful for me.”

 

ELEANOR MURPHY

Eleanor Murphy applied for admission to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology on a whim.

“If don’t get in, not big of a deal,” she remembers thinking at the time.

But she was thrilled when she received her acceptance.

She’ll be able to live in and explore the Boston area without being too far from home.

“Also, their academics are great and I can have a lot of opportunities and make connections there I can’t make anywhere else,” said Murphy, who plans to major in chemical and biological engineering. “I think I would like to make vaccines or medicines or proteins, stuff like that, but at a microscopic level, and help the healthcare industry.”

She credits physics teacher Peter Harris, chemistry teacher Caitlin Canane and English teacher Rebecca O’Sullivan for influencing her college and career choices.

“They gave me the confidence to go for it,” she said. “When I took AP Biology and AP Chemistry, it kind of opened my eyes to a whole new world, and I found that really interesting, and I knew that I wanted to do some kind of engineering.”

In O’Sullivan’s AP Language course, Murphy said, students analyzed non-fiction.

“I think she helped me be a better writer overall, which helped me during my college application essays, and I know I will have to do a lot of writing in the future,” Murphy said. “She had a lot of confidence in me in general and she wanted me to succeed.”

Murphy was a member of National Honor Society, Science National Honor Society and the Mental Health Awareness Club. She was also active in JROTC and served as battalion commander during her senior year.

“That helped me a lot with my leadership skills and breaking me out of my shell a bit,” she said.

The daughter of Sandra and Daniel Murphy, she is looking forward to her new adventures in college. She has been active in dance and is interested in participating in the college’s dance company.

“I’m excited because at MIT there are a lot of people who are like really accomplished, and they’re really motivated,” she said, “so it will be nice to have that collaborative environment where people are pushing each other to be their best.”

 

TANVI PATEL

Tanvi Patel volunteers at Lawrence General Hospital, using a patient activity cart to help make people feel more comfortable during their stay.

In a few years, she might be doing much bigger things in health care.

Patel, a possible future doctor, is headed to Harvard University, a place she did a lot of research on before applying for admission.

“They have a lot of good research programs there. They have a medical school connected there, too. I’m thinking of going premed and going to medical school after (being an) undergrad,” Patel said. “I thought it was a great undergrad institution to go to. There’s tons and tons of courses so I can customize my academic load. So many opportunities available.”

In high school, Patel played tennis, was a member of the National Honor Society, the Science National Honor Society and Students Against Destruction Decisions. She also founded the Mental Health Awareness Club. She enjoyed taking AP Biology during her sophomore year. At the end of the course, there was a project where students explored colleges they might like, she said.

“I didn’t really know all the different things they had to offer,” she said of Harvard. “I was able to look at it in more depth through that project.”

Also during her sophomore year, Patel participated in the Future Doctors Program by Harvard Student Agencies. The two-week program is described as giving high school students the unique opportunity to “delve” into the pre-medical field and to become confident and knowledgeable about the path to medical school.

“I thought that was really interesting,” Patel said.

Taking other science courses at MHS helped her decide that she wanted to pursue an education in science. Seeing doctors and nurses helping patients at LGH helped her think that she might want to work in health care.

“I realized they have great science programs and they have a lot of funding for their science program and I thought that I would be a great fit there,” she said about her exploration of what Harvard had to offer.

Tanvi is the daughter Sonal and Manoj Patel.