Middletown H.S. Student Spotlight: Jayla Agront & Chase Newman

Postsecondary ReadinessStudent Voice and Success

The RISE Postsecondary Success team partners with CT high schools to ensure all students graduate on time and complete milestones for their identified postsecondary plans. In the coming weeks, we will celebrate the accomplishments of graduating seniors in our Core Network schools. Their dedication, hard work, and resilience have led them to this important goal. Congratulations to the Class of 2024!

What is your plan, after you graduate high school? 

Jayla: I plan on attending Middlesex Community College, taking my pre-requisite courses, and then applying to a nursing program.

Chase: I have enlisted into the U.S. Army.  My ship date is August 20, when I am headed to Fort Moore in Georgia.

What support did you receive to help you form your postsecondary plan?  

Jayla: Mrs. Melnik, the College and Career Counselor, and Ms. Albon, my teacher, helped me a lot. I started meeting with Mrs. Melnik last year and we had conversations about my plans after high school. She helped me with my next steps and supported me in completing them so I stayed on track throughout the application process. I learned about the PACT program and the opportunity for free college and we also completed my FAFSA. This was so helpful in keeping my stress level down, as the process can be really overwhelming. She helped me with completing all of my milestones. I attended Senior Signing Day a few weeks ago. I was nervous to attend and be in front of all my peers like that but in the end, it was so rewarding. I’m a young mom and I worked really hard, it was so nice to be celebrated. 

Chase: The Career Center, Mrs. Melnik helped me a lot in exploring my options and the different pathways after graduation. She helped me learn more about the different branches of the military and was really supportive in helping me connect with the recruiter. I attended the Military Roundtable, which is an event Mrs. Melnik put together at the school. Although I pretty much knew I was going to enlist in the Army, being able to learn more about each branch and talk to recruiters from each helped me to finalize my decision. I also attended Senior Signing Day a couple of weeks ago. It was fun to see where my peers were going after graduation and I got to see a lot of people’s reactions to me enlisting, as some didn’t know I was going into the military.  

What advice would you give to a rising senior?

Jayla: Keep going. Don’t let others bring you down, just keep going. Know that you can do it even when it feels hard.

Chase: Do your work and stay out of trouble. Visit the Career Center, as there is a lot of help available and they can help you feel less stressed about the process.

What are you most proud of, as you look back on your high school experience?

Jayla: I never gave up. I had a lot of challenges throughout my time in high school.  Transitioning in was really hard; the classes were more difficult and I became pregnant my junior year. I’m so grateful for the support I had from my teachers and my Assistant Principal, Mr. Mertel. They supported me and encouraged me the whole way through. They didn’t give up on me so neither did I.  

Chase: The relationships I’ve been able to make with teachers and staff. They all had a big impact on me in high school.

What are you most looking forward to, as you look ahead to the future?

Jayla: Meeting my goal of becoming a nurse. I want to make myself and my daughter proud. I’m looking forward to a successful career, a stable future, and owning my own home someday. 

Chase: Meeting new people and seeing the world. I would really like to see Japan but it’s hard to get stationed there. I would also say becoming an Army Ranger. My uncle was a ranger, and I’ve always been drawn to this career. Once I leave in August I’ll have training until next June, then I’ll have RASP (Ranger Assessment and Selection) tryouts. This will be really hard, but I’ve been working with my recruiter to prepare.

Follow along with us on FacebookLinkedIn, and Twitter, as we continue to celebrate our amazing seniors!