MERIDEN — Ever since she was little, Bryanne Pappas’ teachers told her she’d be class valedictorian one day.
Years later, the Maloney High School senior made their predictions come true.
“Since I was little I was always very interested in math and all that stuff,” Pappas said. “I was that one kid at the daycare that did puzzles instead of playing with the baby dolls.”
Pappas will pursue a six-year physician assistant program at Quinnipiac University this fall.
She always wanted to be a doctor and chose the program because it is prestigious and close to home.
“I feel like I really was inspired to be a doctor when I was in the hospital a lot with my grandfather, because my grandfather had cancer,” Pappas said. “So I watched what they did and I just really wanted to do that. I thought it was really cool.”
Pappas credits her two chemistry teachers, Jennifer Ward and Sharon Kirsche, with making science enjoyable.
“They were just very influential to me,” she said.
Pappas, who has played an instrument since fourth grade, was a member of the high school band all four years.
She is the clarinet section leader, a drum major, plays piano and joined the winter percussion group and pit for school musicals.
Brian Cyr, Maloney band director, said Pappas is the “total package” as a student.
“Bryanne's just like the nicest kid you ever met in your life,” Cyr said. “She's as modest as they come, too, so a lot of times people don't realize how many great things she does.”
Among other things, she tutors piano at Roger Sherman Elementary School, teaches vacation bible school at the First Assembly of God and had a year-long personalized learning experience with the Maloney principal.
Cyr said she’s always been very supportive of the younger students in band and has proven to be a skilled leader.
Pappas has even made perpetual and debilitating migraines a learning experience.
“It's helped me learn time management a little bit. I've just learned you always have to push through it and it always could be worse,” Pappas said.
She values education because it allows people to make connections and have intellectual conversations.
“I feel like you just need to know what's going on around you, you need to know what's happened and you need to learn from past mistakes,” Pappas said. “You should always be pushing your brain as far as you can… You're blessed to have what you have, take advantage.”