Hawkins, Martinelli top BMR Class of 2021

Hawkins, Martinelli top BMR Class of 2021

Natalie Hawkins, left, valedictorian and Gabriele Martinelli the salutatorian of the Class of 2021.

BLACKSTONE – A turbulent senior year has ended in success for Blackstone-Millville Regional High School’s top students, who will lead their class during graduation ceremonies in June.

Natalie Hawkins and Gabriele Martinelli have been named the valedictorian and salutatorian of the Class of 2021. Both students are members of the National Honor Society who invested their time during high school in AP classes, extracurricular activities and band.

Hawkins, the daughter of Lauren Hawkins of Milford, Mass., and Daniel Hawkins of Blackstone, is an aspiring artist who plans to attend the Rhode Island School of Design in the fall. She told The Breeze she enjoys drawing portraits and storyboard characters and hopes to pursue illustration. Last spring, she created a picture honoring health care workers that was sent to employees at Mass General Hospital.

“I’d always draw randomly, and then around (6th grade) I started practicing more because I saw different artists on social media that I’d borrow from, and they just inspired me to get better,” she said.

In 2019, she attended a summer program at the Pratt Institute. She was accepted to several art colleges and received a 5 on her AP Art portfolio during her junior year.

Hawkins is also a drummer in the Chargers Marching Band and BMR Wind Ensemble and has played in the BMR Jazz Band since the 8th grade. She has been a part of the Tri-M Music Honor Society and Winter Percussion and is a founding member of Chargers for Change. She is an Abigail Adams Scholar and vice president of the National Honor Society.

By the time she graduates, she will have completed seven AP courses in a range of subject areas and is recognized as an AP Scholar. She was also a finalist for the DESE Presidential Scholars Award and represented BMR for the Worcester County Superintendent Association’s Scholarship. She also received the Highest Honors Distinction from the Society of Women Engineers.

Asked what advice she had for younger students, Hawkins said to “stay on top of your work.”

“I know that’s difficult to do, especially if you have personal things or a lot of after-school activities and things like that. But just to try to stay on top of your work, and don’t be afraid to ask for help if you need it,” she said.

Martinelli is the daughter of Dennis and Debra Martinelli of Blackstone. An aspiring physician assistant, she plans to attend either Northeastern University or the University of Massachusetts Amherst in the fall and was accepted to the honors programs for both schools.

“I think I like the idea of being able to help someone every day or many different people, because not everybody gets that opportunity,” she said about her career choice.

Martinelli is also a member of the Chargers Marching Band and said band has had a big influence on her time at BMR. She currently serves as both a section leader and drum major and is also a member of the BMR Wind Ensemble. She is a member of the Tri-M Music Honor Society, serving as current vice president and former service coordinator, and worked with 5th-grade students to teach them to play the clarinet.

Martinelli said attending senior year during a pandemic has been challenging at times, particularly when it came to taking certain AP classes and labs online. By the time she graduates, she will have completed nine AP courses and is recognized as an AP Scholar. She also serves as president of the National Honor Society and treasurer of the senior class and is the recipient of an Abigail Adams Scholarship and the Highest Honors Distinction from the Society of Women Engineers.

Martinelli urged younger students not to take any of their experiences for granted.

“Just the small events that the school may have and little hangouts with friends, those are really valuable things that I think we took for granted before all of this happened,” she said.

BMR graduation is scheduled to take place on Friday, June 4.