Exeter High School names top 10 students in the Class of 2023
Avery Lord is the daughter of Kirsten and Jim Lord and has two older sisters Hannah and Reagan Lord. She and her family live in Newfields. Avery spends most of her time at school studying and working on school work, but any free time at school is spent participating in multiple extracurricular activities. She has been a part of the National Honor Society for two years, and she was part of the French Honor Society for three years. She also has participated in the Science National Honor Society for three years, the Math Honor Society for three years, the English National Honor Society for two years, and the Rho Kappa Social Studies National Honor Society for one year. In addition, Avery spends many mornings in the school library as a tutor and she was a Hawk Crew Leader for two years helping new students learn the ropes of the school.
Outside of school, Avery spends most of her time at the pool and the gym as a competitive swimmer of twelve years. She swims for Solo Aquatics where she is the Athlete Representative for the club team. Avery earned the Top Ten in New England Award for the past seven years and she swims at the National level racing those across the nation. In the past year, she has attended the TYR Pro Swim Series in Westmont, Illinois and Summer Junior Nationals in Irvine, California. She dedicates much of her time outside of school to getting yardage in at the pool.Avery also played basketball for six years playing on the Boston basketball team, the MCW Starz. She played leading up to high school but fully dedicated herself to swimming as she worked through the recruiting process.
During COVID-19, Avery volunteered at the Newfields Elementary School where she aided teachers with organization tasks as they battled with remote learning. She worked at the Oar House in Portsmouth for the last summer, and for the two summers before that, she was working at Pocos in Portsmouth. Aside from that, Avery is a part of Abounding Grace Ministries, where she enjoys spending time at the church. The activities that Avery likes to do when she is not at school or the pool are hiking, paddle boarding, surfing, and spending time with friends and family.
At the end of June, Avery will be reporting to the United States Military Academy where she will begin her six weeks of Cadet Basic Training. She is committed to swim for Army West Point and once classes start, she will be studying mechanical or civil engineering.
Elizabeth Bailey is the daughter of Dr. Sonnya Dennis and George Bailey of Newfields and Stratham-Newfields Veterinary Hospital. She is a four-year member of French Honor Society. As a co-president, she helped organize the annual fundraisers for school tuition for the society’s affiliate school in Haiti, including contributing a painting for the French Art Exposition fundraiser. She was awarded a Silver Certificate of Honor for her performance on the Grand Concours French exam her senior year.
Elizabeth is also a two-year member of National Honor Society and English Honor Society, and was awarded a Silver Key from the Scholastic Art student art contest her sophomore year. As a member of Hawk Crew, she helped the incoming class of 2026 adjust to high school, working with teachers to provide insight on the academic experience.Outside the classroom, Elizabeth attended the 2021 Linguistic Society of America conference in Washington, D.C., to engage with her passion for linguistics. Since 2018, she has attended the annual UNH Writers Academy summer program, where she has continued sharpening her writing skills. She works extensively on her fictional world, for which she has written two full-length books and several short stories concerning its history and major figures.
She continues honing the language that she created to accompany it, and looks forward to refining it in college into a usable, practical form. She enjoys spending time with her cats Melba and Stella and her dog Sally. She is curious to learn anything new, and loves watching old films with her parents and grandmother. In autumn, Elizabeth will attend Bryn Mawr College where she plans to study linguistics, specifically syntax and morphology.
Caitlyn Knowles is the daughter of Ken and Kelly Knowles of Exeter and sister to Justin and Cameron Knowles. During her time at Exeter High School, she was a two-year member of the National Honor Society, a two-year member of the Spanish Honors Society and a one-year member of the Rho Kappa Honors Society. She was also a two-year member of Hawk Crew, where she helped to welcome the incoming class of EHS students during their freshman orientation and with their transition into high school.
As a student athlete, Caitlyn was a four-year member of the varsity ice hockey team, and a captain both her junior and senior years. She received the Scholar Athlete Award all four years of her high school career. She also received the team’s “Founders Award” her sophomore year and the “Bluehawk Award” her senior year. She was honored to be a two-year participant in the NHGHA “Best of the 603” Invitational Game. She is excited to represent EHS and the state of NH in the Make-A-Wish Vermont-New Hampshirite All-Star Hockey Classic in July.
Caitlyn was honored to be recognized by Senator Maggie Hassan, along with her fellow ice hockey captains, as her “Granite Staters of the Month” during February of her junior season for her work on the annual “Stick it to Stigma” hockey game in partnership with Connor’s Climb. In addition to playing club hockey with the New England Wildcats, Caitlyn enjoyed being a student coach for her younger brother’s hockey team and helping out with Special Olympics skating when her time allowed. She also works at Me & Ollie’s Cafe & Bakery in downtown Exeter and is looking forward to being a camp counselor at the Exeter Summer Adventure Camp this upcoming summer.
In the fall, Caitlyn will be attending Villanova University where she plans to study Political Science and will be playing ice hockey.
Carly Castaldy is the daughter of Roxanne and Matthew Castaldy of Exeter. For the past four years, she has been a part of numerous school clubs, including Key Club, Poetry Club, and Journaling Club. She had also been a member of the National English Honor Society, Spanish Honor Society, and National Honor Society, and Carly holds an officer position in both Rho Kappa and Science National Honor Society.
Carly has competed on the EHS Track and Field team since freshman year, and has been involved with both the indoor and outdoor seasons. Carly competes in the 100-meter dash, long jump, triple jump, and javelin, and she has been a key component of the 4×100-meter relay team. This spring season Carly has been chosen as one of the sprinting captains for the girls’ team. Carly has received the NHIAA Scholar Athlete Award each season for all four years of track and field. Additionally, this past winter she was one of the managers of the Exeter Girls Hockey Team.Outside of school, Carly works part-time at Water Street Bookstore in downtown Exeter. She is also a student and teacher at Karate International of Exeter, where she has achieved the rank of third-degree junior black belt and is a Level 3 instructor. Carly has participated in karate for ten years and has taught classes to younger students for five years. She competes alongside her Varsity teammates at tournaments, where she has placed first, second, or third a dozen times.
Next fall Carly plans to pursue her education at American University in Washington, D.C. She hopes to study political science and justice in law with a concentration in criminology, and possibly add a minor in creative writing.
Delaney McLynch is the daughter of Jill Capitani and Jeff McLynch of Exeter. She is a National Merit Scholarship Finalist and a 4-year NHIAA Scholar Athlete, having competed as a four-year varsity athlete and state qualifier on the EHS ski racing team and a four-year athlete on the EHS field hockey team. She is the two-year Secretary of the National English Honor Society and a two-year member of the National Honor Society, Science National Honor Society, and Spanish National Honor Society.
Outside of academics and athletics, Delaney is the EHS Student Government Senior Class Secretary and Vice President of Seacoast Youth Advocates, a community activism club she founded that volunteers and fundraises for local aid organizations and charities. As a member of Art and Poetry Club, Delaney spends much of her free time writing and creating art and is a four-time Scholastics Art and Writing Awards winner and a Merrill Writing Contest winner. She worked as the volunteer logo designer and muralist for the Exeter Community Fridge and hopes to continue to integrate art into the Exeter community.
This fall, Delaney will begin her undergraduate studies at Tufts University as an environmental engineering major and a fine arts minor.
Jack Herring is the son of Brad and Virginia Herring. He has a younger brother, Peter, who is in the class of 2026 at Exeter High School. While Jack has seen success in the classroom, he has also committed his time to athletics and service outside of the classroom.
After moving to Exeter his sophomore year, Jack played soccer for the Seacoast United Academy until the end of his junior year. He then decided to bring his athletic career to Exeter High School during his senior year. He played varsity soccer and was awarded MVP of the team as well as Second Team All-State. Jack also joined Exeter’s Special Olympics Unified basketball team and helped the athletes win the state championship. Additionally, he played on the varsity lacrosse team during the spring of his senior year. Jack was awarded the NHIAA Scholar Athlete Award for soccer, Unified basketball, and lacrosse.
Additionally, he was honored to be picked as a nominee for the Seacoast Sports Boys Soccer Athlete of the Year Award which is given at the end of the year.
In terms of Jack’s service outside of the classroom, he has had the opportunity to be involved in clubs and organizations as well as create his own program at the school. Jack was a three-year member of the National Honor Society and a two-year member of the Math Honors Society where he tutored students and created educational math videos. He was also a two-year member of the Key Club where he was the president of the “Holiday Subcommittee” and a two-year member of the Debate Club. In partnership with a fellow senior and Exeter’s special education department, Jack participated in creating a social opportunity program for students with intellectual and developmental disabilities. The program helped IDD students socialize with other Exeter students through activities such as gym classes, art classes, and pizza parties.
In the fall, Jack will attend Wake Forest University where he will study economics.
James Runnette is the Salutatorian for the Class of 2023. He is the son of Heather and Tim Runnette of Stratham. He has been a member of the National Honor Society and Science National Honor Society for two years. He was the recipient of the Xerox Award for Innovation and Information Technology for 2022. James took part in the two-year Biomedical Science and Technology Program at the Seacoast School of Technology and is a member of the National Technical Honor Society.
He volunteered with Key Club for freshman through junior year. He served as a Hawk Crew Leader since sophomore year, helping with freshman transition and orientation. He also volunteered his time as a peer tutor for both math and science.
James swam for the varsity swimming and diving team, as well as qualified and competed at the New Hampshire State Meet for all four years. He was recognized as an NHIAA Scholar Athlete each season. He was a team captain and was given the MVP Award for both his junior and senior years. Outside of school, he spent countless hours swimming with the Solo Aquatic Swim Club. For the past three years, James has worked at the Peirce Island Pool as a lifeguard and is currently working on his Water Safety Instructor certification.
In the fall, James will attend the University of Vermont where he plans to study Medical Laboratory Science.
Meadow Gregory is the daughter of Karen Chiarella and Tom Gregory of Exeter. She is a two-year member of the National Honor Society and the National Spanish Honor Society. She was awarded the AP Scholar Award for her performance on the AP Language and Composition and AP Spanish Language and Culture Exams. Beginning in the fall of her junior year, Meadow and a friend developed a student-driven unit to address curriculum gaps in Black revolutionary history and expose peers to the work of marginalized thinkers. They created a project based on “The Autobiography of Malcolm X” and presented it to the English department at EHS.
As a student-athlete, Meadow was a four-year qualifier for the Meet of Champions and a two-year qualifier for New England in cross country. She took 4th at the Division 1 Cross Country State Championships her senior season and was named to the New Hampshire All-State Team. Meadow was honored to be a three-year captain in cross country and a two-year captain in track and field. In track, Meadow helped lead Exeter to the 2022 Division 1 State Championship team title. She ran on two 4×400 Division 1 state champion relays and anchored a 4×800 team to the Meet of Champions title her sophomore year. She took third at the Division 1 Indoor State Championships in the 600m her senior year.
Outside of school and sports, Meadow spent as much time outside as possible, surfing, snowboarding, camping, and traveling with her family and friends. In the summers, Meadow taught surf lessons at Cinnamon Rainbows Surf Company and volunteered for Surfing with Smiles, a program that provides free surf lessons to people with special needs. In the winters, she taught snowboarding at Mount Sunapee and received the PSIA-AASI Level 1 certification for Snowboard Instruction.
Next year, Meadow will attend Bates College, in Lewiston, Maine, where she plans to double major in biochemistry and Hispanic studies, and run cross country and track and field.
Nathaniel Murcin is the son of Scott and Lara Murcin of Stratham. He was a three-year member of the Science National Honor Society, for which he was elected Co-President in his senior year, during which he helped organize and run community service events centered on STEM engagement. In another three-year commitment, Nathaniel has worked as an officer in the Math Honor Society, helping to establish new forms of community service.
For several years Nathaniel was also involved in the National Honor Society, National English Honor Society, and National Latin Honor Society. Nathaniel was presented with the Yale Book Award and the Rensselaer Medal for Math and Science. He also was selected for the Outstanding Achievement in Mathematics Award by the New Hampshire Teachers of Mathematics. Nathaniel was a National Merit Commended Student, AP Scholar, and NH Scholar. He hasbeen a member of the math team for the past five years and was the number one ranked student for the Tri-State Math League throughout the 2022-2023 season, leading team EHS to a first-place victory as team captain. Additionally, Nathaniel was honored as an NHIAA/NHADA Scholar-Athlete.
In addition to his academic pursuits, Nathaniel has been an active participant in the UNH Youth Orchestra Program since 5th grade. He has been a part of the youth Chamber and Symphony Orchestras, sitting as principal cellist for the past two years. During the pandemic’s disruption, Nathaniel chose to be a regular member of the COVID Cello Project/Global Cello Project, an online recording project for cellists.
Most recently he has joined the jazz band at EHS. Nathaniel also played on the EHS men’s tennis team for three years and was a varsity swimmer during the 2022-2023 season. Nathaniel is active in peer tutoring and other service activities with his varied honor societies. From STEAM nights in local elementary schools to Park/Beach cleanups, he has worked to help his community. He really loves the outdoors and camping and enjoys amateur astronomy. In the fall, Nathaniel will be attending Georgia Tech to study engineering.
Santina Dresser is the daughter of Stacy and Kevin Dresser of Stratham. She has served as class treasurer for the past four years, working with other class officers to organize fundraisers and events. She is a member of the National, Math, Science, Social Studies, and Spanish National Honor Societies. In addition, Santina was a math peer tutor, a participant in NEML competitions, Hawk Crew Leader, and a Key club member.Outside of school, she was a 10-year member of a Rockingham County 4 H Club that focused on volunteer work and youth development.
As a student-athlete, Santina was honored with the NHIAA and NADHA Scholar Athlete award for excellence in academics and athletics. She was a four-year member of the Exeter volleyball team and the alpine ski racing team where she was a state qualifier for her junior and senior seasons. She also played on the Exeter tennis team for three years.
As class treasurer, she helped her class raise money to lower the costs of events like prom and senior week activities, while also planning and organizing events. In 2020, she attended a leadership conference in Washington D.C. to collaborate with fellow student government members from all around the country. She also has a nationally recognized certification in cell culture basics.
Santina has worked at Lago’s Lone Oak Ice Cream for the past 3 summers and babysits on the side. To volunteer in her community, she has participated in beach cleanups, worked with Seacoast family promise, and fostered kittens. In her free time, she loves to ski, travel, paddle board, and spend summers with family and friends at her grandfather’s beach cottage. Santina will attend Trinity College in Connecticut this fall and plans on studying biology on a pre-dental track.