Jun. 11—STONINGTON — Stonington High School senior Olivia Monte made the most out of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Last fall, the Quinnipiac University-bound student completed an online dual enrollment program through Liberty University in which she completed five college courses all while helping her to officially meet her high school graduation requirements in January. Since then, she completed an emergency medical technician training program and passed the certification exam. She plans to volunteer with a local ambulance company this summer.
Monte now plans to major in biomedical science and minor in Spanish at Quinnipiac with hopes to eventually attend medical school and become an emergency room physician. Monte said she has been inspired by her mother, an ER doctor at the Backus Hospital in Norwich.
"My mom is my biggest supporter and my inspiration. I look up to her," Monte said. "She supports me in so many ways, whether it's in school, in sports. I appreciate all the hard work she put in to raising me and being such a great role model. Now I'm kind of following in her footsteps."
While meeting her graduation requirements early meant she could not compete for the crew team this spring, she said it allowed her to get a jump on college requirements and get a real-life look at emergency medicine.
"I don't regret any of the decisions I made to get ahead with my education," she said.
Born in Cranston, R.I., she moved with her parents, Melissa and Philip, to Stonington when she was in fourth grade. She attended Deans Mill School and Mystic Middle School before the high school.
She's had little time to sleep the past four years as, in addition to her academic schedule, she played field hockey and captained the team her senior year, rowed on the crew team and participated in student government, drama and music programs. She also plays the piano and was a member of various honor societies.
She said it's the friends she has made participating in those activities that have created the great memories that she will cherish forever.
Even with early graduation and the fact she was not in school this winter and spring, she said she still attended crew races and school events. And she is allowed to attend senior events, including graduation and the prom.
Monte said taking college courses such as calculus, American government and medical terminology will allow her to take more courses that interest her in college this fall instead of general education requirements.
"It gave me a step up in completing my undergraduate education," she said.
She said the EMT certification gave her some basic fundamentals of medicine before going off to college where she hopes to volunteer as well as an EMT.
"It was a lot of work but I definitely enjoyed it and it will be helpful in the future," she said. "It's something I can build on."
Monte said she wanted to become an EMT because she does not like the feeling of being helpless in an emergency.
"I just want to help other people," she said. "I think being a doctor will be a very rewarding job."