Valedictorian was not on Ingrid Moore’s mind throughout her four years at Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School.
Instead, she focused on getting good grades so she could have options when applying to college. When the class rankings were announced last month, she knew she would be up there, but was surprised to see her name in the top spot.
“It was a plus and a surprise that I was valedictorian, but it was also exciting,” she said in an interview this week.
In the fall, Ms. Moore will attend Yale University where she plans to pursue her main passions: environmental conservation, wildlife protection and theater. She said she is looking forward to her next step and is both nervous and excited about moving to a city. But she said she will also miss the island community and its natural beauty.
“It’s going to be weird not being able to get out of school and take a walk in West Chop Woods or something,” she said. “But I’m really excited. I am delighted to change scenery and experience something different.
Ms. Moore’s interest in the environment stems from her father Adam, who is the executive director of the Sheriff’s Meadow Foundation. His mother Melissa is a registered nurse. Ms Moore was born in Middletown, Connecticut, but the family moved to the island when she was four. She grew up here with her two older sisters, Madeleine and Isabel, and her younger brother Huck.
She said Yale had long been her dream school, but unsure of her chances in the highly competitive world of college admissions, she almost didn’t apply. The day before the application deadline, she realized she would regret not taking the chance and decided to apply. When she found out she had been accepted she was overjoyed but there was no time to celebrate – it was the opening night of the high school production of Les Miserables and she was scheduled to take the stage as Mr Thernardier.
This performance weekend was followed by preparing for shows with the Minnesingers, studying five AP tests, and participating in Climate Action Week as part of the high school’s Protect Your Environment club.
Everything is starting to sink in now.
“It’s finally starting to hit me. It’s slow, but since I’ve had time to relax a bit, it’s good to finally think about it and process it, ”she said. In her graduation speech on Sunday, Ms Moore will issue a call to action on what her class can do to make the world a better place, especially when it comes to climate change. Growing up on the island, surrounded by nature, fueled her passion for environmental protection. In college, she plans to study ecology and environmental biology. She has previously identified Namibia, Australia and Kenya as wildlife research destinations for the university and beyond.
“Living on Martha’s Vineyard is so beautiful, going for walks all the time, I fell in love with being outdoors and wanting to protect that and take care of the animals,” she said. In December, she became an Eagle Scout, the first woman on the island to achieve the prestigious rank of Scouting. Her final project was another chance to explore her love of animals, she said. She affixed pages of children’s books to notice boards at Nat’s Farm and Misty Meadows to entice children so that a similar interest can arouse in them.
Her acting career began with a fourth grade production of William Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. She also plays the trombone and sings, but since that first performance she has been drawn to acting. She likes being able to separate herself from her character.
“I love being on stage and being able to perform and go above and beyond and be over the top,” she said. “It’s not like it’s me. I’m someone else, so it’s not me up there making a fool of myself.
Nor will Les Miserables be Ms. Moore’s last performance on the island. This summer, she will reprise the piece that started it all when she performed in A Midsummer Night’s Dream at the Tisbury Amphitheatre.
“Kind of a nice, full time,” she said.
Beyond the stage, she will spend her summer working at Biodiversity Works doing wildlife monitoring. She said she is looking forward to one last summer of relaxation and recreation before heading off to school in August.
“I’m taking advantage of last summer where I didn’t really have to work. Lots of reading, which really excites me,” she said.