060719 NSTN Wheeler High Valedictorian Sarah Spracklin 193.JPG

Wheeler High valedictorian Sarah Spracklin photographed at the entrance of new high/middle school on Friday, June 6, 2019. Harold Hanka, The Westerly Sun

NORTH STONINGTON — Wheeler High School valedictorian and senior class vice president Sarah Spracklin likes volleyball, lacrosse  and getting straight A’s — but her favorite thing is volunteering at a therapeutic horse farm.

Called Horses Healing Humans, the farm, which is in Stonington, offers equine-assisted learning and psychotherapy, along with therapeutic riding for children and adults.

“I like that I can help other people,” Spracklin said. “I’ve been going there for five years now on the same day with the same kids, and I’ve watched them really progress through the use of the horses. They developed a lot of skills that when they first started I didn’t think they’d get."

Although she doesn’t own a horse, Spracklin says she is now taking horseback riding lessons because she got an award from the farm for “Volunteer of the Year,” which came with a discount on riding lessons. She also got awards this year for horsemanship and sportsmanship, the latter for her positive attitude.

Spracklin said she has gotten good grades from the time she started school.

“I would get really upset if I didn’t get an ‘A’”, she said. “I don’t know, I had such high standards for myself that I didn’t like not reaching them.”

Her favorite subject is science, and she has been accepted at the University of Connecticut with a full scholarship.

“I like chemistry a lot, but what I’m planning on doing for college is biomedical engineering, maybe pre-med. Who knows at this point,” she said.

“The good thing is, the first and second in the class get free tuition to UConn, along with it being an awesome school,” Spracklin said. “I have to pay room and board, but you can’t really say no.”

Her friend Valerie Knowles, who is second in the class, is also attending UConn next year.

“I’m kind of excited,” Spracklin said. “We’ve been in classes together all through middle school,” she said. “We’ve had the exact same schedule, it’s kind of funny.”

For her senior project, Spracklin’s mentor was a teacher of the visually impaired.

“That took up a lot of time,” she said. “She had a side project with Mystic Seaport, and we ended up winning a grant,” Spracklin said. “We have $5,000 to help get the Seaport more accessible to visually impaired people.”

“My mentor knows I can always text her if she needs any help and I’ll come back,” Spracklin said. “And I’m hoping to get involved with UConn’s equestrian program, and see what they have up there.”

Spracklin said her best memories of the North Stonington Public School have been made in the past year.

“I like the classes I’m taking, and all the senior activities,” she said. “I feel like we’ve really come together as a class this year."

Spracklin also played volleyball and lacrosse all four years, and was co-captain of the lacrosse team this year.

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