An obnoxious bell rings, signifying the conclusion of another, bleak, school day. Instantaneously, the chaotic stomping of sneakers can be heard echoing throughout every corner of the building. In just a few minutes, the building will be seemingly void of students, although there are always a few stragglers. One who never seems to leave the building is Romana Pilepich.
Pilepich is a sophomore at Bethel High School. Despite her young age, she is already recognized for her achievements – both academic and extracurricular. Already, she is taking AP Calculus BC, and AP Chemistry, both of which are rarely taken even by upper classmen, let alone sophomores. Pilepich’s teachers note that she is extremely ambitious. Mrs. Peterson stated, “She is driven, absolutely.” In addition, she manages to accomplish much in her various additional activities.
Pilepich is a ballroom dancer, a class officer, a member of the math team and the environmental club, on the drill and mock trial teams and a cadet petty officer second class. Many students wonder how she manages all the activities. However, Romana relishes the opportunities that come with involvement in such diverse communities that she gets to dabble into. Of all these activities Pilepich is particularly satisfied with mock trial. “The experience was great,” she explains. “And as always I love working with people that I otherwise would not come in contact with.”
Pilepich credits her parents for instilling in her ambition. “I’ve lived here my whole life,” she states, “but both my parents are from Croatia.” Pilepich emphasizes the profound influence of her ethnic, cultural background on her life. She even learned to speak Croatian before English.
That Croatian culture also translates into her school achievement, according to Pilepich. “My mom went to school in Croatia,” she said, “and throughout my grade school experience, my mom tried to challenge me where she believed the schools weren’t sufficient. Her work ethic she learned in Croatia has translated to a desire for us, as in me and my brother, to excel.”
Where other students struggle to balance personal life and school, Pilepich finds her strength. Her friend Jillian Giambruno (’14), comments, “She’s involved in so many different activities and she still manages to keep her grades up and maintain a social life. She’s really smart and friendly, and she’s always been a great friend.”
Pilepich has learned through her Croatian work ethic that the desire to excel has great merit. This has pushed her to get involved in whatever the Bethel school system has to offer, and has become the cornerstone of her social life.