ALUMNI SPOTLIGHT – Maggie Blaisdell
Bishop Carroll Catholic High School has a reputation for challenging students in the classroom and in extracurricular activities. 2018 graduate Maggie Blaisdell found that not only was this true, but that quality also prepared her well for her current endeavors.
Maggie is currently enrolled at the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) and is in her 3rd year of a Graphic Design BFA with a Marketing Minor and a Creative Writing Immersion. She says that the Graphic Design Department at RIT is relatively small, with only about 200 students in the program out of approximately 18,000 students on campus. She believes that the closeness of all involved with the program has brought her great benefits and connections and she is looking at jobs and internships that she would never have dreamt before.
Maggie sees many parallels between RIT and her time at BCCHS. “RIT has a reputation for being fast-paced and intense,” she said. “But while other students struggled in their transition to the new workload, I found that I was rather comfortable my freshman year. BC challenged me and encouraged me to work hard. In some ways, BC was harder than RIT (at least the first semester). Even now, with school being the most difficult that it has ever been, I am able to keep my head above water using the techniques I learned while at BC.” Her transition to RIT from BCCHS was reminiscent of her transition into high school. Like many junior high students, Maggie was unsure about what Bishop Carroll would have in store for her, but made the leap of faith, which has paid off immensely.
Maggie was not only the valedictorian of her graduating class of 2018, but she was also the recipient of the Faber J. Malloy Award, the highest graduation award bestowed by BCCHS. That award is given each year to the most well-rounded student in the graduating class. Maggie was extremely well-rounded during her time at BC, participating in cross country, the National Honor Society, and the Student Ambassadors, just to name a few of the groups in which she was a valuable member. She found her niche though in the field of art, and how Bishop Carroll fostered her development in that field. “Throughout my time at BC, I always felt extremely supported and valuable. It speaks volumes about the school that 2 AP Art programs were created to give me, and others interested in art the chance to build our skills. Without that training, I am not sure I would have made it to RIT. The teachers at BC truly make the school what it is. My favorite memories from BC are from the time after the 2:35 bell until 3:00 PM when I would walk down the hall and chat with teachers. I spent most of my time with Mrs. Beyer, and I know my little brother has kept that tradition. BC is like another home to me.”
She feels that art programs and artists get a bad rap. Maggie explained that, “Art does not just benefit artists. It is a myth that art is all about talent. Anyone can learn to draw! Art offers students the chance to be creative and think outside the box. Students always surprise themselves when doing grid portraits in Drawing I. Everyone did much better than they thought they could! Art is an outlet, and it is integral to a well-rounded education.”
Choosing to create her own path was never a question for Maggie, but she admits that the process can be intimidating for some. She believes that taking the risk to leave home has paid off for her in numerous ways, including meeting new people in New York and finding another home. For those students and individuals specifically looking at an art program, she has the following advice: “Please know that it is possible to make a fulfilling career from your skills. Some people believe that you will become a ‘starving artist,’ but I can tell you that nearly every student that graduates from the RIT graphic design program is far from starving. If you have a passion for what you do, you are able to do it well. If you are willing to work for it, there is opportunity out there for you. Do not be discouraged by people who might not understand your dreams!”
Maggie’s mother, Karen Blaisdell, is Bishop Carroll’s art and senior religion teacher. Her brother, Ely, is a senior at BCCHS this year. BCCHS is proud of Maggie and grateful for everything that her family has done for the students at Bishop Carroll Catholic High School! Congratulations, Maggie, on all of your success!
Maggie with her family - Karen, Maggie, Eben, Michael, and Ely
Maggie with her friends at RIT