Senior Icons: Pegeen Friese


Photo Credit: Pegeen Friese

Griffin Crafa, Contributor

Interview Conducted by Griffin Crafa

The following are direct quotes from Northport High School student Pegeen Friese in response to the questions she was asked during the interview.


Q: What is your favorite subject in school? Why do you like it?

A: Definitely Band. I love the academic [subjects] and every teacher that I have is fantastic, but since I’m going into music education, of course band is going to be my favorite. We’re all a big family. It’s really hard to decide between Marching Band and Symphonic Winds. I love Marching Band with all my heart, and when I go to college I’m not going to have a marching band, so that’s definitely a hard one. I really like both.


Photo Credit: Northport High School Website

Q: What is your least favorite subject? Has it always been your least favorite? Why don’t you like it?

A: I’m really bad at math. I’m terrible at math and everyone knows that. I’m in an Algebra II-Year I Class just to graduate. It’s so bad. I’ve always been bad at math and I always will be.

Q: What are your out-of-school or extracurricular activities?

A: Honestly, they’re mostly music. I’m in three outside groups. I do an orchestra Sunday mornings, I’m in another group on Saturday mornings, and then on Wednesday nights, [I play in] the Northport Horn Club, but I haven’t been able to go in a while because of my job. I work at Batata Cafe so it’s a lot of making smoothies, acai bowls, and the like. I also try to work out a lot, but that’s it.

Q: What do you like to do in your free time?

A: I’m pretty much always out with friends. I’m either driving around with them, or at the beach. There’s never really a time that I’m home, except for when I’m sleeping. Besides the [music] rehearsals that I have, I’m either out with friends, or sleeping.


Photo Credit: Northport High School Website

Q: Have you won or been nominated for any awards? Any achievements that you are proud of?

A: I got chosen to be the 2018 Homecoming Queen. All-State was also a big deal. I got First Chair Horn in the All-State Orchestra which was pretty cool. It was such an honor to get. That was probably the biggest thing for me this year. Being the Drum Major in the Marching Band for two years, especially since I joined the High School in Tenth Grade, and then became Drum Major in Junior Year, was a big thing too.









Q: Where will you be attending college in the fall? What are you most excited about for college?

A: I’m going to Ithaca [College] for music education. It was my top school, so I’m really excited to go there. I love to travel, so I’m excited to go away and live somewhere else for college, while studying and spending all this time on what I love. Again, academics are important, but if I want to be focusing on music, then I won’t have to read stuff about a robbery that happened in the 1820s. I’m excited to learn and do what I love with people that love doing it. I remember at All-State I was surrounded by everyone who loved music. It was fantastic. Also, Ithaca is gorgeous, and I’m super excited just to live there, meet everyone, and do music.

Q: What was the hardest part of the college application process for you? Why?

A: It was really stressful because what you had to do for one college, you had to do for all the other ones. Since all the kids these days are applying to so many schools, it’s a lot, especially with the arts I’d say. I’m sure it’s a lot for every subject, but I know for the arts it’s a lot more because you have to do portfolios. For music you have to do auditions. Audition on top of audition. This can get extremely stressful if you don’t know what you’re doing. I picked colleges based off what I’d heard. For example, I’d note, “This one has a good marching band.” I wasn’t paying attention to SUNY schools. I applied to every school that wasn’t a SUNY school. I did apply to Crane (even though it is a part of SUNY Potsdam), but I did so after I spoke with Ms. Cromeyn. This was a stressful time. It was at the beginning of January, when auditions were coming up, deadlines had passed, and I thought I was going to wind up “God knows where,” but then Ithaca was really generous towards me.

I went to Ithaca and they said they were going to extend the audition dates, so they encouraged me to come and audition. When I first went to Ithaca it was for a friend of mine’s interview and I talked to the music teachers and told them that I wanted to apply, that I wanted to audition. Thank God they said they had extended the audition deadlines. I wasn’t going to apply to Ithaca. It had been on my original list, but my parents were concerned about the pricing. But they didn’t know you could “bargain.” We ended up “bargaining,” got the price down, and now I’m going there. I applied to Potsdam, Fredonia, University of Delaware, George Mason, and the Hartt School (at the University of Hartford). The hardest part of the college application process is that it’s long. I know kids will be like, “On my God, I don’t want to do this,” but I know that once you get into the groove of doing it, people will be there to help you. It’s just getting it done. because there’s a lot that comes along with it.

Q: Because of the amount of activities you were involved in and the rigorous courses you took, you were probably stressed and overwhelmed at times during your high school career. What did you do to de-stress and manage these difficult times?

A: Everyone always gets stressed. I definitely took advantage of the off periods I had. If I really wasn’t “feeling it,” I’d go to my counselor, or even go down to the band room and say hi to Ms. Gralow or Ms. Cromeyn. If there’s really nothing I could do about being stressed in the moment and I was in class, I guess I just let it happen and just kind of thought through what was going on then. It does suck when you’re stuck in class and you have that mindset of “What the heck is going on,” but you just can’t do anything about it. That sucks. But even if you are able to walk around just a little bit, it’s helpful.

Q: What was the hardest part of your high school experience? Do you wish you had done anything differently? Why? What decisions are you most proud of?

A: Getting used to public school. I was homeschooled from the time I was in Kindergarten through Ninth Grade. The hardest part was coming in Sophomore Year, only knowing movie scenarios of what high school was like. I had know idea what it was going to be like. And in the middle of October of my first year, I told my mom that I hated it, and wondered how kids were able to live like this; this was ridiculous. When I was homeschooled I would sleep in usually to 9:30, and getting up at 6:00, a three and a half hour difference. My sleep schedule got messed up. I didn’t know a lot people; I had no friends in any of my classes. I told [my mom] I wanted to go back to homeschooling. And I don’t know what did it for me. There was something that kept me, and I’m glad whatever it was did. Everything changed junior year. It was insane. I was a completely different person from sophomore year. Being homeschooled was good.

If people asked me, “What did you like better, homeschooling or public school?” I’d say that both of them have their benefits. Homeschooling allows you to find yourself; you’re not trapped in a building for seven hours. You can do the things, learn the things, focus on the things that you want to, and take a lot more time for yourself and learn at your own pace. Public school is good for social skills and opportunities. For example, the Marching Band is going to DC, all these people have just come back from Puerto Rico and the Galapagos Islands. Each of them have benefits that prevent me from being able to pick which did more for me. They both have contributed a lot in helping me become the person I am today.

I regret not trying hard enough in some classes. I know that I’ve put a lot more effort into the things that I like. I’ve obviously put a lot more effort into classes like Band and classes that are easy, but with math and other things that I struggle with, I just gave up on them, and I wish that I wasn’t like that. I’m still trying to fix it, and if I’m going to become a teacher, I need to lead by example. I’m most proud of my decision to stay at the High School. Again, I don’t remember what it was that kept me here, but I’m very glad I did not go back to homeschooling. If I had gone back to homeschooling, I wouldn’t have met my closest friends or my boyfriend. I wouldn’t have gotten to meet Ms. Cromeyn or some of the other teachers I love, like the E-Team teachers. It was definitely good in the sense that I met so many people and had all these great opportunities.