Hopkinton High School's Student News Site

HHS Press

Hopkinton High School's Student News Site

HHS Press

Hopkinton High School's Student News Site

HHS Press

Into the Real World: Seniors Learning Life Skills Before Graduation

Sophia Matsoukas
Senior Ella Nell sits beside her online financial literacy course, Mills Knows Bills.

With graduation around the corner, many seniors are making efforts to learn life skills like finance, cooking, car maintenance, and starting a business.

Senior Ella Nell is a member of the student advisory board for the College Access Project, a non-profit organization helping bridge the gap in college admissions. As part of the board, she was provided with free access to Mills Knows Bills: All Things Money, a financial literacy program by Mills Bender.

“I didn’t have to join the program, but after learning what it was about, I was really interested. I feel like financial literacy is something that should be taught at school because it’s really important,” Nell said.

Alongside information about budgeting, making financial goals, credit and debt, insurance, investing, retirement, taxes, career, and college, Nell has also learned to shift her mindset when it comes to money.

“The first thing you should do is basically retrain your mind, switching from scarcity to abundance. List all of your wins, large or small, and practice being grateful. Learn to say ‘Ι get to’ rather than ‘I have to.”

Nell wants to study business in college, where she will build upon her financial literacy skills.

“I want to set myself up for success so that I don’t have to worry about money later. I think a lot of adults—even my parents—are aware of money and everything, but there are certain things in this program that are kind of like tricks to help them even more.”

After learning all about finance, Nell has knowledge to share.

“One thing I learned from Mills is that money should not be a leading stress factor in your life. I think that is something very important for people to understand because we worry about money a lot, and although it’s a big part of our lives, it’s not everything. Doing this course can help you be more prepared so you don’t have to worry about money later,” Nell said.

One of senior Anya Krishnamony’s favorite meals, utilizing her staple ingredients, “an egg, a tortilla, an avocado, and hot sauce.”

Senior Anya Krishnamony has been cooking with her parents since middle school, but only in high school did she start to make harder dishes on her own.

“I don’t really follow recipes, so anything that I know is either from my parents or from me learning how to experiment with ingredients,” Krishnamony said.

Recently, Krishnamony has created an Instagram account dedicated to sharing her meals.

“Cooking is kind of therapeutic, and Ι love to make my food look really pretty, take pictures of it, and show it to people. I think the end product is the most appealing to me, to look at it and admire what I’ve made.”

Krishnamony believes her cooking skills will help her out in life after graduation.

“Some of the dishes I make are really simple and don’t require many ingredients. Once I get to college, or my first job, where I’m limited on my budget, I can easily make something out of the few ingredients that I have.”

Krishnamony has a lot of advice to share from her experience in the kitchen.

“Don’t go out to the store and buy stuff. Start with the stuff that you already have, and don’t be too worried about complicated processes and recipes. You can do a lot and you can fill yourself up a lot with an egg, a tortilla, an avocado, and hot sauce.”

“There are definitely ways you could fail at cooking, but my best advice would be to try it, and if it fails, try again, because even if it fails you can see what went wrong,” Krishnamony said.

Senior Sam Holly, who started his car detailing business over two years ago, sits inside the car that he owns and maintains himself. (Sophia Matsoukas)

Senior Sam Holly started his mobile car detailing business over two years ago. Since then, he has worked for about three hundred clients with an average of ten clients per week in the summer and four to five clients per week during the school year.

“It’s convenient, and it’s definitely something that took off after COVID because health and safety and cleanliness was a big thing,” Holly said.

Holly initially learned the basics of cleaning cars by watching YouTube videos, and over time perfected his craft through practice.

“It was something that I knew people needed and wanted, but also I love cars and I love working around them. I wanted to do something creative and something that I could do on my own.”

A car of Holly’s many clients, being cleaned inside and out. (Sam Holly)


Running his own business has given Holly various skills that will prove useful as an adult.

“I have the physical labor skills—it’s tough, manual work—but I also have communication skills, talking with clients and expressing myself as a young professional, as well as managerial skills. When I have the amount of clients that I have at this point, it can get a little crazy, and it has a lot to do with managing those clients and keeping things organized for myself,” Holly said.

Alongside starting his own business, Holly has learned many car maintenance skills, such as changing his oil, changing his tires, and knowing the components of the engine and how it works.

“I think getting my license and finally having a car is really what taught me the most. As a teenager, I don’t have a ton of money, so it’s kind of up to me to be able to know what’s going on, fix stuff if it breaks, and try things out,” Holly said. “You never know when you’re going to be in a tough situation, and car maintenance can get really expensive.”

Holly hopes to inspire his fellow classmates to learn new skills and start their own businesses, too.

“It’s the best decision I’ve ever made. It’s just a great thing to do early because not many people can start a business when they’re older and go into careers. Find something unique, something that no one else is offering, and make a name for yourself. It’ll definitely pay off,” Holly said.

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