Shupenis Takes Hold of Her Future Within NHS’ Walls


Courtesy of Anna Shupenis

Anna Shupenis bridges her passion for agriculture with her knowledge gained from her time at NHS, such as working with horses.

Allysa Calabrese, Reporter

WOODBURY – Paws, hooves and trotters – all things that Anna Shupenis has dealt with since she was little. Her passion for all things animals led her to pave her way starting within the walls of Nonnewaug High School. 

“I always knew that I wanted to go into the animal side of the program.” said Shupenis, a senior and president of the Woodbury FFA. “Ever since I was little, I would help my mom, who was a veterinarian, and also worked at a horse barn years before I applied to the program. 

Unlike some people, Shupenis knew what she wanted to do from a young age. Shupenis was able to get a head start right inside the walls of her high school. 

Nonnewaug students, faculty and staff might see her walking the halls every Monday through Friday — seeing her campaign for spirit weeks, clubs, events and so much more — but Shupenis’ story is one of following and feeding a passion.

Even though Shupenis ended up at Nonnewaug because she’s from Region 14, she took the path of becoming part of the Woodbury FFA and had her mind set on it before walking through the doors of NHS for the first time as a freshman. 

Anna Shupenis speaks at last year’s Woodbury FFA banquet to accept her role as chapter president. (Woodbury FFA)

“I wanted to be part of the organization because I thought it would be a great way to expand my interests,” Shupenis states, “[and] to focus more on what I want to be doing in college and after high school.”

Shupenis was set on taking the vet class throughout high school; however, although she enjoys the course, she decided to switch it up. 

“I originally came into the program for vet science and then decided to do production for more of the large animal side of it,” Shupenis said. 

Through the courses she has taken, Shupenis has learned a lot about the subject and has done countless events and activities to help herself get involved in what she wants to do in the future. This includes shadowing possible job opportunities with a large animal veterinarian. 

“It was during my shadow that I realized it was something I might do,” Shupenis stated. “I realized during my shadow that I liked large animal care better than small animals. During the shadow, I followed a large animal vet around for the whole day. I really got to live a day in the life of a large animal vet. Shadowing a vet did help me know the real world life as a vet since I saw the good, the bad and the ugly.” 

Shupenis is known for giving others a helping hand when needed and is always willing to teach others with the knowledge she has gained over the years. 

“Anna is in my ag production class, and working with her is the most fun; we joke and still get stuff done,” said Alyssa Hodges, senior in the ag production class. “She’s always willing to help out people who don’t understand something.” 

Shupenis isn’t just noticed for her role in the ag program at NHS. She is also known as one of the faces for the school with the huge role she plays within it.

Shupenis was chosen last year, along with Rebecca Varnum, to join a competition for high school students across the country to raised money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. Shupenis and Varnum were named the organization’s Students of the Year in Connecticut for raising more than $35,000.

“I thought it was a great way to help someone in their worst moment by helping them afford treatment with the money we raised,” Shupenis said. “It took a couple weeks to prepare for the event. Rebecca and I worked with Mrs. [Tricia] Brown through the Spirit Club, which met weekly.” 

Shupenis helped make red shirts for students and faculty to wear to school and to the rivalry basketball games against Shepaug later that night.

With the hard work Shupenis along with others put into school events like the red-out, the school spirit increased and she left a mark on Nonnewaug. 

Shupenis’ impact on Nonnewaug is felt far beyond just her work with agriscience. With the amount of hard work Shupenis has put in for the FFA and the school collectively, it personifies how diversely talented she is: a student bridging her talents with her passion. Shupenis is more than qualified to take her experiences and opportunities she has been a part of to go above and beyond after high school, one passion at a time.