SUNAPEE — On Feb. 21st, Sunapee Middle High School hosted a College and Career Readiness Fair for students in Grades 6-12.

The event kicked off with a keynote speech from Commander John J. Christensen of the United States Coast Guard. Commander Christensen is a native of Sunapee and graduated from Sunapee Middle High School in 1995.

After graduation, Commander Christensen went on to graduate from the Massachusetts Maritime Academy where he received a Bachelor of Science degree in Marine Transportation, his Merchant Mariners License, and a commission in the U.S. Navy where he served for three years before transitioning to the U.S. Coast Guard.

Now in his 21st year in the US Coast Guard, his awards include the Meritorious Service Medal, five Coast Guard Commendation Medals, two Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medals and one Commandant’s Letter of Commendation Award. 

Commander Christensen spoke of his time at Sunapee Middle High School and recognized the accomplishments of the Class of 1995.

“Amongst us we have lawyers, architects, military contractors working for Raytheon, and bankers. New Hampshire’s Deputy State Archaeologist is a ‘95 grad, so is the director of the Abbott Library. We have IT professionals, folks who have earned their doctorates, and directors of human resources agencies. We have a graduate who orchestrates music on Broadway and who has been nominated for Grammy and Tony awards.

“And we have a graduate who serves a greater cause as the Executive Director of the Nashua Center, a non-profit supporting those with disabilities. No matter where you find a ‘95 grad, you will find us leading, setting the example for all Sunapee graduates.”   

Commander Christensen challenged students to make educated decisions when planning for the future. In addition, Commander Christensen gave real world advice to the students about the value of leadership, character, resilience, creativity, humility, and service to others. He encouraged them saying, “I know that each of you will continue to do great things and continue to represent what it means to be from Sunapee.”

Commander Christensen presented Sean Moynihan, the school principal, with a retired United States Flag that flew over USCGC SENECA for thousands of miles of sea time. 


After the keynote address, students attended workshops facilitated by professionals in college admissions, the private sector and the Armed Services. Students learned about opportunities in apprenticeship, community college options, employability skills, how to build the optimal transcript, playing athletics in college, and finding the right college. The event concluded with a school-wide lunch with all guest speakers in attendance.

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