December Student Spotlights: Baylyn Shankman and Aidan Kinsey

December 2023 spotlights include Baylyn Shankman and Aidan Kinsey
December 2023 spotlights include Baylyn Shankman and Aidan Kinsey
As hockey goalie, Baylyn stands in front of the goal on the rink
Baylyn Shankman: Hockey goalie and model

Senior Baylyn Shankman is the goalie for the Bernards varsity hockey team, as well as the Co-vice President of the Red Cross Club, Corresponding Secretary of the Math League, and a member of the National Honor Society as well as Key Club. Beyond these extracurriculars, however, Baylyn recently began to pursue modeling after competing in a pageant last year.

She picked up one of her older, primary passions, hockey, at age seven. At the time, her younger brother was taking skating lessons at Bridgewater Sports Arena. “Naturally,” she voices, “I was jealous and demanded to receive lessons too.” Baylyn describes seeing a group of hockey girls walking in the rink: “I had to be like them…the rest is history.”

Hockey has taught Baylyn several valuable life skills, presenting her with certain obstacles to overcome. “Being a girl on a boys team comes with its challenges,” reveals Baylyn, “I’ve learned to stand up for myself and to have a thick skin.” Through hockey, she has also reached an understanding that not every game goes the way she may want it, so it is important that she “not solely focus on how the team is doing but also on [her] personal development in her position.” 

“Baylyn is a very hardworking student and athlete who cares a lot about her fellow teammates and peers and is going to have a great college hockey career,” praises Baylyn’s close friend, Gina Mahlik ‘24.

More recently, Baylyn has developed a passion for modeling as an independent contractor, where she is hired for gigs by a number of different companies. “I currently model at bridal expos,” she explains, “where I walk the stage in several wedding dresses.” She has also done mannequin modeling, where she poses as animatronic mannequins in storefront windows.

Next fall, Baylyn will attend St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minnesota on a full academic scholarship, playing for the women’s hockey team. Baylyn is both Norwegian and Lutheran, and because there is a high concentration of Norwegians in Minnesota, she hopes to “connect with [her] heritage, learn about its language and culture, and possibly meet some of [her] relatives who live there!”

Baylyn decided to go for a D3 school because “[she] puts her studies above [her sports].” Still wishing to continue her hockey career in college, she particularly chose St. Olaf for the hockey coaches themselves: “They seem to care the most about their team.” One coach had even hosted a barbecue for the players, which lends itself to the sense of togetherness that Baylyn describes at St. Olaf. “I really liked the community of not just people on the sports teams but with all the people I interacted with when visiting,” she says.

During her time there, she will pursue a double major in Computer Science and Mathematics. The college is nationally ranked in areas of women in Computer Science and STEM facilities. Taking advantage of their high-esteemed study abroad program, Baylyn plans on going “abroad the summer after my sophomore year at the University of Oslo in Norway,” where she wishes to meet up with her Great Aunt Reidun.


In regards to modeling, Baylyn most enjoys meeting other models and learning about their backstories while getting their hair and makeup done. She plans to continue with modeling later on as well, “[taking] advantage of future opportunities when presented.”

As hockey goalie, Baylyn stands in front of the goal on the rink (Baylyn Shankman)
Aidan Kinsey, Civil Air Patrol Cadet, smiles in a suit, featuring many medals of honor
Aidan Kinsey: Civil Air Patrol Cadet

Aidan Kinsey is a Junior at BHS. He is a member of the madrigals choir and tech crew for our theater department, as well as an organization called Civil Air Patrol, which functions as the Air Force’s auxiliary. The cadet program, which he has been involved in for about 3 years now, prepares high school students for a potential military role and experience in an emergency services program.


Aiden also has some experience involving computer/ coding things. He says “computer stuff has always been an interest of [his] and goes back to [his] interest in the way things work. He started coding when he was eight years old as he got a programming kit from his grandparents. 


This program completes search-and-rescue and disaster relief. Most recently, Aidan was “involved in a search for a down helicopter in central Jersey. [He] managed the set up of radios up to 10 miles away while also managing the communication between those involved.” In missions like this, he says “it is important to keep communications tight. It is very hot, very loud, very busy, and there are a lot of moving factors.” 


To honor his success, Aidan earned what’s called the Brigadier General Billy Mitchel Award in March 2023. This award promoted him from cadet second to lieutenant and is the accumulation of time working as an individual and a front-line leader. This award is achieved by only about 15% of cadets who attend the program. Now, his rank is first lieutenant in Civil Air Patrol in the cadet program. Aidan is now working towards the Amelia Airheart award, which is cadet captain and only achieved by 5%-10% of cadets.


 It is a “goal of [his] because it is leadership experience and something [he] can proudly say [he has] done and led people through. It is nice to have real work experience as well as leadership experience.” There are close-book tests that one must pass to achieve said awards that assess leadership concepts as well as aerospace science. Aidan has attained his hand radio license and is working towards getting his commercial drone pilot license.


 In addition to this program, Aidan is also interested in computer technology. It started when he turned eight and got a programming computer kit from his grandparents as a gift and “sparked [his] interest in technology, specifically computer things.” On a final note, Aidan is now pursuing his next award, which involves extensive studying for a test he will have the opportunity to take in two months. “It is hard work,” he says, but “worth it in the long run, as it is nice to say [that he has] this experience and leadership experience to say [he has] have done something in life as real-world experience.”


Aidan Kinsey, Civil Air Patrol Cadet, smiles in a suit, featuring many medals of honor (Aidan Kinsey)
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