Faith Perrier stands Friday in the music room of Oak Hill High School in Wales. She plans to go to Thomas College in the fall to study business administration with a focus on human resources. Andree Kehn/Sun Journal

WALES — When Faith Perrier heads to Thomas College in Waterville this fall to study business administration, she’ll have a leg up over her peers.

At 18, the Oak Hill High School senior is already a manager at a local restaurant. Every other day, she leaves school after first period and heads to a local McDonald’s, where she’s worked for the past two years.

Some of her co-workers may not realize she’s still in high school. Perrier, who lives in Sabattus, works about 30 hours per week at the restaurant, sometimes as many as 10 hours in a single weekday.

As a department manager, Perrier is tasked with hiring and training staff at the restaurant, some of whom are older than she is.

“It’s a lot of work and a lot of late nights, but I manage,” she said.

Generally, Perrier said, she aims to leave work no later than 8 p.m., and always sets aside Saturday as her catch-up day.


“They’ve asked me to be a (general manager) a couple of times, but I told them no because I want to go to college,” she said.

Even as much as she works, Perrier has still managed to earn some of the highest grades in her class. In June, she’ll graduate as one of eight students with summa cum laude honors.

And, perhaps to the envy of some of her classmates, she’s been able to buy a car with her earnings.

But as impressive as her work achievements are, it’s not the only business experience Perrier has. This year, Perrier was president of Oak Hill’s chapter of Future Business Leaders of America and president of the state organization. In March, Oak Hill’s FBLA chapter won the state title for the 25th consecutive year.

She is also a member of Oak Hill’s academic decathlon team, which placed first in the state the past two years, and a graduate of the Olympia Snowe Leadership Institute. Founded by the former U.S. senator from Maine, the three-year program aims to raise the confidence and aspirations of high school girls by teaching leadership skills.

“I’m mostly comfortable with (public speaking) now, “she said. “I crack jokes, too, it’s not as hard as it used to be. My freshman year, I could not imagine myself doing that.”


Perrier’s workload “is pretty manageable for the most part,” she said, trailing off. “I drink a lot of energy drinks. Let’s put it that way,” she added with a laugh. She plans to decorate her graduation cap with a list of sponsors, including Red Bull.

Still, it’s not all just work and school. Perrier taught herself to play guitar when she was in middle school. Now she plays guitar and drums in the high school’s rock band.

Derek Anderson, Oak Hill’s academic decathlon coach, said Perrier is an excellent student and a natural leader.

“She has become very self-assured and assertive,” he said. “She is not afraid to call out peers when they are being mean, rude, or bigoted, but she is always respectful and helpful in doing it.”

“Because of (her many) interests and the responsibility she has shouldered for years already, Faith is ready for college and the workforce as few graduating seniors are,” he continued. “I can’t wait to see what she accomplishes, and I hope to pay money to see her play with her band one day.”

Perrier will be paying her way through college. But between her savings and a significant pool of scholarships from Thomas and other sources, Perrier said she’s not worried. As she did in high school, she plans to find a part-time job to earn money and more experience.


Thomas, she said, appealed to her because of the strength of its business program and its affordability, particularly in comparison to out-of-state colleges. She also plans to join Thomas’ FBLA chapter and continue developing business-related skills.

In the future, she aims to find paid internships during college and eventually to work in human resources.

“I really just want to get as far as I can, anywhere I go, really,” she said.

This is the 11th article in a series featuring high school seniors as graduation season nears. In the series, the Sun Journal will profile a randomly chosen top 10 student or the equivalent from 16 high schools in central and western Maine.

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