Vinalhaven School valedictorian Shawn Chilles said May 16 that his dream job would be to work for a Formula One racing team as an engineer designing fast, circuit-racing cars that use aerodynamics to achieve high speeds.

Chilles is 17 years old and has lived in Vinalhaven his whole life.

He said it wasn’t the racing that interested him so much as the machines themselves. Chilles doesn’t race, but said the machines were “extremely interesting to me.”

“Just because something’s fast doesn’t mean it has to be inefficient,” he said.

During his school career, Chilles has played soccer, basketball and baseball and has taken an academic program that includes a number of online and advanced placement classes.

“I try to challenge myself a lot,” he said. “I like math and science. They seem kind of black and white.”

He said he didn’t hold a job during the school year, but that summer was a busy time.

“I go lobstering, mow lawns and work in a restaurant,” he said. “I’m the captain of my own boat and my dad goes with me. It’s kind of funny because he works for me. We get along really well. It’s not so much a job as that we go out and haul traps for a while.”

Chilles’ boat is a 19-foot center console outboard skiff.

“It’s not a big lobsterboat but it does alright,” he said.

He said he planned to take his scientific interests to the University of Maine at Orono next fall, where he would study mechanical engineering.

“It’s going to be really different,” said Chilles. “Here you kind of know everybody. I’m excited and look forward to meeting a lot of people.”

When he stands before his class June 18, Chilles said he will tell them “to go out there and enjoy it, make the most of it and take every opportunity they can get.”

“I’ve made lifelong friends here,” he said. “Some people are almost like brothers and sisters.” He said he would miss “hanging out with people I know really, really well.”

He said he was taking one of his best friends to the traditional sweetheart dance on June 19.

The Vinalhaven School graduation ceremony will be held Saturday, June 18 at 2 p.m. in Smith Hokanson Memorial Hall. The annual Grand March, a tradition that pairs the graduate with a parent, will be at 6:30 p.m. in the gymnasium and will be followed by a father/daughter, mother/son dance and the sweetheart dance.

The Herald Gazette Reporter Shlomit Auciello can be reached at 207-236-8511 or by email at