New London - Camille Williams doesn't mind slasher films. She knows it's all fake. In fact, it was going to gory movies that helped her realize she might like a career in the medical field.
"All those 'Saw' movies, they don't bother me,'' said the New London High School senior who will be studying nursing next fall at Sacred Heart University.
But Williams, one of about 170 students who will receive diplomas June 18, also likes to take care of people.
"My little brother says I'm like the mom,'' she said during an interview in the science lab at school. "I always want to help people.''
And Williams knows firsthand what it's like to be a patient. During a soccer game in her junior year she collided with another playing going for the ball and tore her ACL. Surgery followed by six months of physical therapy put her on the receiving end of some TLC.
"I needed a lot of help,'' she said, remembering that her leg felt like it weighed a thousand pounds following surgery.
But a year later, and fully recovered, Williams went on to be the co-captain of the softball team, which she joined as a freshman. During her rehab from the soccer injury, she stayed on the team to do the books.
"I couldn't play, but I could be there for my team,'' she said.
For two years she was the ECC sportsmanship award recipient.
She led the New London High School softball team in wins as a freshman, sophomore and a senior, leading the team to the state tournament in her freshman and senior years.
"Camille is a very selfless individual; she puts the team first and has never once complained. She is the ultimate team player,'' said her coach Linda Pfeiffer. "She readily offers help and guidance to her teammates as well as moral support during games, whether she is playing or not. Camille leads by example - always upbeat, always cheering on her team, and always willing to give."
Her career choice was solidified during the Christmas break from school when she job-shadowed a nurse anesthetist at The William W. Backus Hospital as part of her senior project.
She was in the operating room for a complete knee replacement and plastic surgery to remove a patient's "love handles."
She especially liked the tools needed for the knee replacement: saws, drills and pliers. "I know they're people there,'' she said of the patients, "but you're concentrating on the operation and it's really intense and interesting.''
Williams lives with her mother, Kathleen Long, and a brother and sister in a house built by Habitat for Humanity. Her father, Dwayne Williams, was a football star for New London High School.
She's been going to school with most of her classmates for 13 years. Her prom date was a boy she's known since their first day of kindergarten at Harbor School.
"It's so comfortable here,'' she said. "I know what to expect from everyone."
The school community is close knit, she said, and tolerant. Kids in the band play sports. Kids in ROTC play in the band. There are a lot of groups, she said, but everyone mingles.
"It's like a family environment,'' she said. "Sometimes you fight or argue, but you make up."
The teachers in the school system have been exceptional throughout her school career, she said, taking the time to help students who need extra help.
"Camille is hard working, honest, dependable, reliable and any other superlative you can think of,'' said Leo Facchini, who had Camille in his human physiology class. "No matter how challenging the assignment was, it would not bother her; she would roll up her sleeves and get the job done."
Ten years from now she hopes to be in a steady relationship with children. She may eventually settle in New London.
"Maybe in my late 30s I'll live here," she said
For now, she's looking forward to college and studying to become a surgical nurse and traveling.
"I'd like to go to Europe,'' she said. "And Ireland, Italy, Greece, Egypt. And India.''