Winthrop High Graduates Heading for Harvard and MIT: Valedictorian Michael Lessard Will Attend Harvard University

Thursday, May 30, 2013
By Cary Shuman

 

Michael Lessard

Michael Lessard

The biographical summary in the Northeastern Conference Scholar-Athlete Dinner program reads, “Michael Lessard has displayed excellence both in the classroom and on the sports field.”

Add in his outstanding leadership qualities – he is president of the Winthrop High School Student Council and the National Honor Society and a three-sport captain – and what you have is a well-rounded, highly motivated student who clearly chose to be involved during his four years at Winthrop High School.

The admissions staff at Harvard College – which received more than 35,000 applications for spots in its incoming class – also thought very highly of Lessard’s impressive record, granting him admission as a member of the Harvard Class of 2017.

“I received the letter in the mail on Good Friday – pretty much my whole family was there and we were all excited, but I had to go to lax [lacrosse] practice right after that,” recalled Lessard about the moment when he knew he would be attending Harvard, the world’s most prestigious university.

As he prepares to deliver the valedictory address at the Winthrop graduation ceremonies on June 7, Michael, son of David and Karen Lessard, says his experience in the Winthrop school system is one that he will treasure the rest of his life.

“Winthrop has great schools and I wouldn’t change a thing,” said Lessard. “Some people have complaints about the Winthrop public schools, but the colleges that the students this year and in previous have gotten in to – the Winthrop public schools are up there with the best of the best in my opinion.”

Lessard said the teachers at the high school are dedicated and always willing to assist a student.

“The teachers are always there to help and they really care about the success of their students in school and in extracurricular activities,” said Lessard, who singled out Mr. Jeff Beck, AP Calculus teacher, for being particular exceptional.

Lessard is a Presidential Scholar, an AP Scholar with Honor, and a North Shore Chamber of Commerce Honors Scholars in addition to being an NEC Scholar-Athlete Award recipient. He has also been nominated as an Academic All-American. He is a member of the WHS Quiz Bowl team and served as a student liaison to the Winthrop School Committee.

He has chosen to immerse himself in all aspects of the school community, rising and being elected to positions of leadership. “I tend to take leadership positions when they arise,” he said.

Lessard will be studying Engineering at Harvard. He has taken a number of AP science and mathematics courses at the high school and excelled in them.

He is looking forward to beginning his career at Harvard and living in the famous Harvard Yard where his Boston accent will be duly noted.

“I visited Harvard during April vacation of my junior year and I really liked it,” said Lessard. “My cousin [Colin Connolly] got his Ph.D at Harvard so he had a little bit of influence of my decision to apply there.”

Lessard is getting used to the reaction that the mere mention of  “Harvard” generates in conversations.

“I know that the town of Winthrop, even people that I don’t know, have been excited that Winthrop High School is sending somebody to Harvard this year,” said Lessard. “I tell people that Winthrop has a great school system and it’s done a lot for me over the years.”

Lessard is aware that he is leaving Winthrop High in the same year that Principal Gail Conlon and Vice Principal Robin Kostegan are retiring from their positions.

“We’ve been blessed to have Mrs. Conlon and Mrs. Kostegan as our administrators throughout the years,” said Lessard. “Especially being president of the Student Council. I’ve seen Mrs. Conlon has allowed us to do so much in the school to try to make it a more fun and better overall environment for all the students. I couldn’t ask for a better principal.”

Lessard said he is writing a valedictory message that will be “short and sweet but I want to get the point across that Winthrop High School has been a great place for me; I’ve had great classmates and I know that this class in particularly has been one of the best classes to walk the halls of Winthrop High School and we’re going to do great things in the future.”

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