Superintendent’s Award winners announced at Town Meeting

READING – During Town Meeting last night Superintendent of Schools Dr. John Doherty presented the Massachusetts School Superintendents Award to Alisyn Bourque and Anson Huang. The text of his statement appears below. The remainder of the State of the Schools message will appear in the Chronicle next week.

I am delighted to start my remarks this evening, as I do each year, by introducing to you the two Reading Memorial High School Seniors who are receiving the Massachusetts Association of School Superintendents Award for Academic and Community Excellence. Each year, it is always difficult to select only two students, given how many deserving candidates we have here at Reading Memorial High School. Both students being recognized this evening have demonstrated strong academic skills, participate in extracurricular and community service activities, and are currently in the top 5% of their graduating class. In addition, I have had the opportunity to meet with both students and they are genuinely great kids.

It is with honor and pride that I present this award to our first recipient who was a student at the Birch Meadow Elementary School and Coolidge Middle School and has served in a leadership position as President of the RMHS French Club. In this role, this student organized a fundraiser last year in support of the people of Paris after the terrorists’ attacks. She tutors younger students in French; and she co-founded an after school program for elementary school children to help them acquire an appreciation for a different language and culture.

Academically, this student has excelled in rigorous classes including AP Calculus, AP Physics, Honors Engineering, Honors Film and Literature, AP French, and AP Chemistry. She has attended summer courses in Engineering and Biomedical Systems at Brown University and a Congress of “Future Medical Leaders” in Biotechnology at the Tsongas Arena in Lowell. In addition, this student is involved in a number of meaningful activities but is most passionate about dance, a creative outlet requiring both physical and artistic strength. For the past 10 years, she has performed in The Nutcracker in roles ranging from Clara to a reindeer to a point mouse. She sees herself continuing dancing in college.

This recipient envisions a career in engineering and has applied early decision to Vanderbilt, Boston University, and Northeastern where she would like to major in Mechanical or Biomedical Engineering. She dreams about a career where she can have an impact on the lives of others. When asked which teachers had the greatest impact on her educational journey, she said recently retired Birch Meadow teacher Rick Downes and RMHS Physics Teacher Nancy Najmi. Next Slide It is with great pleasure tonight that I recognize Alisyn Bourque. Alisyn, please come forward to receive the 2016 Massachusetts Association of School Superintendent’s Award.

Tonight’s second recipient attended Killam Elementary School and Parker Middle School and has excelled as a member of the RMHS Jazz Band. Academically, this student is a curious and engaged learner who has taken several high level courses including AP Calculus, Honors English, Band, AP Physics, AP French, and AP Chemistry.

During 10th grade, he represented the school as a first-year chemistry student at the Ashdown Exam, which was held by the Northeastern Section of the American Chemical Society. He was one of the top scorers in the region, which opened up a second opportunity to take the qualifying exam for the United States National Chemistry Olympiad team. Additionally, he took on an independent study in undergraduate-level organic chemistry this year through MIT’s OpenCourseWare. He has also been named as a national Merit Semi-Finalist, a significant achievement where only 1% out of 1.6 million students in the country who took the PSAT qualify.

In addition to academics, this recipient is an avid piano player and fiction writer. He participates in online forums for writing and also has submitted his fiction works to publications. He also devotes time to our public library where he is a frequent volunteer. He has led tours of the new building, helped plan children’s programming and has been a “NetGuide” helping mostly elderly patrons learn how to more effectively access resources online. Next year, he plans on majoring in Chemical Engineering and is applying to Yale, Columbia, and MIT.

The teachers who have had a significant impact on this student’s journey in the Reading Public Schools include his Freshman English Teacher Kate Crosby, who opened up his world to creative writing, and Chemistry Teacher Frank Buono who turned a difficult class with a dense amount of information into a class he could freely enjoy. It’s a great honor to introduce to you, Anson Huang! Anson, please come forward and accept the MASS 2016 Superintendent’s Award for Academic Excellence.

Congratulations Alisyn and Anson.

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