National Merit Scholarship Awarded to Maddox Angerhofer ‘18

By Allie Goodrich ’13

Groton, MA— English enthusiast, history buff, crew captain, math and science peer tutor, and now the recipient of a National Merit Scholarship. Meet Maddox Angerhofer ’18.

Come this fall, Maddox will be studying at the Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University in Washington D.C, as well as rowing for the women’s crew program.  She has her sights set. “I will get a Bachelor of Science and foreign service, and my major will probably be international politics,” she said, smiling. “But we’ll see.”

A strong interest in security studies and US and global foreign policy has drawn her in this direction.  As a junior, she wrote a twelve-page research paper for her US History class on the South China Sea, getting into “some very nitty-gritty details about international navigation legislation in international waters.”

“Mr. Sheehan was a huge help,” she reflected. “I’m very grateful to him for his help with that.”

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Maddox posing with her mom after receiving the Thompson English Prize at Cum Laude Day.

Speaking of her teachers, Maddox was quick to point to Honors Literature with Doc Haman as a particular favorite, who is retiring after thirty-six years at the school.  “It’s really fantastic,” she said. “He just loves the books that we read, and really works hard to get everyone talking about them when we have our discussions.”

Above all, she said, “he is really good at listening to students. It’s a very good class—I enjoy it a lot.”

The humanities are only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to Maddox’s pursuits. Her activities on the LA campus have included serving as founder and president of LA’s Environmental Sustainability Council; touring prospective students and families as a member of the Elm Tree Society; serving as a peer counselor and tutor; playing clarinet in the Student Jazz Ensemble; co-editing LA’s literary magazine; and co-heading the Lawrence Academy Sock Club.

FullSizeRender-2In addition to captaining LA Girls’ Varsity Hockey, she started LA’s crew co-op program with Westford Academy and captained the Westford Community Rowing Program. “We row on Forge Pond in Westford,” she said. “It’s pretty small, but it does the trick.”

Twice she has traveled to the Wintergreen Dog Sledding Lodge in Minnesota, first as part of a group Winterim trip and then returning for a Winterim professional this year to work as a staff intern.

IMG_7074_square2“It’s the largest Canadian Inuit sled dog kennel in the world,” she explained. “They have 73 dogs, and there were two eight-week-old puppies this spring. It basically consisted of waking up in the morning and feeding and playing with all the dogs, then skiing about ten to twenty miles alongside the guests who were dogsledding and coming back and cooking dinner and playing with the puppies more—pretty much a dream come true.”

After being named a national semifinalist in the 2018 National Merit Scholarship Competition back in the fall, Maddox received news in early May that she had been selected as a scholarship recipient out of the finalist pool. High school students enter the National Merit Program by taking the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test PSAT/NMSQT—which serves an initial screen of approximately 1.6 million entrants each year—and by meeting published program entry and participation requirements.

During LA’s graduation exercises this year, Maddox received the Benjamin Davis Williams Prize, which is awarded by the faculty “to that senior whose leadership qualities, innovative ideas, and varied interests in the numerous areas of Lawrence Academy life all make this a better place in which to live, to experience, and to learn.”

As she heads to D.C., there is no doubt Maddox will be taking these qualities with her as she heads off to pursue her interests in international relations and politics.

Congratulations Maddox, and may you continue to inspire others through your actions and kind nature.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Between Then and Now

By Allie Goodrich ’13

Groton, Mass.— As it turns out, AJ Mastrangelo ‘18 and Jorie Van Nest ‘18 have more in common than sharing the podium as senior class speakers at graduation.

“AJ and I actually went to preschool together at the children’s center down by the Groton School,” said Jorie as she began her speech under the tent. “We were pretty good friends—best friends, I’d say, I don’t know what he’d say—and we had a combined birthday party in the LA gym, and Frank [Mastrangelo, AJ’s father], he even dressed up as Mickey Mouse for us.”

“I just wanted to say AJ, I am so proud of you and the person that you’ve become,” Jorie continued. “I just wanted to acknowledge how amazing it is and how lucky I feel that we can share the bookends of our education. You’re incredible, and you have a bright, sunny future ahead of you with no clouds!”

That last line is both a well-wish and a pun, for AJ—a lead kicker in the ISL for the Spartan’s varsity football team—announced that he will be pursuing his passion for meteorology at Pennsylvania State University.

“LA recognized me as an individual—as a weatherman, as a kicker,” AJ said after restating the school’s mission statement. “In all honesty, LA has recognized me for who I am personally and has inspired me to take the necessary steps towards becoming a meteorologist.”

Both AJ and Jorie reflected on the differences between who they were at the start of their time at LA and who they are now.  For AJ, the initial challenge was to carve out a space for himself in a place already so familiar with his family: Spanish teacher and girls’ head basketball coach Donna Mastrangelo; assistant athletic director, head athletic trainer, and director of campus safety Frank Mastrangelo; and sister Cailey ’15.

“I wanted people at LA to know me for who I am,” he said. After kicking for the JV football team freshman year, he tried out for varsity as a sophomore but lost the starting kicker spot to a senior. AJ “debated quitting the team,” but stuck with it, becoming a starter junior year and eventually leading all kickers in the ISL in scoring this year as a senior.

“I was lucky to be part of such an incredible team full of heart and camaraderie,” AJ said. “None of this would have been possible if I’d decided to quit my sophomore year.”

There can be a huge difference between who you are and who people think you are, a feeling Jorie, like AJ, could speak to.

“Less than two weeks ago I did something that I’ve never done before,” she said. “I stood in front of a crowd—not as big as the one today—and I sang, alone.”

A member of Honors Music and the LA Singers, Jorie is no stranger to using her voice, and she acknowledged how easy it might be for her others to assume “singing must come naturally for you, and you’re fearless.”

The title of the song she chose for her final recital was “I’m Not Afraid of Anything”.

“It projected this idea of confidence, [but] I didn’t feel fearless throughout the performance, nor leading up to it,” Jorie confided. “Singing has been one of my longstanding passions but greatest fears.”

In the beginning, it was easy to hide. “In a big chorus you can hide comfortably behind this curtain of sound and you can get away with sheet singing, which is where you kind of go along with the buddy next to you and just hope for the best, basically,” said Jorie.

“Freshman-year-Jorie was absolutely mortified of hearing her voice alone.”

Three years later, the days of making her fellow chorus members turn their backs when she sang, or closing the curtains over the Recital Hall windows, were luxuries she could no longer afford.

“My final rehearsal for this spring recital, Mrs. Cooper ripped my security blanket away from me,” Jorie said. “She insisted I come out from behind my physical wall and stand in front of the empty rows.”

No, she was not fearless. But she was going to sing anyway.

 

Congratulations Class of 2018

The ceremony featured Commencement Speaker Pamela Nwaoko ’06

by Allie Goodrich ’13

Groton, Mass. — Gray skies, high humidity, and the random raindrop did little to dampen spirits on The Quad, as members of the Class of 2018, friends, family, and faculty gathered to celebrate the 225th commencement exercises of Lawrence Academy.

Throughout the morning, bittersweet tears, ear-to-ear smiles, and stoic faces of accomplishment (and the occasional selfie) punctuated the day, even before LA Head of School Dan Scheibe and peer-selected senior speakers AJ Mastrangelo and Jorie Van Nest greeted the Class of 2018 and the large crowd of beaming onlookers.

“225 graduation exercises,” the Head of School reflected. “That is a lot of exercise; a two century-plus elm-tree-shaded workout.”

“For me, all respect to speakers and prizes, [calling the seniors up by name] is the most energizing and most important part,” Mr. Scheibe added. “It is our mission-powered opportunity to recognize you; to call to mind the essential character as your physical presence is called up.”

“With the diplomas, the responsibility becomes yours. So one last time, we are inspired to ask: who do you want to become?”

Pamela Nwaoko ’06, LA’s 2018 Commencement Speaker, spoke to the value and importance of self-love as she addressed the 90 members of the senior class.

“Entering this new stage of your lives, other people may try to diminish you, perhaps because they don’t yet understand you,” she said. “But I tell you, do not diminish yourself.”

A graduate of Georgetown University, the University of Oxford, and a recipient of the Dean’s Award for Community Leadership from Harvard Law School, Pamela now practices law in Washington, DC at the multinational law firm Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom, representing and advising national and international financial institutions.

Back once more on the LA campus, Ms. Nwaoko talked about “translating the love Lawrence Academy has demonstrated to me and turning that inward.

As you are,” was one lesson.Begin your lives as graduates of Lawrence Academy as you are. You are enough. Right now, at this very moment. And for every moment for the rest of your lives, you will be enough.

“Be brave,” she continued. “Because it is hard to be and love yourself in this world. Those things that make us who we are are the same things that may make others uncomfortable… Teach others your value by first setting the example; be brave about loving yourself. Love yourself outloud.

In conclusion, Ms. Nwaoko spoke of the future, adding, “Hopefully, [you will] have gone forward bravely, loving yourself—and in turn, expanding your ability to love others, as they are.”

Congratulations to Lawrence Academy’s Class of 2018! Watch this space and www.lacademy.edu for continuing coverage of LA’s 225th graduation exercises.

 

Spring Athletic Photos are up!

Photos are up! With the school year almost over, take a look at the Lawrence Academy SmugMug account for all of this spring’s athletic photos.

Lawrence Academy Spring Athletic Photos: https://lawrenceacademy.smugmug.com/2017-2018/Athletics/Spring

 

Time and making it count…

Be on the lookout for Joey Mullaney ’13

by Allie Goodrich ’13

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Joey Mullaney ’13

Joey Mullaney ‘13 has been busy.

He’s got a book on the way—a memoir, hopefully out next spring. He’s got a blog up and running, he’s kickstarted his career as the motivational speaker he aspires to be, and on Tuesday, April 17, he returned to Lawrence Academy with his twin brother Sean Mullaney ‘13 for the “Live Action Leader” series to share and reflect on his story with current LA students.

Now that he was back on campus were there any favorite memories that came to mind?

“The Dunk, dude,” Sean suggested.

“What?”

“The Dunk.”

“That’s, like, an easy answer.” Joey thought for a minute. “Really, just being around the Quad and stuff at lunchtime.

“I miss that.”

***

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“The Dunk.”

But let’s get back to “The Dunk.” Because there were many moments precipitating that instant so poignantly captured in the giant photo now hanging in the student lounge, as well as in a video which has amassed over 90,000 views on YouTube.

It was something special, but it almost didn’t happen.

The initial idea began as a lay-up. “Kev [Wiercinski, the [varsity boys’ basketball head coach] asked me to do that. I said no, I didn’t want to do it,” Joey reflected. “I probably should’ve said yes.”

“I was in history class I think, and then for the next twenty minutes, I was thinking about it in class. So I texted Kev just saying, ‘I’m in,’ and then Kev was so pumped he came to MacNeil, and it was me, Sean, some of the basketball guys.

“Kev came in and was like, ‘Hey, I’m really excited you’re on board, do you want to shoot a lay-up?’ And I go, ‘No, I’m not doing that.’ He was like, ‘So what are you going to do?’, and I was like, ‘Daquan [Sampson ‘13, who is 6’8”], he can put me on his shoulders, and I can dunk the ball, and that’s the only case.’ So he was like, ‘Alright, I’ll figure it out.’”

This is just one prime example of the Joey Mullaney mentality: Why go for the lay-up when you could go for the dunk?

But such a mindset, like any muscle, is something that has taken work and persistence to develop: “I went through a lot of hard times to get there and to get where I’m at now.”

He points to a critical event during his junior year, which gave him the confidence to make the decision to dunk down the line.

***

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Joey and Sean Mullaney ’13

“I was an extremely shy kid,” admitted Joey over lunch in LA’s Dining Hall, shortly before speaking to the students in MacNeil Lounge. “I like getting to know people, but I was afraid really to be myself.

“Back when I was a freshman and sophomore I walked everywhere, [but] my disease got to the point where it got too tough and very noticeable my junior year. And that was really hard for me, because kids saw me as Joey, and I didn’t want them to really see me as a kid who can’t walk, kid who’s disabled, kid who’s going to die one day. I didn’t want them to pity me, so I didn’t want them to know what was wrong.”

“I didn’t tell people I had FA, but everyone knew something was wrong, so junior year, his [Sean’s] assembly, remember that? That was like the turning point in my life.”

Friedreich’s ataxia (FA) is a debilitating, life-shortening, degenerative neuro-muscular disorder.  About one in 50,000 people in the United States have the disease, which begins its progression in the toes and gradually works its way up, diminishing the muscles in the body.

Together, Sean, Mrs. Margraf, and Mr. Culley approached Joey to suggest a special assembly to address what was going on. At first, Joey was resistant to the idea, but later they “kept talking about it and decided it was the best move.”

“It was definitely tough,” added Sean, who graduated from Bowdoin last spring and is currently applying to law school. “But the community—it was awesome the way they responded to it and helped out, and I think that was a nice microcosm of what LA is, and how special the community is here and how everyone really tries to help each other.”

Although he chose not to be in attendance himself that day, Joey said, “Those ten, fifteen minutes really changed who I am.”

“It made me become much more confident in myself, and much more willing—not able, but willing—to do as much as I can.”

***

Mullaney at Graduation 2013.

Mullaney at Graduation 2013

Fast forward to sailing on a boat in the Caribbean during Winterim, becoming a peer counselor, being voted class speaker for graduation, and, of course, the dunk. Then the next stop: Quinnipiac University, where, despite new transitions and challenges, he quickly enmeshed himself in social and academic life. He served as an orientation leader for new students, joined the Student Government Association (SGA) as a sophomore, landed himself on the SGA executive board as the vice president of public relations, and was elected student body president his senior year.

In a blog post from January titled “Adjusting to Change,” Joey wrote:

“I have learned to embrace the unknown. More specifically, I embrace the fear of the unknown. I have found that as fearful as I might be of the challenges to come, I have to face them head-on. I also feel excited, nervous, eager, happy, afraid– the list goes on. So while my emotions are firing and my brain is wiring, I start to think of a proper response to stress. How I should handle everything is a mystery until I get there. Yet I know I will be required to make some adjustments. And that mystery – and the new challenges I will face – are what make me feel most alive.”

Yes, Joey Mullaney has been busy. Between the book on the horizon and enrolling in graduate school in Boston, Joey is just getting started. And as for being a leader?

“I don’t think I’m a leader. In my mind, I still have a long way to go.” Then he paused. “So be on the lookout.”