Mike Mendes '12 wins WMA's Scholar-Athlete Award
Whether it was in the classroom or on the athletic field, Mike Mendes '12 has been correct an awful lot during his two years at Wilbraham & Monson Academy.
However, during graduation on May 26, Mike was wrong. For Mike and his family, though, that was a good thing.
Mike, a three-sport athlete and high honors student, received one of the school's most prestigious annual prizes: WMA's Scholar-Athlete Award.
“I didn't see it coming, actually,” said the 19-year-old, who graduated with a 3.85 GPA. “I was thinking about it, but I was hoping another kid who has been at the school for a while should get it. People have been there five, six, seven years. Personally, I wasn't expecting to get any awards but I'm thankful the school recognized me. My family was there so that was nice.”
What's been very nice about Mike is his attitude toward academics. He credits his parents, Perry and Marianne, with setting clear guidelines and expectations, and Mike consistently met those guidelines and expectations in middle school and high school . . . usually.
“Academics have always been a priority for me,” said Mike, who was also honored in May with a McScholar Award, which is given to high school student-athletes in Western Massachusetts who exhibit academic and athletic excellence. “That came from my home. It was always homework comes first and fun can come later. It's been like that from day one.
“There were a few times where I would be late with a homework assignment, and my parents would say I couldn't go outside that day or I couldn't go to the 'Y' to play with the guys. That kept me in line.”
Mike came to Wilbraham & Monson because he wanted to academically “branch out and challenge myself. WMA allowed me to apply to Harvard, Duke, Miami, Boston College and all these great schools. The academics at WMA were challenging for me, and it was great. It really did wonders.”
And Mike did wonders for his teams and teammates. A Varsity Football, Varsity Basketball and Varsity Baseball player, he set the example on and off the field.
“Mike is a throwback in every sense of the word,” WMA Baseball Coach John Boozang said. “He tries to improve each day; he leads by example; he's quick with praise and can criticize constructively, and he does. A mixture of wit, dedication and sensitivity makes for exceptional leadership abilities that have served WMA well, and has endeared Mike to his peers and faculty alike. In short, he is exceptional.”
So exceptional he was accepted at Boston College and will be given a chance to make the basketball team as a walk-on. The 5-foot-9, 150-pound guard can't wait.
“I'm ready for it and grateful for the opportunity to play at Boston College because, obviosuly, it's in the ACC,” said Mike, who will major in biochemistry at B.C. “Duke was my dream school, but I still have a chance to play an away game at Cameron Indoor Stadium. It will be great.”
Just like his experience at Wilbraham & Monson Academy.