This week’s Student Feature Friday is senior Will Flanagan. Five minutes into our conversation it was hard not to be impressed by his maturity, genuine desire to improve his community and his love of learning. Will is currently the senior class president, athletic captain, club president, Eagle Scout, swim instructor and all around great person. Yet with all of these accomplishments he remains humble and ready to serve his community. Through tennis, which he describes as being introduced to by his grandfather when he “started walking”, and diving on the swim team he fulfills his need to be active and sees his constant improvement as incredibly rewarding. Will’s academic focus is met through his rigorous courses, participation in Model United Nations and his membership in NHS.
Although his academic and athletic accomplishments are impressive, it is his drive to help others through community service that sets him apart. Will just completed his Eagle Scout project which focused on renovating the garage of a group home for adults with Autism and turning it into a multipurpose room. Although he does not have a background in construction, with the help of his father and other members of the troop, he successfully turned a two-car garage that was not being utilized into a welcoming space where residents of the home could come together to socialize and play games with one another. The renovation was not easy and required patching and rebuilding walls, painting, electrical, flooring and design layout for the best use of the space. Will persevered and when asked about his experience he stated, “Hard work does pay off.”
Q: We spoke a lot about your Eagle Scout project and the significant commitment it took to complete. What was the most meaningful aspect of the project for you? What was your biggest takeaway?
A: The most worthwhile aspect of the project for me was knowing that I was making a difference in the current and future residents of the home. I was able to make a meaningful impact in the lives of the young men.
Q: So many of the activities you are involved in require strong leadership skills. Why do you gravitate towards rolls that require you take on this responsibility? How did you first begin to develop those leadership skills and what do you view as the role of a strong leader?
A: For me, I have always wanted to make sure I left a mark in whatever group I participated in. I have always believed there is always room for improvement, and I want to make what I am part of better than it was before. I first began developing my leadership skills in boy scouts when I became the youngest Senior Patrol Leader to lead the troop. I have carried the skills I have learned in scouting and continue to develop them as a captain for my two sports teams, president of the class, president of two clubs, and a teen leader on the mission trip I went on this summer to Texas. I am always looking for opportunities to learn and grow as a leader and as a person. A good leader to me has to be able to put themselves out there. Not only should they be good role models, but someone not afraid of failure and taking risks.
Q: What interests you about pursuing International Relations or Global Studies in college?
A: My travel experiences and the French Immersion has given me a thirst for knowledge on global news, issues, and cultures. Having been through the French Immersion program at Holliston, this has broadened my view of the world and has made me interested in francophone regions such as West Africa. Traveling to Peru for three weeks with the school two summers ago was one of the best experiences of my life. I was able to study the global issue of climate change while getting to immerse myself in a completely new culture, and I hope to take advantage of similar opportunities in college. I want to pursue an interdisciplinary degree in college with a global focus such as international business, international relations, or global studies. I have always been fascinated by the world, and I want to learn about the cultures of places so different from home. With the world becoming a smaller place through technology and travel, I think it is very important to be well educated about the world around us and the many issues at hand.
Q: You have clearly found many activities that you are passion about. What advice do you have for students who haven’t found their passion yet?
A: I think the best advice I could give is to get involved with an assortment of activities that look interesting and see which ones stick. Taking risks and trying something completely out of your comfort zone may be nerve-wracking, but can have amazing outcomes. If someone had told me 5 years ago I would end up class president, I would have thought they were crazy. I took a risk and put myself out there, and I could not be more happy with where I have ended up.