Gary Wolfe, Milford High School Class of 2010, finished a long educational journey this past month at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. MIT, as it is better known, is arguably the most prestigious university in the United States. Wolfe finished his Masters of Science in Aeronautics and Astronautics in only a year and half, months before the usual student.
His journey began at Benjamin Banneker Elementary School where he discovered his love for mathematics. He credits this to his second grade teacher, Mabel Norwood. “I think every teacher I had was impactful in some way, but the first one was Miss Norwood. She was the first teacher that really flamed my love for mathematics,” he said.
From there, Wolfe went on to Milford Middle School. Again, he found a teacher who had a huge influence on him. “Mrs. (Pamela) Swain. She was an amazing teacher and definitely had one of the largest impacts on me as an individual. I’ll never forget the years spent in that classroom,” he said. Swain taught the Academically Talented class at MMS and was Wolfe’s English teacher for all three years in middle school. Her challenging assignments and no-nonsense attitude instilled a sense of responsibility in her students that helped them to succeed.
In the fall of 2006 Wolfe advanced to Milford High School where he excelled in both sports and academics. He played soccer, lacrosse, and swim, earning all-conference honors in lacrosse. He finished third in his class and took advanced math classes through the Academic Challenge Program at Del Tech. He credited this program on helping him to prepare for college, giving him an example of what to expect.
He obtained a Bachelor of Science in Aerospace Engineering from University of Maryland College Park, where he also played a year of Club Lacrosse. Wolfe went in to Maryland as an Undecided major because he couldn’t decide between aerospace and mechanical engineering. A freshman class assignment had him interview a professor who worked in both departments, and it was then that he was sold on aerospace.
Finally, he reached MIT. MIT had been a dream of Wolfe’s since he first visited the school when he was in high school. He was actually in the process of finalizing a deal with Georgia Tech for graduate school when he heard that he had been admitted to MIT and thankfully was able to back out of it. He just accepted a job with Aurora Flight Sciences in Cambridge, MA and is not sure of his plans after that.
When asked if he had any words to share with students that are currently in the Milford Public School System he said, “It’s okay to not have a plan for the future when you get out of high school. You have plenty of time to figure that out. I think it’s important to talk to people, join different groups, travel, and try different jobs.” He also wanted to thank his parents for pushing him to be his best, teaching him about responsibility, and always being there for him when he needs them.
In a world that is saturated with news of celebrities and athletes, it is important to acknowledge the everyday people who work hard and accomplish their goals, no matter how big they may be. Gary Wolfe is a reminder that hard work and determination can still go a long way, if only you are willing to try.
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