Former WHS Graduate Finds Success in a Unique Way


Mike Demarais

Phil Reidy

Mike Demarais

In today’s society, a person is usually measured by their accomplishments, and it is often noted where an individual went to college (if they went to college at all). It is an attractive belief to conclude that someone is successful after they have abided by the rules of an institution and attempted to thrive as best they could within the confines of orthodoxy. For many, this policy works. Many successful people become lawyers or scientists, but there are some people who, despite pressure and academic adversity, simply do not follow this way of life and still maintain this success with an unusual and very interesting method.

Finishing with what he believes to be a 2.7 GPA (he wasn’t actually sure) in high school and only one semester at Salem State University, “Hank” founder Mike Demarais, 19, of Walpole, Massachusetts, has shattered the preconception that one has to follow the path set before them by an established institution of expectations and education in order to achieve success. Well-dressed and standing at 6’3, with a subtle grin that never seems to leave his face as well as a speedy strut, and an upbeat but slightly distracted demeanor, Demarais is the definition of charisma.  Demarais is now the co-owner of Hank Computer Repair, as well as an amateur music video producer for bands and artists in Boston. He is also currently working on a music review magazine for indie bands in Boston, as well as working towards a $40,000 grant from a South American government. Our interview took place at Walpole High and regardless of how much he disregarded schoolwork during his time at Walpole High, there was not one teacher who did not excitedly greet Demarais as he walked down the English wing hallway. Michael Alan, English teacher and Demarais’ Film teacher during high school, met with Demarais and immediately consulted him for computer advice, first somewhat jokingly, but then proceeded to listen seriously as Mike gave him tips on how to improve his network of computers.

Demarais, never felt as though he had to prove himself in his classes during high school. “My grades in high school were not great at all, by any means. Teachers would go out on a limb to make sure I did not fail. I hated English. I did not want to put the effort in because I [did not] care; I didn’t want to read [their] book and interpret it [their] way,” he said. “I enjoyed Math for the first half of my high school career, but then towards the second half I [felt] that it was super boring and repetitive and unbelievably tedious. Homework is a pain. I didn’t enjoy science very much, and I didn’t take gym, ever. Also, health was awful.”

However, Demarais did not despise every part of school. “I really enjoyed most of the Social Studies classes we had in the high school. Ms. Farell…Mr. Whittenhall…Mr. Jean… [Social Studies] gave me a broader outlook,” he said. Demarais even ran for class president, but lost, “just totally lost.”

He felt a little bit more at home within the high school when he became a photographer and staff writer for the Rebellion where he met Conor Cashman, English and Journalism teacher. Once Demerais returned, Cashman greeted him by saying, “The prodigal son returns.” Demarais thoroughly enjoyed the Journalism class at Walpole High, where he developed his passion for photography and news media, writing entertainment reviews as well as being junior Sam Obar’s ultra-liberal counter-point in the editorial section. “Demarais and I used to debate in journalism class regularly,” Obar said. “He believes strongly in a Communist economy, and it was always a great experience to debate him because I fundamentally do not agree at all with that philosophy. I am a fiscal conservative.”

Being a self-proclaimed computer nerd, Demarais has an active Tumblr, Facebook, and Twitter page, which he often uses to share underground music and to voice his opinion on different subjects, many of them political. Mike describes his view as “Socialist Libertarianism.” “A lot of people would probably be confused by that, so I’d probably say I’m just liberal,” said Demarais “[For example]: encrypting your hard drive doesn’t necessarily protect you against the police, which is just like, come on, that’s your Fifth Amendment right to not incriminate yourself. But there are also so many things wrong with the libertarian mindset. In my opinion, free market is cool, but it just doesn’t necessarily work all of the time.”

Demerais has been living with his mother and father since leaving Salem State in 2011 after one semester. Demerais did not find his experience at college enjoyable. “I didn’t have a good time, I didn’t like it. I didn’t meet any people that really jumped out at me. I was looking for a very cultural experience, and what I got was a really dry, average experience that I just wasn’t really happy with,” he said. After leaving Salem State, Demarais considered multiple business ventures, including a bagged beverage company in which he would sell different flavored drinks in plastic bags.

Ultimately, Demarais decided upon starting his computer repair business, Hank Computer Repair, with his friend Matt Bloom, also a Walpole High graduate who is now a sophomore at Quinnipiac University. The company also now employs a sizeable staff of computer-savvy high school students. It assists in developing websites and uses a unique form of service by picking up their client’s computer and bringing it to the Hank headquarters. Hank also assists in creating apps for Apple products, as well as developing Facebook and Twitter pages for people and companies who do not necessarily know how to use them.

Shortly after starting the company, Demarais began collaborating with friends in Boston on starting a music review magazine for indie bands in the area, called “Good Soup.” Demarais expects the magazine will be published at some point in the near future. As of right now, Demarais is also hoping for a $40,000 grant from the government of Chile from a program called “Startup Chile,” a program that is meant to assist in establishing internet and computer companies in the country. He tries to find different movies and music by going to shows and concerts (but “only cheap concerts”) in and around Boston. He also eats out at different cheap restaurants, and creates freelance music videos for Boston-area hip-hop artists while driving to Hank every few days. “I have a lot of stuff cooking” said Demarais, on his current business ventures.

Demarais establishes that Hank is doing pretty well for a new startup company in a small town, and he hopes that the company will someday be a larger, more successful operation in Chile. As of right now, Demarais can be found at whatever restaurant he has chosen to dine at on any given night, his parent’s house, or at Hank.