Deserving Student Receives WHS Alumni Association Scholarship



Scholarship winner Michael Flaherty accepts the award for Best Editing at the 2008 WHS Film Festival
Scholarship winner Michael Flaherty accepts the award for Best Editing at the 2008 WHS Film Festival



By Julie Fortin 

Class of 2010 

  Everyone knows that kid:  he or she seems to be involved in everything, friendly to anyone they come across, smart and a definite candidate for the “best-all-around” superlative.  However, most times these students can get lost in the shuffle when it comes time for clubs, organizations and colleges to award scholarships.  Therefore, theWalpole High School Alumni Association is responsible for award- ing one considerable, non-application necessary, scholarship each year.  Last year, the lucky winner was Michael Flaherty, and he certainly qualified to win. 

  Part of the Class of 2009, Michael ‘Flats’ Flaherty was notified that he had received the Walpole Alumni Association scholarship two weeks prior to graduation.  Mike was awarded the generous $1,000 scholarship on the grounds that he was basically an enthusiastic, involved student who had not been previously recognized – in the form of scholarships – for his achievements and strong character. 

  The WHS Alumni Association – established in 2000 – consists of a collection of former WHS students, and it has already donated almost a collective $25,000 to Walpole High School in different forms.  In the past the Association has been responsible for awarding substantial grants to the high school in order to have the T.V. Studio updated, buying 30 new classroom desks and purchasing items such as the new art display panels.  They also donate about two hundred dollars to the school each year for students who are having difficulty paying their class dues and buy daily planners for freshman. 

  In order to select the scholarship recipi- ent, a form is sent each spring to all staff at WHS with the names of different scholarships and their criteria, and the teachers make suggestions of deserving students.  Last year upon receiving the nominations, the committee met to decide that Mike was the most appropriate choice for the win- 

ner.  The exact criteria that Mike met for the Alumni’s scholarship were that he was a “hard worker who has contibuted to the life of the school…show[ed] involvement and school spirit” and he was also “some- 

one who might not receive another school scholarship.”  The money he received was 

a one time donation to a graduating senior.  Mike participated in an array of activites while at Walpole High and mastered all of them.  The captain of the both the golf team and the boys’ tennis team, Director and Editor of two epic Film Festival movies “The Tell-Tale Meatloaf” and “Pong and Dance Man,” an avid ping ponger in the Walpole High School Ping Pong Club and a National Honor Society member, Mike sufficiently met the prerequisities for the scholarship, as he also displayed leadership in all of his extracurriculars. 

  As a Co-Director and Editor two years in a row, Mike dedicated an immense part of his high school experience to laboring over his two Film Festival movies, sacri- ficing weekends and vacations in order to complete his films in accordance with his high standards.  Winning Best Editing for his feature “The Tell-Tale Meatloaf” with his mentor Justin Cotellessa, he continued to amaze audiences with the hilarious Pong and Dance Man, his senior project co-directed with Lucia Ruggieri and Liz Kenny (Class of 2009).  How- ever, despite the positive crowd reaction and nominations in almost every category, Mike’s “Pong and Dance Man” failed to walk away with any awards – a disheartening and unbeliev- able end for fans of the movie. 

  Many of Mike’s teachers and coaches remember him as a key component in their classes, activities, teams, etc.  Michael Alan, Director of the Film Festival, taught and then revered in Mike’s editing skills; furthermore, Mr. Alan was truly impressed with Mike when he made the “heroic” decision to drop Mandarin in order to accomdadate Film into his schedule.  Additionally, IR teacher and Ping Pong Coach, Christopher Jean remembers that he “got the most out of school while carrying himself humbly.” 

  In addition to providing financial assistance to deserving students like Mike Flaherty, they are also trying to attract new, young, members of the Alumni to join the Association. 

  The Alumni Association is looking to encourage young Alumni – like Mike – to join, hoping that the group will grow and be able to do more for the High School.  Administrators of the Association have recently joined Facebook 

in order to explain the Association to ‘friends’ and recruit people for activities.  With the possibilty of also starting a Twitter account, members would be able to post up-to-date ‘tweets’ about upcoming events and deeds of the group. 

  If they continue to reward deserving students like Mike Flaherty, the Alumni Association will have no problem finding ‘friends’ to write on their wall for former students to ‘follow them.’