By Taylor Giuffre-Catalano
Hunched over a glowing computer screen, Luke Hartnett clocked in a lot of late nights on the road to success. The amount of work was often times demanding, with a variety of assignments from challenging Advanced Placement classes. Hartnett, now a senior at Revere High School (RHS), finally saw all of this hard work pay off on March 14, 2016, the day he was accepted to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).
After going online with his brother to see if he had been accepted, Hartnett was greeted with an amazing surprise. “I was completely shocked, I didn’t expect to get in,” Hartnett explained as he recreated his jaw-dropped expression.
“It’s such an honor,” he continued. “It feels so strange because so many people congratulate you. Nothing like this has ever happened before.” Hartnett said he owed his success to his parents, his brother, Mark, his teachers, Ms. Lucy Pirkey, Ms. Dolores Simonetti, Ms. Erin Parker, Ms. Cheryl Syzmanski, and guidance counselor Ms. Amy Chamberlin.
Erin Parker, Hartnett’s Advanced Placement Chemistry teacher, explained that she “felt so happy” and “extremely proud” when she found out. “Luke came to [my class] with an incredible work ethic. He was a respectful and intelligent student… [He] is a dedicated student, who was willing to do whatever it took to do his best,” Parker explained.
If she had to use three words to describe Hartnett, she selected the words “logical, determined, and reliable.” She described how he helped “other students in the class” often, and how he was the “first Revere student in many years” to achieve a 5 (perfect score) on the Advanced Placement Chemistry Exam, an extremely rigorous test. Parker stated, “He is a very special student whose intelligence is matched by his work ethic and is able to balance life so that he stays happy while doing it all. I think that is a rare combination.”
Lucy Pirkey taught Hartnett from seventh through ninth grade, and explains that she genuinely “started screaming with excitement that all of his hard work had paid off.” “This is a student who steadily, diligently, with 100 percent effort, dedicated himself to his academics because he was committed to learning and doing his best. While he was always aware of his grades and strove to do well, the grades were not his single overall motive… the knowledge was,” explained Pirkey.
Pirkey described Hartnett as “humble, committed, intelligent and of course: admirable!” She explained, “Even though he loved to be challenged, and was in the highest groups in his classes and in the highest classes you could take… never did he ever brag. If someone needed help, he helped them. His humility was clear back then and never changed
… it is what makes Luke Hartnett stand out and this is the quality I shall always remember about him.”
In order to achieve acceptance, Hartnett explained that he “took a lot of AP [Advanced Placement] classes”, as well as “stayed after school [for extra help]” very often. He explained it was a “work ethic” that brought him to this point.
At MIT, Hartnett hopes to study Environmental Engineering. “Revere Environmental Voice (REV) with Mr. Eben Bein and Mr. William Barber helped me get interested in climate change… hopefully in the future I can use engineering to fight climate change and make a difference to help people,” he explained.
Hartnett currently feels a “good mixture of nervous and excited.” He stated, “It fluctuates. On one hand it’s good to be going somewhere near home, but it’s also nerve wracking because it’s a big transition. I’m really excited about the opportunities I’ll get.”
Hartnett says he is “extremely blessed and honored” to be able to have achieved this. He said, “I want to thank everyone: my classmates, family, and teachers, because without them I wouldn’t have been able to have gotten in.”