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Tourtellotte Memorial High School
SATs: 800v, 730m
National Honor Society, president; jazz band, trumpet; student council; junior class president; Bausch & Lomb Science Award; Harvard-Radcliffe Book Award; National Merit Scholarship commended student; Eagle Scout.
What is your career aspiration? "I want to do something in the field of computer science and incorporate music into my job."
Have your life goals or outlook on life changed since Sept. 11? If so, how? "I've been more aware of the need to focus some of my efforts on society and my country and not just on myself and what I can gain. I know all of us at school tried to look for more opportunities to serve the community, like collecting food and water to send to the volunteers at the World Trade Center and working at a soup kitchen."
What should adults know about teens today? "A lot of the issues that we face today are very real, not something that adults can just gloss over and say we'll grow out of. A lot of adults just write things off to hormones. Parents need to realize that some issues have changed since they were our age. Teens are exposed to so much more now and we have to deal with a lot of issues that maybe we're not entirely prepared for."
What advice do you have for high school freshmen? "They need to start working hard now, not wait until they are juniors and seniors. A lot of people I know can't get into the colleges they want to because their grades aren't good enough or they didn't plan ahead financially. Freshmen need to start preparing now for the rest of their lives."
Do you have a hero? If so, who is it and why? "I look up to my parents more than anyone else. They've shown me what it really means to love and support someone. They've always put my interests before their own. They've really shown me how to be responsible and make wise decisions, and have taught me what I need to know about being a good person."
Close-up: Christopher Tierney is a Boy Scout. Not just a nice guy, but a certified Eagle Scout, boasting 12 years worth of merit badges, awards and community service projects.
But there's more to scouting than camping, first aid and helping little old ladies cross the street. To achieve his Eagle Scout rank, Christopher had to plan and carry out a leadership service project approved by a committee of scout leaders. He began his project last year by contacting the Army Corps of Engineers about constructing an 18-foot wooden bridge across a 6-foot deep ravine near the Thompson Dam.
"People had fallen in and there were issues with erosion with the creek underneath it, so the ravine was getting steeper and wider," Christopher said. After a few months of designing the project, he led a group of 20 scouts, rangers and adult volunteers, finishing the footbridge in just three days.
Christopher's ability to work with others to solve problems is evident in all his activities. When his high school stopped offering advanced placement classes in American and European history, he made arrangements to take the tests at a neighboring school. Through his church, he has served in youth groups, attended mission trips to Florida and now works as a counselor at a summer camp in New Hampshire.
However, his accomplishments as a Scout have been his proudest contributions to his community. In addition to his Eagle Scout project, he and his troop have cleared park trails, marking dangerous areas such as old open wells, and have catalogued road signs in need of replacement or repair.
"Scouting teaches you to be a well-rounded person," he said. "It also opens a lot of doors, because people think favorably of you when they hear that you're an Eagle Scout."
Christopher will leave his troop behind when he goes to college this fall, but he plans to visit during vacations and eventually find a troop to lead after he graduates. In the meantime, he will continue to live by the Boy Scout Oath.
"I haven't found any old ladies in distress lately, but I do try to find things like that that I can just do to help out," he said. "I don't always look for building bridges; little things every day are important, too."
- NICOLE NEROULIAS