He’s already in St. Francis High School’s academic Hall of Fame, but this week’s La Cañada Valley Sun All-Star, Roylance “Lance” Bird, is making strides in a variety of extracurricular activities as well.
Bird, a sophomore at St. Francis, earned a varsity letter in cross country, was a class officer on the school’s student council, a member of the school’s state and national award-winning Academic Decathlon, and is the founder of St. Francis’ Mountain Bike Club.
The youth also has maintained a 4.3 grade point average and recently scored in the top percentile of high school students on his SATs.
Patrick Donovan, a cross-country coach at St. Francis High School, has known Bird for the past year.
“He joined my cross-country team last summer, and ever since has been nothing but a great kid. He’s personable, warm, and has a maturity beyond his years,” Donovan said, adding, “I was lucky enough to have him in my freshman English class this year, and I could always count on him to come up with insightful and relevant comments no matter what the discussion or question prompted. He has a wealth of knowledge already, and he constantly strives to expand that.”
Donovan also commends the youth on his motivation.
“He is intrinsically motivated, almost driven to success. He accepts nothing less than his best for his schoolwork, athletic endeavors, and involvement in school activities and community affairs,” Donovan said.
However, he added, despite the large number of accolades Bird receives he is always gracious and modest.
But high grades and accolades aren’t all there is to this 15-year-old. Bird also serves his community and hopes to use his abilities, intelligence and talents to help people of all economic levels. He currently volunteers his time with Brothers Helpers, through St. Bede the Venerable Catholic Church. Brother’s Helpers is a program through which Bird and others prepare meals and transport them to the homeless of downtown Los Angeles’ Skid Row area.
“It baffles me that a student of his age would have the time to get involved in the amount of things that he does (cross-country, president of the Mountain Bike Club, freshman class president, varsity academic decathlon, and I’m probably missing a couple), but the amazing part is that he succeeds in all of them and still is a straight A student,” Donovan said.
“I can’t say enough good things about Lance,” Donovan added. “He is warm, cheerful, and brings a smile to my face. He asks questions not only relevant to subject matter, but referencing worldly issues that are usually lost on those his age. I simply don’t know how he is able to keep up with everything.
Lance is certain to be successful in whatever field he chooses to pursue. Typically, I consider St. Francis a great place for students to come and find themselves over their four-year career, and for the most part it is a great experience that they have the school community to thank for. However, every once in a while a student comes along that the school is blessed to have. A student that is selfless in giving of himself and his talents; to me Lance Bird exemplifies that student.”
Bird doesn’t plan to stop doing for others after he completes his schooling.
“I really love to help people, and being a doctor is a way I could do that,” Bird said, of his future career choice.
“People have helped me a lot in life and I really want to be able to do what I can to make life better for other people,” he added.
Bird is the oldest son of Pat and Lee Bird of La Cañada. He has a brother, Sean, 13, who is an eighth-grade student at La Cañada High School 7/8. Lance Bird was born in Pasadena’s Huntington Memorial Hospital, and has lived in La Cañada for the rest of his life. He attended La Cañada Elementary School for kindergarten through sixth grade and LCHS 7/8 prior to enrolling at St. Francis High School last year.
In addition to school and other organized activities, Bird enjoys swimming with the La Cañada Flintridge Country Club swim team. He loves learning about math and the sciences and plans to major in mechanical engineering and completed his pre-med requirements at either MIT or Caltech before going on to medical school.