By MARY NOBLES HANCOCK
Mountain Brook High School’s graduation for the class of 2011 will feature three seniors giving the valedictorian speeches. Chosen out of the top 5 percent of the graduating class, Nicky Bolus, Neil Griffin and Wilson Fisher are each rising to the daunting challenge of sharing their final thoughts with classmates, friends and family as they prepare to matriculate to the next chapter of their lives.
Steve Jobs once said, “I want to put a ding in the universe,” and senior Nicky Bolus is certainly working to make his own ding. “I want to become an inventor of some sort when I grow up,” he said, “and I would love most of all to develop and improve alternative energy pathways and to make transportation more efficient and environmentally sound.”
Bolus will attend the University of Alabama next fall with the University Fellows program and has plans of majoring in engineering, probably in chemical or aerospace.
But that’s not to say that this senior is all work and no play. “I do not consider myself a school-obsessed student,” Bolus said. “I try my best to be a well-rounded individual, and I will continue to pursue this goal for the rest of my life. I guess what I am trying to say is that I am not the sort of person who looks to bury his head in his schoolbooks every night. I probably love to learn more than most people, but I also love enjoying life as much as anybody else.”
Outside of school, Bolus enjoys playing guitar, spending time with friends and family, taking pictures, watching TV, playing soccer and tennis, listening to music and singing with the Mountain Brook High School a cappella group, A Bunch of Guys.
This year Bolus has also enjoyed the opportunity to sing in the Chamber Choir and serve as SGA president.
Bolus attributes much of his success to his dad. “He is by far the most brilliant man I have ever known,” he said, “and I have grown to respect him more and more over the years due to his immense knowledge of basically every subject one can think of. Whenever I am curious or confused, I always have my dad to fall back on. He is the reason I have succeeded even a little bit academically over the years.”
Bolus also credits his Latin teacher, Mrs. Diana Plosser, with influencing his life. “I have only had her for two years, but I feel as if she is my family, which is not a sentiment unique to me,” he said. “Most, if not all, of her students feel the same way. She has been like a mother to me and to all of her students at school. She has taught me so much more than just Latin. She has given me advice on how to succeed both academically and in life in general, and I will never forget the lessons she has taught me.”
Bolus’ favorite classes are tied between Latin and calculus. “When you think about it,” he said, “calculus and Latin are not very different: they both deal with the interpretation and implementation of symbols, which is something that I really love to do.”
Bolus said that he will miss his friends and the camaraderie of his fellow students. He says his final thoughts to the class of 2011 are: “Don’t focus on what you have done. Be proud, for sure, but dwell not on your accomplishments. It is not what you have done but what you will do that will define you. We all have the ability to change the world, but it is up to us to decide how to accomplish this.”
From chairing this year’s Relay for Life to installing a 200-foot zip line in his back yard, senior Neil Griffin definitely is not your typical high school student.
Self-described as “inquisitive, energetic and creative,” Griffin has known since he was little what he wanted to do with his life.
“My love for building and design started with a set of Lincoln Logs and Legos,” he said. “I do things like putting a 200-foot zip line in my backyard now. I am fascinated by the integration of the structural engineering of buildings and modern/environmental design.” Griffin said he is interested in starting an architectural engineering consulting firm or working for a structural engineering consulting firm.
For this reason, Griffin will be attending the University of Texas at Austin next fall, with plans to enroll in the Architectural Engineering program at UT’s Cockrell School of Engineering.
His love of architecture aside, Griffin also enjoys history class.
“Although I have always considered myself a math/science kind of guy,” he said, “my classes with Dr. Glenn Lamar in both US history last year and European history this year have made history my most enjoyable class of the day. I believe it is paramount that we know where we came from so that we know best how to move forward. History is the ultimate guide.”
Outside of school, Griffin enjoys playing guitar, going to concerts and playing music with his friends.
“I like do random at-home projects like build a zip line, hang speakers and a hammock from the ceiling, or suddenly switch around all of the furniture and electronics in the basement where my mom gives me creative control,” he said.
Griffin also recognizes his mom for having a big influence on his life. “The ideology by which she lives—work hard, treat others as you would like to be treated, and strive for your dreams—has had a resounding impact upon my life,” he said.
Griffin has served as the chair of Mountain Brook High School’s Relay for Life this year, raising $141,611.21, which exceeded the goal of $140,000.
His favorite memory, he said, happened earlier this year. “A couple of buddies and I choreographed a boy band dance, came out of the stands at Ms. Olympian and surprised everyone in the audience because we were not in the program,” he said. “I love to dance, so it was a bunch of fun.”
In the future, Griffin hopes to be a licensed engineer and living in Birmingham, Austin or Chicago.
Juggling two soccer teams, AP classes and serving as vice president of the SGA and president of the National Honor Society might make your head spin, but for senior Wilson Fisher it’s just another day.
Born during the “Blizzard of ’93,” Fisher has lived in Mountain Brook his entire life. “When I was younger, I was a very rambunctious child,” Fisher said. “I often got into trouble one way or another. For example, when I was a toddler, I managed to destroy two antique miniature rocking chairs that my mom had bought. I had punched holes straight through the wicker backing.”
Since then, Fisher has used that energy in soccer. He played on the Birmingham United U18 Academy team and was one of four captains of the Mountain Brook High School Varsity soccer team that lead the Spartans to the state finals for the first time in MBHS history.
When he is not playing soccer or practicing piano, Fisher enjoys hanging out with friends, watching television, playing video games and pickup basketball games with friends. Fisher also said, “I am pretty good at impersonating a British accent; most people don’t know that about me.”
Fisher will be attending Duke University next year and is planning to major in classics, pre-med or business, with hopes to either be a neurosurgeon like his dad or a business executive.
“I like working on projects and seeing them come to fruition,” he said.
Like Bolus, Fisher cites Latin with Mrs. Diana Plosser and calculus with Mrs. Wanda Burns as his favorite classes. “Mrs. Plosser has had the biggest impact on me,” he said. “She has changed my outlook on the true purpose of education and helped me through difficult times throughout my entire high school career.”
Fisher also credits his parents for having a huge influence on his life.
“They have given me every opportunity to succeed and taught me the importance of character and integrity,” he said.
Fisher said that he knows that he will miss everything about the Mountain Brook community but is excited about the next chapter in his life.