Alkenly O. had a dream, and like everything else he does, he began to plan for it. As a young child in the DR he knew what he wanted to do and how he wanted to achieve it. He wanted to become an architect and design and build homes for those less fortunate.
At the age of 10 he immigrated to Lawrence, MA and threw himself into his studies and though he could barely read English he earned straight A’s in Math. “You’re the living example that math is universal, that you do not need to know English to be able to learn Math,” his teacher, Mrs. Montano explained. Alkenly began to plan. First off he had to master English, which he did working day and night, reading and writing until he was caught up.
He applied to a private school and was accepted with financial aid. His plans to become an Architect and someday own his own company looked as if they may be in reach. But alas not all plans work out according to schedule. He wasn’t old enough to attend the school.
A dispirited Alkenly sought out his middle school counselor who immediately called Greater Lawrence Technical School. He was hesitant at first thinking that GLTS was a school where one just learned a vocation. But within 30 seconds of walking through the front door freshman year he knew “there were opportunities at GLTS that were misunderstood and underrated.”
He chose carpentry as his shop class thinking it was the most direct route to architecture. He and fellow students built a house from the ground up on Margin Street in Lawrence. “I think this experience is a fundamental introduction into architecture, because I now know things that only juniors in college are starting to know,” Alkenly said.
Alkenly joined the swim team though he had never swum competitively and freshman year set a personal best for the 50 yd freestyle. That spring he picked up tennis racket for the first time and made the team. By sophomore year he had taken up golf and was a CAC all-star in tennis. Senior year he was recognized for his leadership and captained both the swim and tennis teams. It may be tempting to think that things just come easy for this bright young man but not so. He works hard. He is persistent and proud of it.
He credits being a student athlete for his career of academic excellence. He has consistently earned straight A’s and is a member of the National Honor Society. Spending so much time on sports forced him to become more focused and organized with his academics. Alkenly says it taught him to be more creative with his time.
“My experience at GLTS has literally blown away my expectations, and has changed my life,” he says. “I would not be where I am without this school.” And without his favorite teacher, Mr. Cyr, a GLTS English teacher who told Alkenly to be persistent and to dream – that no dream is ever too small or too big.
Alkenly’s younger brother, Saviel, is a freshman at GLTS. His advice to his brother was “to do better than me.” Saviel beat his brother’s 50 yd freestyle record and became the most improved swimmer on the freshman swim team. Since then Alkenly has broken all CAC records and set the bar higher for everyone again.
Mr. Chritopher Plourde, a counselor at GLTS has helped Alkenly navigate his seemingly endless college options. Alkenly has applied to fifteen schools and has been accepted to seven so far. Of the eight remaining schools he’s waiting to hear from, Harvard and MIT are his top two choices. In the meantime he is a state finalist for the Presidential Award for Educational Excellence and is a semi-finalist for the national award