LAWRENCE — Over the holidays, Superintendent John Lavoie opened his email to find an unexpected message from alum Michael Duxbury.
“Hello Superintendent Lavoie,” read Duxbury’s Dec. 27 email. “This month I find myself looking back on my life and giving thanks for the people and places that influenced me and provided me with opportunity to grow and become a productive citizen.”
The letter went on to detail Duxbury’s evolution from struggling academically to flourishing at GLTS on his way to earning several prestigious jobs.
“It was a pleasant surprise to see that Mr. Duxbury had reached out to show his gratitude for the people here at GLTS who helped shape the person he is today,” Superintendent Lavoie said. “We always love hearing from our alums and the successes they’ve had in their education and careers following graduation.”
Duxbury first became interested in GLTS as a North Andover elementary school student and football player. Every year, the annual banquet would be held at GLTS, and the impressive food and service — from students only slightly older than he was — inspired him to enroll in the culinary program freshman year.
However, unable to wait two years until he entered high school, he got involved in one of GLTS’s after school programs in seventh and eighth grades.
When he finally enrolled at GLTS, he chose the Culinary Arts shop, and throughout his fours years in the program, Duxbury built his skills through competitions and trips out of the country to learn about different cultures.
With guidance from his cooking instructor, Duxbury applied and earned a scholarship to Johnson & Wales University, along with securing a spot in the institution’s advanced placement summer school program.
“I made a group of fast friends that summer,” Duxbury recalled. “We became a cadre of tight knit young up and coming “chefs,” who perhaps didn’t yet know seasoning was more than salt, pepper and herbs. Yet we were sure of ourselves and our life’s adventures were really just beginning.”
Following graduation from the one-year culinary program, Duxbury began working in restaurants to learn the trade and even worked as a pastry chef. He later opened his own bakery and lunch spot.
In 1982, Duxbury left for a career move in Alaska, where his culinary skills led to a job as a banquet chef for a local Air Force base officer’s club.
Over the next several years, Duxbury worked with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, and then later, as an Alaska State Trooper. He worked on undercover drug investigations and eventually became a skipper of a 38-foot patrol vessel and member of the dive team (he first learned to dive and got a beginning certification starting in the GLTS swimming pool).
It didn’t end there. During his 30-year career, Duxbury has been a member of a DEA Task Force, FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force, the captain of a Detachment of State Troopers unit and then Commander of the Alaska Bureau of Investigations and the statewide drug enforcement units.
“I was provided with a license to learn by hard working teachers, both academic and vocational, in those four years as a Reggie,” Duxbury said. “I only wish I had the wherewithal to know it then, acknowledge it then, and show gratitude for it then. Believe me, I know the value of it and am grateful for it now.”
In December, Duxbury became the Deputy Commissioner of the Alaska Department of Public Safety.