OWOSSO — Whether it’s in the classroom or on the track, Mason Collard wants to be remembered as one of the best.

His competitive nature took hold at an early age, according to the senior, helping him achieve one of the highest GPAs at Bryant Elementary School.

Now a senior at Owosso High School, Collard maintains a 4.33 GPA, tackling Advanced Placement courses in world history, government, chemistry and biology along the way, among others.

The 18-year-old has also qualified for the state finals in cross country twice, during both his junior and senior seasons; though if you were to ask him, he’d be more likely to tell you about how he missed the cut for state in track in the 800-meter event by fractions of a second last year.

“I like to be the best or at least one of the best at a lot of things, especially in school, so that kind of is what drives me on a personal level, besides just trying to prepare myself for college,” Collard said. “(With running) You become kind of dedicated to improving yourself, and it becomes sort of like an addiction in a way, a healthy one of just constantly getting better and shedding off another second on your time. I’m pretty competitive just in general life, and so I’m able to use that a lot out on the track.”

Collard is a member of Owosso High School’s Key Club, a group that meets weekly to coordinate and execute a number of fundraisers and volunteer events throughout the local community.

In October, Collard was among a number of students who decorated and delivered pumpkins to the elderly at Oliver Woods Assisted Living and Memory Care. In December, the group also decorated Christmas ornaments for the residents at Oliver Woods.

“It just makes people feel good,” Collard said. “After we finish painting these things, we get to actually go over to Oliver Woods and give them to the elderly folks and they seem really happy to just have people thinking of them and coming out to see them. That’s just really nice to see.”

Owosso High School chemistry teacher and boys varsity track coach Aaron Gillett said Collard has been one of the most outstanding young men he’s had the privilege to teach during his time at Owosso.

“He is so conscientious about what he’s doing and he truly wants to know the ‘why,’” Gillett said via email. “AP chemistry is a tough class, and he worked through it at an extremely high level. As an athlete, he keeps getting better and better…He will run whatever I need him to run in order to give the team the best opportunity to win the meet. Mason was a team captain last track season as a junior and sets an outstanding example for the younger athletes, regardless of the event.”

Though Collard has yet to settle on a college major, he said he’ll most likely enroll at the University of Michigan this fall.

“As of right now I’m thinking (of going for) biology, certainly something science or math related,” Collard said. “(Biology) is really relevant nowadays with things like cancer, and cancer is really interesting to me. There’s obviously a lot of problems to be solved in that topic, so I think getting into biology I’d be able to help a lot of people, not necessarily being a doctor or anything like that, but I’m thinking more as a researcher of some sort.”

Regardless of the path Collard chooses, Gillett said he’s confident the young man will excel.

“Mason stands above most other young adults due to his dedication, discipline and drive to succeed and be the best,” Gillett said. “I have never doubted his effort or heart in the classroom or on the track. I know he is going to give everything he has to whatever it is he is doing. It is this attribute that will carry him to unknown heights as he progresses through his life.”

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