CORUNNA — Colin Lavery, 17, has been attending Corunna schools since kindergarten, and the senior — math whiz and captain of the varsity football team — says he’s glad he has.
“We have the closest sense of community of any other nearby school districts, I believe,” Lavery said. “The students, teachers — we’re all kind of a family.”
One school “family” member is Steve Herrick, his football coach for four years, who is impressed by Lavery’s combination of academic and athletic talent.
“Colin is just a tremendous person,” Herrick said. “He keeps up a great balance between sports, school, family and girlfriends. He just has an outstanding character and a good head on his shoulders.”
Lavery has played football at Corunna High School for four years, the last two as captain of the varsity team. Throughout high school, he has also competed with the wrestling team in the winter and track team in the spring.
He is bound to receive the school’s Iron Man award, given for participation in three sports for all four years. His two brothers also competed in a variety of athletics: Ryan Lavery, 20, and younger brother, freshman Aidan Lavery, 15, who currently runs track and cross-country.
Colin Lavery, armed with a 4.05 GPA, is eyeing the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor to study engineering next year. The Shiawassee Scholar has been selected as a finalist for a Cook Family Foundation scholarship. Lavery and other finalists will soon travel to Ann Arbor for a campus tour.
“My family has always felt a very tight connection with U-M,” he said. “It’s mostly my grandpa, whose a massive (Wolverines) fan.”
Why engineering? “I’ve always been gifted in math. It has always come easily to me — math and problem-solving, which are the key components of engineering,” Lavery said.
Also providing inspiration is Lavery’s father, Thomas Lavery, who works as an electrical engineer despite lacking a college degree, since he opted to join the U.S. Navy after high school. He is his son’s role model.
“My dad is by far the most work-driven person I’ve ever met,” the younger Lavery said. “He doesn’t let anything hold him back.”
Lavery’s classes this semester are Holocaust literature, Advance Placement calculus, personal finance and Lansing Community College online classes physical geography and communications.
His all-time favorite teacher is Pam Mathias, whom Lavery had for fifth grade. From eighth grade to his sophomore year — when Mathias retired — Lavery and a friend would go over to the elementary school and visit their former teacher every afternoon.
“We’d check in with her,” Lavery said. “We just really liked her. She was very nice, and she was a great teacher. She cared about my future.”
For fun, he enjoys science fiction movies. His favorite childhood books were author Rick Riordan’s Percy Jackson series, which blend Greek mythology with modern-day characters and settings.
“When I was a kid, I’d stay up until 3 a.m. reading. My parents would have to make me stop and go to sleep,” Lavery said. “I don’t have a lot of time to read for fun anymore.”