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Braintree High Senior Humbly Rises to Top of Class

Ryan Martin, valedictorian for the Braintree High School Class of 2014.
Ryan Martin, valedictorian for the Braintree High School Class of 2014.
Pam Kiley, a former School Committee member, has known Ryan Martin since he attended Liberty Elementary School. Their families moved to Messina Woods Drive within a year of each other, and she has seen him grow into his accomplishments.

Ryan is a senior at Braintree High School and valedictorian of the Class of 2014. He was a captain of the varsity soccer team last fall, has taken nearly every Advanced Placement class BHS offers, is a member of the National and Spanish honor societies, volunteers and started his own business. 

"He’s exceptional," Kiley said. "He’s well-rounded. Everything Ryan does, Ryan does well.”

Despite that, Ryan maintains a self-assured but quiet, low-key demeanor. Kiley, Ryan's soccer coach and his guidance counselor all used versions of "a nice young man" when describing Ryan.

"He's very humble," Kiley said.

Ryan learned he had risen to the top of his class by way of a letter last fall. Throughout much of his high school career, Ryan had placed second, behind classmate Chris Redington, a friend who he has played basketball and baseball with.

"It was almost a shock," Ryan said. "I didn't know I was number one."

In December, the School Committee presented Ryan and Chris both with the 2013 Massachusetts Association of School Superintendents’ Award for Academic Excellence for being valedictorian and salutatorian.

Marsha Roos has known both students since they were freshmen. As their guidance counselor, she picked up early on that they were on the way to academic success, as they earned straight As and were excellent writers.

"They are both very tenacious about homework and projects, and very good about time management," Roos said.

Both have earned leadership awards at the school, and have been heavily involved in sports and volunteerism; Chris with the local Run for Charlotte road race that raises money for cancer research, and Ryan with a charity that donates used soccer equipment to impoverished countries.

This year, Ryan decided not to play basketball, to give himself time to concentrate on academics. He is taking five AP courses as a senior. Typically, after school Ryan squeezes in study time before soccer, basketball and baseball practice, then has more homework to finish later before spending time with his friends, usually attending other games.

"Sometimes it's stressful, but sometimes it's very rewarding," Ryan said. "You have to take advantage of literally every minute you get."

Coach Gary Burke said his players selected Ryan for captain of the varsity soccer team last fall because he is well-respected, a terrific role model on and off the field.

During the off-season, Ryan helped get his teammates ready for upcoming games, and then offered his assistance with their academics during the season, hosting study halls before practice.

Ryan was also a Bay State League All Star last season.

"He’s a few and far between kid," Burke said. "He’s special, he really is.”

Ryan's ability to lead by example developed when he was a kid in the neighborhood, making up games and creating projects, he said. 

During the summer going into sophomore year, Ryan and four friends were hanging out, playing soccer, and figured that they needed to earn some money, but did not have jobs. They decided that because they cut their own grass, and had the equipment for it, they would start a landscaping business. 

Ryan and his friends made and distributed fliers and took on a number of clients. The work continued the following summer, even as they began to land jobs. For the past two summers, Ryan has worked at a BHS baseball camp.

So far, Ryan has been accepted to Babson College, Boston College, UMass Amherst and Stonehill College. He is awaiting word from Bentley University and Bryant University.

He has a few months to decide on a school, and plans to study business, following in his father's footsteps. His parents think he would do well in finance, but he is also looking into studying entrepreneurship.

"I still want to keep an open mind," Ryan said. 

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