HARWICH – When the news broke that Monomoy Regional High School senior Perry Comeau of Harwich had earned the Massachusetts Association of Superintendents Award for Academic Excellence, the congratulations started rolling in and haven't stopped, and rightly so. Comeau is one of the top students at MRHS and shows no sign of slowing down even as graduation rapidly approaches.
The annual award is given to a high school senior that has distinguished him or herself in the pursuit of excel during their high school career. According to Monomoy Superintendent Scott Carpenter, Comeau was chosen not only for his impressive mathematical skills, but also his leadership capabilities and his school and community involvement.
Carpenter praised Comeau for his determination in taking multiple Advanced Placement courses throughout his years at MRHS, as well as his decision to work into his schedule a dual enrollment program with Cape Cod Community College that allowed him to complete college level English Composition last summer.
Adding to his long list of accomplishments, which includes serving as president of the MRHS Key Club and a member of the National Honor Society, Comeau was the recipient of the Harvard Book Award, was nominated by the entire faculty to receive Math, Science, English and History Department awards, and earned a perfect 800 on the math SATs.
For Comeau, it's all about ensuring a strong future. A self-starter, he said tackling academics has never been an issue for him.
“My mom always said that she never had to tell me to do my homework, never had to tell me to study for a test, and never had to check anything, because I always just did it,” Comeau said. “I thought that's what was expected. I always tried to the best I could in school just because I know that I can. I'm not happy when I get a bad test grade or miss something because I know that I can do better than that.”
Comeau said he derived inspiration from knowing that pursuing a strong education would lead to success later in life.
“I think I've had a lot of self motivation throughout high school,” Comeau said. “No one was telling me to go the extra distance, but I just knew it would give me the best chance for getting into colleges and into where I want to be in life.”
Ideally, that future will involve working in the biomedical engineering world, something Comeau is passionate about.
“Engineering is the collaboration of physics, math, and statistics, and I want to go into the biomedical engineering world because I just love biology,” Comeau said. “Studying the human body, especially with Mr. (Dustan) Burns in AP Biology has been really interesting.”
Comeau said his main reason for choosing a career in biomedical engineering is to help people. “I think the whole point of biomedical engineering is helping people who maybe got the short end of genetic variation and can't live life as fully as they would be able to if they had been born differently or didn't have certain circumstances in their lives,” he said. “Biomedical engineering can be anything from heart tickers to prosthetic limbs to helping a colorblind person see color. I think there is so much opportunity in different parts of biomedical engineering that if I major in it I'll find something I'm really interested in specifically.”
It helps that Comeau has a deep appreciation for math and science.
“I'm a math kid,” he said. “I've always been in love with numbers, patterns, and with math. I like to see math in the real world, which calculus and statistics have allowed me to do. On top of math, I love science. I've been doubling up on science classes since sophomore year. Right now I'm in a combined five AP Math or Science classes, from Environmental Science, Calculus, Statistics, Physics,and Computer Science.”
Comeau, who previously went to the Lighthouse Charter School, is grateful he chose Monomoy.
“I think that Monomoy was definitely the best decision I could have made,” he said. “I came out of the charter middle school and came straight here as a freshman, so I did miss eighth grade, but I've had a lot of flexibility in my class schedule, even for such a small school, which has allowed me to take multiple Aps of different subjects. I think all of the teachers have been really supportive, and obviously my guidance counselor Ms. (Jen) Police has made a huge difference in my high school career, and I think they've always allowed me to explore more by giving less homework.”
Along with academics, Comeau was a captain of the varsity soccer team and will serve as captain of the boys track team this spring, where his favorite events are the high jump, the javelin, the 400, and the 4x4 relay.
“The relay is favorite,” he said. “It's the last event of meet, and the only time you feel like you're competing as a team. It's me and three of my closest friends handing off a baton, trying to beat the other team.”
He encourages incoming students to give the AP classes at Monomoy a try.
“Try to take as much as you can. If it's a harder class, go for it,” he said. “The worst that can happen is you drop down. Even though you might be a little under qualified, the teachers are so great at helping you that they can get you through a class you maybe weren't as well prepared for. I think going and challenging yourself, and just using the resources of your teachers and guidance counselors would make a big difference.”
Recently, Comeau was accepted into the Northeastern Honors College, and is waiting to hear from about nine other schools, all Ivy League. His top choice is Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Along with his teachers and guidance counselor, he credits his family with his success.
“Obviously I wouldn't have done this well without my family,” he said. “My sister, Alexis, a freshman at St. Mike's, little brother, Chase, at Nauset, and both of my parents, Melissa and Perry.”