Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 16/5/2009 (4069 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
His name is Yale but he's going to Harvard and he's now a walk-on punter with the Harvard Crimson football team.
But he's still six weeks away from graduation at Grant Park High School.
Meet Yale Michaels, a 6-foot-3 multi-sport athlete, honour role student and award-winning youth scientific researcher. He applied to the storied Harvard University because it was his dream to go to school there and he was recently accepted on the strength of his academics and research work that he began in Grade 7.
"If you have certain special gifts, be those athletic or academic, they want you. He's got those, he got in and now he's a member of the Harvard football team," Grant Park Pirates football team head coach Mike Kennedy said proudly. "He's a brilliant kid, a very good athlete and a super-nice kid to boot."
No pun intended, right, coach?
It's Michaels' booting abilities that got him on the team as a punter, but Michaels is the ultimate student-athlete. In addition to football, he played for the Pirates' varsity boys volleyball, basketball and rugby teams, he is the Grant Park student council co-president and his academic average is in the mid-90s.
"It's pretty crazy, to be going there to school and having a chance to play football, it's more than I could have ever imagined," said Michaels, 17, the middle child among three sons of John Michaels and Karen Stern. "I just always wanted to go there. There's a lot of history there and one of the cool things about it is a lot of the teachers that I would be having lectures with are leading people in their field. I feel really lucky to get this chance."
Michaels works at the Manitoba Institute of Cell Biology under Dr. Geoff Hicks, but he has been assisting in University of Manitoba research labs since he was 13 years old. He has won numerous youth science awards in Canada and the USA and has been profiled by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research for his work. That information, his transcripts and SAT mark were enough to make an Ivy League school take notice.
After he found out in late March that Harvard had accepted him, Michaels said he started thinking about football. The Pirates' Harry Hood nominee as his team's most outstanding player in 2008, he had played primarily receiver and punter for the Pirates in the Winnipeg High School Football League, with a punting average around 37 yards.
He e-mailed Crimson head coach Tim Murphy, who was instantly interested. Kennedy said he spoke with Harvard's head recruiter for about a half-hour. "We put together a little highlight package of his kicks. Then Yale went down there on a school visit (April 24), brought the highlight film, met with the coaching staff and he's on the team," said Kennedy.
How that plays out when Michaels gets there in late August remains to be seen but as a freshman, he has plenty of time to develop.
"When I was there, they asked me to walk on (unrecruited prospect) to the team. It's pretty cool. The way it came across was he (Murphy) introduced me to the team trainer as the new punter for next season. My mouth kind of dropped!" Michaels said, laughing. "I know they're a competitive football team and it's a high level and it can't hurt to give it a shot."
And what is Michaels' ultimate career goal?
He wants to be an astronaut, fitting for someone who shoots for the sky in everything he does.
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