Michael Quintero- Salutatorian

Dominic Companiott, Sports Editor

 The 2018 Bishop Noll salutatorian, Michael Quintero has always been interested in engineering. It’s evident in his school work as well as his physical prowess, which has led him to be this year’s Bishop Noll’s male athlete of the year. Now, Michael, who is also a 2018 Lilly Scholarship recipient, plans to attend Purdue University for Mechanical Engineering and then head into grad school to receive his master’s in Mechanical Engineering.

  “Since I was little, I have had an interest in creating machines.” said Michael. “I loved playing with motor Lego sets and building ferris wheels, robots, and roller coasters.”

   Michael says his love for building was encouraged by his father, who builds wooden bridges, mechanisms for haunted houses, and is an otherwise handy carpenter around the house.    “Watching him fostered my love for building and creating machinery,” he said.

  As one of the country’s top engineering programs, Purdue is intimidating to all those enter; 60-percent of freshman engineering majors drop out or change majors by the end of their first year. However, Michael believes his dual credit courses that he took through Purdue as a high school student–like DC Biology and DC Spanish–have acclimated him to Purdue’s academic requirements.

  “I know Purdue has a very difficult program, but I think the rigorous amount of courses I have taken at my time at Purdue has prepared me,” said Mike. “I am nervous about taking my engineering courses because I have never taken an engineering course before, so I do not know what to expect.”

 The athlete in Michael plays a big part in his motivation and mentality to work as an engineer. The decision-making skills, the strategy, and the logic that Michael uses on the basketball court and as a distance runner are the same skills he uses when solving equations in calculus. In fact, Michael’s biggest role model for him is Kobe Bryant.

  “The work ethic of this man inspired me to give everything I have in the things that I love to do,” he said.

  Michael faced some tough challenges on the road to where he is now, though. Right before his interview for the Lilly Scholarship, Michael lost his grandfather.

  “I felt like all odds were against me to win the scholarship,” said Michael. “My friends, family, and faculty kept me focused and helped me to feel that I could win the scholarship. And then I did win the scholarship. What motivates me is knowing that I have a lot of opportunities in school and outside of school to better myself as a person and stay involved. Many people do not have these opportunities because they may have other responsibilities to attend to. So I want to make the best of every opportunity I am given.”

  Each family member served as a different source of motivation for Michael. His father instilled in him his love of engineering; his grandfather, his confidence. Michael’s mother, though, helped him cultivate a strict work ethic, which is ideal for mechanical engineers.

  “In grade school my mother would be on my case about getting my homework done as soon as I got home,” he said. “This habit carried over to high school. As soon as I got home from practice I would not do anything else until my homework was finished.

   On top of all this work and varsity sports on the basketball team, cross country and track teams, Michael also managed to work and volunteer as well. Most notably, he worked with the St. John the Baptist youth group, Phyre ministry, and was a religious education teacher on Sundays. At Bishop Noll, Michael stayed active in campus ministry and as president of the Multicultural Club, where he starred in the club’s 2016 video campaign for their fall tamale dinner. After hours, he kept a steady summer job at McDonald’s.

  “These experiences helped me to become a well rounded student, and also allowed me to work with many different age groups and people, teens, kids, elderly, homeless, orphans, etc.,” Michael said. “These experiences have encouraged me to want to help people all throughout my life.”