SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

April 2, 2008

Nate Brakeley, St. John's Prep - 2008 Salem News Student-Athlete Awards

By Matt Jenkins

Nate Brakeley's performance in the classroom and on the playing fields of St. John's Prep could be measured by his highly impressive test scores and statistics, but that isn't a true reflection of a shining star of the Class of 2008. The coaches, teachers and administrators that speak of Brakeley tell the story of a young man who cares more about the journey than the destination.

Brakeley's SAT scores — 800 in critical reading, 780 in math and 760 in writing — are nearly perfect, and his GPA of 4.41 is among the best at St. John's. Still, Brakeley finds a way to challenge both himself, his classmates and his teachers to go beyond grades and class assignments.

Teachers see Brakeley, who suffered through the tragic loss of his mother in a 2002 car accident, as having an inner strength and an optimism for the future that helps drive him.

"Few students have inspired me and challenged me as an intellectual rather than as a teacher in the conventional sense; Nate represents one of the select few," St. John's Prep AP English 3 teacher Anne Burridge said. "I always placed Nate's prepared essays last in my stacks of papers, for reading his essays was my reward after long nights of correcting."

Brakeley made a name for himself on the football field, where he was selected as a Salem News all-star as an offensive lineman. He's also a part of the ski and rugby teams at the Prep.