Casey tabbed as Brentwood’s Male Scholar-Athlete of the Year

Saturday, July 14, 2018 | 12:45 AM

Michael Casey made the most of his high school career.

And then some.

He posted a 4.789 GPA in his senior year, a 4.326 cumulative GPA, and graduated from Brentwood as class valedictorian.

Casey also earned 10 varsity letters in three sports — four for cross country, three for swimming and diving, and three for track and field.

As a senior, he was selected as the most outstanding team member in cross country and swimming.

Casey also was named male scholar-athlete of the year.

“Being male scholar-athlete is a great honor to have been awarded,” he said, “and I know my graduating class excelled at both athletics and academics, so I am sure there were others close behind me.

“I cannot say that it was something I ever strived for throughout high school. Grades were always my biggest concern. I wanted to be able to attend the colleges I chose to apply to, and grades are half the requirements, so I had that part covered. I joined cross country my freshmen year for my brother, Greg (a 2014 graduate), and had a great time. From there I just found myself doing sports all year-round; they were great experiences, which fulfilled the other half of the requirements.”

The highly motivated Casey participated in a unique cultural learning experience early in his senior year, serving as a design engineer on Brentwood’s Interstellar M1 racing team that qualified for the World Finals for F1 in Schools held last September in Kuala Lumpar, Malaysia.

Brentwood also was represented on the world stage by seniors Morgan Dryburgh; design engineer; Ryan Schwarz, manufacturing engineer; Destinee Kellner, team manager; and (Grant) Davis, communications manager/specialist engineer; and 2017 graduate Lindsey Powell, fundraising/sponsorship coordinator.

F1, or Formula One, in Schools is an international STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) competition in which groups of students design and manufacture a miniature car out of the official F1 Model Block using CAD/CAM design tools. The cars have to follow specific guidelines, and are raced on a 20-meter long track.

The group of Brentwood students built a miniature car made of composite wood and powered by a CO-2 cartridge.

“The greatest academic achievement I had throughout all of high school was competing in Malaysia for the F1 in Schools World Finals,” Casey said. “This was a trip that a team of us earned, and it was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that I am very grateful and proud to have achieved.

“My main focus of the trip was the competition. We worked so hard to get there and that is what meant the most to me. To be expected, the other competitors were fierce and clearly showed us that competing to place well would take all that we had as a team and individuals. While being a stressful competition, it was rewarding in itself to meet so many students as dedicated as ourselves, and to see all of our hard work come together.”

Casey said he can’t remember the last time he received a grade lower than an A for a class. His greatest influence academically was Brentwood engineering/technology education teacher Beau Sedlar, who along with digital media teacher Jennifer Hughes served as team sponsors and trip chaperones for Brentwood’s Interstellar M1 racing team.

“I would have to say my biggest influence academically was Mr. Sedlar, my engineering teacher from way back in seventh grade almost straight through to my senior year,” Casey said. “Mr. Sedlar’s class was more than a grade, it was based on skills and a touch of creativity.

“My success in his classes showed me that I could accomplish more than I thought prior to just considering myself the default smart kid without many real talents. And these very real talents and his guidance are what mattered when it came to achieving the World’s spot in F1 in Schools.”

Casey was class president at Brentwood for two years, and served as president of the German Club, the school’s largest club. He also was a member of the Technology Student Association, and was a percussionist (tenor drums) in the school’s marching band.

On top of that, Casey has achieved the rank of Eagle Scout in the Boy Scouts of America program.

“My Eagle Scout project was putting new leather on the kneelers at St. Gabriel’s church near Caste Village,” Casey said. “The ladies who voluntarily do so had become too busy and fell behind, so I was able to help them out by organizing my troop to do so with me.”

Athletically, Casey enjoyed his time in the pool the most, particularly in his senior year when he served as co-captain of the boys team.

“The best memory was honestly just my entire swim season my senior year,” he said. “We did not win the section, but that never bothered me. It was the most dedicated I had ever felt in any of my sports, getting voted captain and improving my times, but the main reasons were the friendships I made through the team.

“I have to say swimming was my favorite sport for the fact that I did not have any injuries, while with running I struggled with shin splints during all my seasons.”

In track and field, Casey concentrated on the distance events.

Casey has been accepted into the Swanson School of Engineering at Pitt’s campus in Oakland. He plans to major in bioengineering.

“Pitt was the best and most convenient choice, which is a nice combo,” Casey said. “Pitt has one of the best bioengineering programs in the country, while also having the benefits of the Swanson facilities.

“Pitt is about a 30-minute drive from Brentwood, so to avoid dorm costs it was best to have the option to commute to school. And there is an alumni factor, as my older brother graduated from Pitt in December and spoke very highly of his experiences.”

Casey currently is working part-time at UPMC Children’s Hospital delivering inter-departmental mail for the staff associated with Pitt.

Ray Fisher is a freelance writer.

Ray Fisher is a contributing writer.

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