‘Doing the most things possible’

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Dialog reporter

St. Thomas More student is Annapolis-bound with engineering interests, vocal talent and tennis skills

 

MAGNOLIA — Nicholas Reyes’ days are a whirlwind of activity. The Dover resident is one of St. Thomas More Academy’s most accomplished students. He recently was a scholarship winner in a program sponsored by the American Council of Engineering Companies/Delaware, receiving the highest award in ACEC/Delaware history. He may not need that money for college, however, because he will attend the U.S. Naval Academy, having been nominated by two members of Delaware’s congressional delegation.

The military will give Reyes the opportunity to combine two of his interests: engineering and serving his country. He said there are no engineers in his family – both of his parents are doctors, and his sister is getting a doctorate in physical therapy – but he has always had an interest in the topic.

The Dialog/Mike Lang Nicholas Reyes is an accomplished student, leader, athlete and musician at St. Thomas More Academy.
The Dialog/Mike Lang
Nicholas Reyes is an accomplished student, leader, athlete and musician at St. Thomas More Academy.

“When I was younger, I was always interested in building bridges, Legos, just constructing things,” he said. “The way my mind works, I guess it’s always been structural. I’ve always been into architecture and engineering.”

St. Thomas More instituted an engineering class this year, and Reyes is one of the 10 students who are taking it.

“I knew I wanted to go into a STEM career. Engineering was just a natural fit for that,” he said.

His interest in the military also dates back several years. He said one of his grandfathers was in the Navy, and a cousin recently enlisted. He investigated all of the military branches before settling on the Navy.

“Out of all the branches, the Navy was the one that interested me the most. I think it has the widest variety of career options after you graduate,” he said, noting that he could work on the ground, the sea or in the air as a pilot. “You can really go in any direction with it.”

The other good part about the Navy is that the academy is located in Annapolis, the closest of the three military academies to Dover. That has made Reyes’ mother happy.

Reyes filled out the application for the Naval Academy last fall and was offered a conditional acceptance. In order to make it official, he needed the congressional nomination and medical clearance; that began a waiting period of several months. He received nominations from U.S. Sen. Tom Carper and U.S. Rep. John Carney, and after his medical information checked out, the acceptance letter arrived from Annapolis.

“It was definitely a big weight off my shoulders,” he said.

At St. Thomas More, Reyes has carved out a distinguished legacy. He is a member of the National Honor Society, president of the student government, a veteran of school theater and musical productions, and a leader of the school’s liturgical choir, helping pick the music for student liturgies.

He and other members of student government organize many of the student activities. Currently, they are busy planning for the prom and the after party, for which the juniors and seniors will be spending the night at school. Also an accomplished singer, Reyes will travel to Nashville this year as a member of the National Association for Music Education national choir. In the past, he has been a member of the all-state and all-regional chorus.

He followed his sister, Alyssa, to St. Thomas More from Holy Cross School, a move he says he has never regretted. He said his sister and her friends had positive things to say about the academics and atmosphere at St. Thomas More and that they felt prepared for college when they graduated.

“Besides being able to watch a football game at my own school, I feel I’ve had more opportunities at this school than at other schools,” he said. “Because it is such a small school, I think I got a lot more individual attention. The student-faculty ratio is a lot lower. I think that helped me grow intellectually a lot more than I would at another school, and the teachers here are really dedicated to everyone’s success.”

Reyes also spends a considerable amount of time on the tennis court, both at St. Thomas More and in Dover. Last year, he was the eighth-seeded player in boys second singles, reaching the quarterfinals of the state tournament. He plays year-round at the Dover Indoor Tennis League.

“It was another thing that I took on that my sister did before me. She started playing and really enjoyed it. I was reluctant to start, but my parents encouraged me to take that first lesson, and I actually enjoyed it a lot. I’ve just stuck with it ever since,” he said.

In addition, he does some community service outside of school, helping with an organization called Child Help Foundation. They raise funds to help children with disabilities. He is the vice president of the youth board for Kent County.

With so much going on, Reyes needs to get the most out of every minute of his day. He said he prefers to be busy.

“It’s definitely difficult with a lot going on, but I think for me, when I have a lot of responsibilities, it helps me stay motivated. I found that the fewer things that I have to do, the less successful I am at doing them. So as long as I don’t overload myself, and I do the most things that are possible, then that’s usually how I succeed the most.”