Harvard Acceptance Is A First For Mashpee High School
By: Michael C. Bailey
It is a huge point of pride for any high school student to say she’s been accepted to Harvard University.
Chelsea A. Mullen can not only make that claim, she can also boast that she is the first student in Mashpee High School history to be accepted into the hallowed halls of Harvard.
“It’s an amazing feeling to be the first MHS student to be accepted to Harvard University,” Chelsea said. “I’m truly honored that they felt I had the qualifications they look for in prospective students.”
“Although I’ve worked very hard in my academic pursuits from kindergarten to the present, I know this achievement would not have come to fruition were it not for the wonderful support, encouragement, and instruction I’ve received from my family, friends, teachers, guidance counselors, administrators, and community as a whole,” she added, specifically singling out her parents, Lisa M. and Michael G. Mullen, for their support.
“I could never have achieved this were it not for their encouragement and belief in my ability to achieve anything I set my mind to,” she said, “all while keeping me laughing and smiling along the way.”
Chelsea received the unexpected good news on January 11. “Just a few weeks prior to learning about my acceptance, I had resigned myself to the fact that I would have to wait until April 1 to receive word” from the schools to which she had applied—April 1 being the deadline for issuing acceptance notices.
The phone call came in that afternoon, “interrupting my pre-basketball game nap, mind you,” Chelsea said. “The voice of my admissions officer at Harvard was the last thing I was expecting to hear. She cheerfully and casually chatted with me for a few minutes before letting me know that the admissions committee had made a decision on my application, and I was in.”
“I think my immediate response was, ‘What?’,” Chelsea said. “She laughed, I caught my breath, and she explained that I would receive my letter within a few days, but that she had wanted to personally let me know.”
After hanging up with the admissions officer, Chelsea said she checked the phone number on Google to verify that it was legitimate. “When it indeed came up as a Cambridge, Massachusetts, number, I knew I wasn’t dreaming.”
Chelsea said she “always knew that I wanted to try to pursue an Ivy League education after high school. I have worked extremely hard throughout my years in school, and have always dreamed of attending a top university.”
After researching possible schools and consulting with Mark Balestracci, her senior seminar teacher, “I decided that Brown, Columbia, Harvard, and the University of Pennsylvania were the four Ivies that would be the best fit for me, should I be fortunate enough to be accepted into any of them,” Chelsea said. She also applied to Boston College and Villanova, which both accepted Chelsea into their honors programs.
Chelsea said she is still waiting to hear back from the other colleges before she makes a final decision on where she’ll go. “My decision deadline is not until May 1, so until I have the full range of options in front of me I won’t be making any final decisions on where I will be attending school next year,” she said. “Don’t get me wrong, I’m absolutely thrilled about being accepted to Harvard, but there are other factors I will have to consider.”
“While I’m very excited for my own achievement, the thing that I’m most excited about is setting an example to younger Mashpee students that the opportunity to attend top universities is available to them through hard work and determination,” Chelsea said. “It’s a challenge, for sure, but I’m hopeful that I am just the first of many Mashpee students who will receive that wonderful phone call from a friendly Harvard admissions officer.”
Chelsea said she is currently leaning toward a major in political science with a minor in economics.
School administrators were generous with their praise for Chelsea, who is well-known by the staff as an enthusiastic academic and a well-rounded member of the school community.
“We are so very proud of her,” Jane A. Day, MHS principal, said. “She demonstrates the best of what we hope for in our young people. She is an excellent model of what modern public education can produce.”
“To say she is a strong student is only scratching the surface,” Ms. Day said. “She has a view of the world that is broad and balanced. Her maturity is only outshined by her graciousness. The list of accomplishments is what one would expect for a student accepted into Harvard, but her kindness and optimism are her most outstanding qualities.”
“We are, of course, terribly proud of Chelsea,” Superintendent Ann M. Bradshaw said. “This is not new. Chelsea has been an outstanding student and a solid citizen in Mashpee schools since kindergarten.”
Lindsay Kett, director of guidance at MHS, called Chelsea “a dedicated, enthusiastic, inquisitive and genuine individual who seems to excel with ease, adventure and academic curiosity. Focused and appreciative of her educational opportunities, Chelsea continues to set individual goals to achieve her desired success.”
“Chelsea Mullen is certainly a name that will be heard of in the future,” Ms. Kett said. “She is destined for greatness.”
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