-By Cary Shuman
Carmen Tracy, the No. 1-ranked student academically in the Winthrop High School Class of 2011, has been granted admission to Harvard University as a member of the incoming Class of 2015.
Tracy first learned of her acceptance by email last week and has since received the official admissions packet and letter of congratulations from the Ivy League school in Cambridge, Massachusetts that is considered the most prestigious, if not the most famous, in the world.
“I was crying,” said Tracy, recalling the moment she read the email. “Harvard was my top choice.”
Tracy was selected from a record pool of 34,950 candidates for the 2,158 seats in the incoming freshman class at Harvard.
The news of her acceptance was greeted with praise from the halls of the high school to town hall.
Jeffrey Turco, president of the town council and a member of the school committee, congratulated Tracy on her acceptance to Harvard.
“It’s absolutely wonderful,” said Turco. “She and her family deserve congratulations. The reality is the success of our students – it’s in large part based on our teachers and our school district – but the credit to a large extent belongs to the parents that take the time and stress the importance of education. It shows that Winthrop High School students are going places and there are wonderful success stories and we need to do a better job as a district in accentuating the positives that take place and this is the time to do it as students receive their acceptance letters, particularly to schools as prestigious as Harvard.”
Gail Conlon, who has been WHS principal during Tracy’s four years at the high school, offered the congratulations of the school administration and faculty.
“I’m absolutely thrilled for Carmen,” said Conlon. “She deserves this acceptance to Harvard. She’s worked tremendously hard for the last four years here. She’s worked hard through her Winthrop public school career. Our school system produces young men and women who are capable of being accepted to Harvard and many other prestigious colleges across the country.”
Tracy has received several academic awards, including WHS Student of the Year recognition in English, AP English, Chemistry, AP Chemistry, Health, and Government. She was the recipient of the Harvard Book Award and the Freedoms Foundations Award and was honored by the Winthrop Chamber of Commerce as Student of the Year. She served as a congressional page in the Washington D.C. offices of U.S. Rep. Edward J. Markey.
Tracy is the senior class treasurer, a member of the National Honor Society and the Drama Club, and a captain and four-year member of the WHS Mock Trial team that advanced to the final eight in statewide competition.
Tracy has distinguished herself as a leader of the Mock Trial Team coached by teacher Maria Flanagan.
“Carmen is a tremendous lawyer for our team,” said Flanagan. “Her leadership is excellent. The team looks to Carmen for that leadership – for the poise and confidence that I have seen in her since she was a freshman. Justices have noted her awesome cross-examinations and excellent closing arguments in the courtroom.”
The 18-year-old daughter and oldest of ten children of Gregory and Donis Tracy, Carmen Tracy moved from Hudson (Mass.) to Winthrop in the summer before her sixth grade year. She enrolled at Winthrop Middle School where she demonstrated her enthusiasm for learning.
At the high school, Tracy has become a school leader and excelled in a curriculum where students can take advanced placement courses and count on their teachers to go the extra mile to help them realize their potential.
“Winthrop teachers and faculty are really good at taking some of the limited resources we have and pushing it to be something excellent,” said Tracy. “The curriculum is still very rigorous. Our teachers strive for excellence and motivate us every day.”
Tracy will major in the social sciences at Harvard, with a goal of attending law school.
“My plans for the rest of my life are to major in something to do with special education, work as a special education teacher and go to law school,” said Tracy. “I want to be an attorney for individuals with intellectual disabilities.”
Tracy said she learned her work ethic from her parents who also stressed the importance of academics to her. Her father is the managing editor of the Boston Pilot and a photographer. Her mother is a freelance journalist and a stay-at-home mom.
Tracy is completing her academic career at WHS and preparing to deliver the valedictory address at the graduation ceremony in June.