ALUMNI AWARD WINNERS
Michael J. FlynnFew people associated with North Attleboro High School in the early 2000s are surprised by Michael Flynn's success as a political speechwriter. The Class of 2006 salutatorian and Vice President proved early in his high school career that he had the right stuff.
Young Alumni Award
Mike's high school transcript reads like a catalogue of honors level and Advanced Placement offerings taught by some of our best, most influential teachers. Mike credits English teachers Mrs. Pasquine and Miss Bedard for their profound impact on his career. "They taught me how to write," he says, "and I doubt I ever would have wound up writing speeches on Air Force II if I had never taken their classes." Flynn also acknowledges that it was Mr. Russo who gave him "the background in history [he] needed to be a history major in college, which also helped lead to politics."
In addition to his fond memories of his English and history courses, Mike also "loved learning about biology with Mr. Duluk, even if I think I let him down a little by not going into science." By the time graduation rolled around, Mike had demonstrated excellence outside the classroom as well, serving as editor-in-chief of the yearbook and Galadriel, the school's literary magazine.
As a freshman at New York University, Mike enrolled in a class called "Debates and Speeches in American History". The professor, Robert Shrum, was a former political consultant who was writing a book at the time. According to Mike, the two "hit it off in the class—largely because we both enjoyed writing so much." Mike ended up working for him as a research assistant for the rest of his time at NYU. Like he did at NAHS, Mike excelled in the collegiate classroom as well, finishing first in his class while graduating a semester early, and delivering the commencement address. He was summa cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa and a National Merit Scholar. After graduation, with the help of Professor Shrum, Mike earned a job with Senator John Kerry and moved to Washington to work in the Senator's press and speechwriting office.
Mike's current position is Senior Writer for the prestigious firm West Wing Writers in Washington, D.C. Before that he served as Vice President Biden's Deputy Director of Speechwriting from 2011 to 2013. In this role, he wrote speeches in the West Wing, aboard Air Force Two, and in other locations throughout the country. While working for the Vice President, according to westwingwriters.com, "Mike worked on material ranging from major policy addresses to commencement speeches. He helped craft the administration's message around manufacturing policy, job creation, immigration reform, gun safety, and countless other issues." In addition, "In 2012, Mike was also part of the speechwriting team at the Democratic National Convention, where he drafted, edited, and oversaw speeches for Senators, Governors, mayors, four-star military leaders, Cabinet Secretaries, and many other speakers."
Despite his rapid rise to the top of his profession, Mike Flynn remains as humble today as he was at North High. "It was all luck," he says. "Sure, I took advantage of the breaks when I got them. But I really can't stress enough how lucky I was to take that class freshman year, how lucky I was to be in the right place at the right time when the Vice President needed a speechwriter, and how lucky I was to have teachers throughout my life who really cared about their students. That really made the difference in everything."
Mike Flynn serves as a symbol to the entire NAHS community about the power of education to shape one's life and the important daily influence teachers have on their students. The NAHS Alumni Association is proud to recognize Mike's significant accomplishments so soon after graduating from high school.
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