Nicholas Nordlund
Glastonbury High School

Eight years ago, Glastonbury's Nicholas Nordlund went on the Ellen DeGeneres Show to show off his invention -- a bicycle-powered television that he thought could combat obesity. Although Nordlund, the Glastonbury High School valedictorian, didn't continue to work on America's problems with obesity, the experience did leave a lasting impression. He wrote his college application essay about being embarrassed while his whole class watched the clip during physics class. "I was pretty goofy as a fifth-grader. I had really long hair and so I wrote about how I was watching it and afraid my classmates would laugh, because in the end I also danced," Nordlund said. "I didn't shrink down in my chair, I owned up to it. Yeah -- I was the kid who dances around and likes music and likes to invent." Nordlund received a perfect score on the SAT, but he said long before academics, he was inspired to work hard by practicing guitar. "My dad had an '80s vintage star-shaped guitar, and he said 'If you practice really hard you can play it,' " Nordlund said. "I always wanted that." Nordlund, who performed Queen's "We Are the Champions" at graduation, had never picked up a bass guitar before playing one in an audition for the high school jazz band. He made it into the ensemble on the first try. "People were more surprised that the rock kid was the valedictorian than the valedictorian was the rock kid," he said. Nordlund will attend Yale University, where he will study physics and math, and start his own band if he can find a drummer. He has studied ancient Greek for four years, and completed a computer science internship last summer, during which he taught himself two programming languages. He received a National Merit Scholarship, was a Governor's Scholar semi-finalist, and received a perfect score on the National Latin Exam. --Nicole Perez
Photo Courtesy of Nicholas Nordlund
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