Mark Cullen, shown inside the library at Notre Dame Academy in Green Bay last month, is a Green Bay Press-Gazette 2013 Academic Team member. He will be attending Duke University next year. / Evan Siegle/Press-Gazette Media
Mark Cullen, a senior at Notre Dame Academy in Green Bay, is a member of Press-Gazette Media's 2013 Academic Team.
Notre Dame Academy
Lauri and Joe Cullen
IB: English HL 1 and 2, Math HL 1 and 2, Philosophy HL 1 and 2, Psychology, Spanish and Physics, also Advanced Biology
32 composite ACT
*School has weighted grades
High honor roll, National Honor Society
Most valuable runner boys’ cross country
Boys’ tennis, team state champion
Boys’ tennis, team state sportsmanship award
Tennis, first team all-conference winner
Varsity boys’ cross country, team captain
Varsity boys’ tennis, three-time state qualifier
Student government executive board
Freshman orientation, retreat leader and big buddy
State solo and ensemble, bassoon, first place honors
In the Community
Service trip to Mississippi
Boys and Girls Club of Green Bay
Cerebral Palsy Inc.
Habitat for Humanity Restore
Pizza 4 Patriots
On the Job
Green Bay Tennis Center instructor
Mark is a remarkably bright, enthusiastic and perceptive individual. A truly gifted young man, both academically and personally. Mark is intuitive, independent and thorough in his approach to studies. A leader in the classroom, Mark is a maximum-effort student, never satisfied with the mediocre. A young man of integrity, good sense of humor and intellectual insight, Mark will continue to use and develop his talents as he pursues his goals in the field of medicine. — physics teacher Susan Nelson
Who do you emulate and why?
My grandfather is a man who inspires me every time that I am in his presence. Some people feel sorry for him because he has had multiple hip replacements, shoulder replacements and has even had a quadruple bypass, but when I look at him I see a strong and shining soul trapped inside of a body that has slowly fallen apart over the years. My grandfather never gives up, even in the most difficult struggles. He is brave, humble and accepts help even though I can tell he is sometimes embarrassed by his physical limitations.
Beyond his inspiring story of overcoming physical obstacles, my grandfather is one of the most pure and generous people I know. He genuinely cares about others, be it friends, family or strangers. He has the rare ability to give anyone his complete attention; if he is with a small child or an elderly woman, he is genuinely interested in their dreams and concerns. He is a man full of love and compassion and his attitude and outlook inspire me.
My grandfather has taught me, by example, that helping others is one of the most important duties of being part of a community. He lives in a small rural town in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan and volunteers in whatever way he can to improve his community. Giving of his time, talent and resources has defined his life. When my grandfather sees a need, he is always the first to volunteer. He has been a role model for me to approach every relationship as he would, without differentiation by race, gender, socioeconomic status or sexual preference. Simply stated, he sees all people as human beings who deserve to be loved. His compassion daunts and inspires me.
In addition to giving back to his greater community, my grandfather is just as supportive of his family. My grandfather has encouraged me in my athletic endeavors. He was an amazing high school track athlete and I have attempted to keep the family tradition alive by running cross country. My grandfather loves to come and watch me race as he wheels his walker out onto the bumpy and “gravely” courses to scream his support. He always tells me to “pump my arms and get on my toes” and he likes to express how proud he is with my achievements. My grandpa’s love and support have helped me to become a successful runner.
My grandfather is a great man with a huge and indiscriminate heart. There are not many people who can compare to him. I plan to emulate his approach to life and relationships. His outlook on life surprises and mystifies me with its never-ending optimism. Tom Brokaw has coined the term “the greatest generation” for men and women like my grandpa. What a great legacy he has left to me. I love him with all my heart.