By NATALIE FALLANO

When friends and teachers were asked to describe Catherine Poirier, responses ranged from “academic prodigy” to “slight work rapper extraordinaire,” mainly due to Poirier’s quirky, all-around personality. What sets her apart is what her longtime best friend, fellow senior Amalia Quesada Nylen, describes as her “ability to balance everything, yet never settle for less.”

Poirier recalls entering high school as “that kid who hyperventilated in middle school when [she] took a test,” and “hated the idea of high school in general.” This mindset has changed immeasurably over the years, considering Poirier is not only one of the top-ranking students at Malden High School,  but also one of the most involved. Some of her many extracurriculars include being a three-sport athlete, vice president of National Honor Society, Class of 2013 historian, School Committee student representative of the school committee, Online Editor-In-Chief of the Blue and Gold, and intern at Mayor Gary Christensen’s office.

“I live, eat and breathe MHS swimming,” explained Poirier. She is a four-year member of the varsity team as well as two-year captain. In her senior year she “was a part of record-breaking relay teams, and even broke a school record in an individual event”: breaststroke. Swimming has meant the most to her because she discovered many of her closest friends, including coaches and teammates who taught her “the importance of discipline, tenacity, perseverance and hard work.”

Another highlight of Poirier’s high school experience is a 75-year tradition which she encourages all underclassmen to participate in: Junior Varieties. Poirier was one of the hosts of the class of 2013 show, representing the personality of Facebook. She found all the long nights spent in the auditorium worthwhile because she was able to step out of her comfort zone.

Poirier describes the college process as “definitely a struggle” for her, but the end result was worth it. A Posse Scholarship finalist for Bucknell College, Poirier applied to a grand total of 12 schools.

She will be attending Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut, which has become “a dream come true” for her. She has gotten a head start on college life, having been invited to a leadership conference for freshman women this summer, been recruited for Trinity’s Varsity Swim Team and has a research job lined up for next summer. Poirier plans to enter the Interdisciplinary Science Program at Trinity, hoping to pursue biomedical engineering, researching prosthetics or medicine in the future.

Over her years at MHS, as well as before, Poirier has always managed to make an impact on the people around her, serving as a sort of a role model. “She finds humor and joy in almost any lesson, and even though she may be the person in the room running on the least hours of sleep, she has the loudest, most distinctive laugh,” explained Quesada Nylen.

Best friend, senior Caitlin Cala, explained Poirier in a nutshell: “On the outside, Catherine looks like your typical white girl. Then you take a look at her iPod and you realize you ain’t seen nothing yet! She is the perfect example of Malden, a melting pot of different cultures all blended into one.”

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