Published in the July 19, 2019 edition.


WAKEFIELD — So you want to be a valedictorian? You want to win state championships, be a role model, study chemical engineering at one of the oldest and most prestigious universities in the world, and be one of 14 student athletes in the state to earn an award recognizing success in both athletics and academics?

Then you better go find Bill Stevens before he leaves for Scotland.

Stevens, of Wakefield High, was honored on June 16 at The Boston
downtown office along with 13 other student athletes representing six MIAA districts in addition to the City of Boston. The seniors were selected by a panel of Globe judges to receive scholarships based on academic and athletic achievement.

“To me, this award represents all the effort that I put into school and into track,” said Stevens. “It feels like a culmination of both of the largest aspects of my life.”

Stevens, Wakefield Memorial High School’s valedictorian for the class of 2019, was a three-sport track athlete, competing in cross country, indoor and outdoor track. That’s a big commitment at any school, but especially in the Warrior program. It’s demanding, tough and always requires your best. It’s also fun, together and wildly successful.

Stevens was a part of an outdoor track state championship and state relay title; as well as a Middlesex League Championship title and two state championships in cross country, one in which he was a major scorer.

“I love the boys on the team,” said Stevens. “They always made my worst practices so much more manageable. I’ll never forget the feeling of the whole team coming together to win a state championship. It’s such a great feeling to be a part of something like that.”

Moving on, it’s an experience Stevens will remember fondly.

“I made so many memories over the years on the track team, but I will always remember our annual August trips to Foss Running Camp in Strafford, New Hampshire. All the runners on the girls and boys cross country teams are so much fun to be with and spending a week with them at this camp is just so much fun. It always set such a positive tone for the upcoming cross country season and let everyone feel much more comfortable on the team.”

Running pushed Stevens. It may have even helped shape his mentality towards academics, allowing him shine in the classroom.

“Billy is an impressive student and athlete so it wasn’t a surprise that he earned this honor,” said cross country head coach Perry Pappas. “He is a devoted student, teammate and athlete and put in endless hours on his academics as well as getting stronger at running. He was a big part of our championship seasons and was a great influence for the younger athletes on the team.”

Ask about Bill Stevens and one word constantly comes up: humble.

“He is humble and modest,” said Bill’s guidance counselor Richard McKenna. “He was the number one student but never spoke about it or even worried about it. He just worked as hard as he could and let his efforts determine his success. He is one of the most well-adjusted young men I have had the pleasure to work with in my ten years as a guidance counselor and he will be successful in any profession he chooses to pursue.”

“He’s a great role model,” agreed WMHS athletic director Brendan Kent. “I always say I want great athletes but more importantly great students and most importantly great people. That’s Billy Stevens to a T.”

Stevens will take that same mentality to the University of Edinburgh, walking the same grounds as Alexander Graham Bell and Sherlock Holmes himself (Arthur Conan Doyle).

It will be a grand, new adventure, one in which he will be more than prepared for.

That’s something he credits to the people around him; those who helped him every step of the way.

Ask Bill Stevens who he is thankful for and you’ll get a long list. It’s anything but elementary.

In that response you’ll understand all you really need to know about one of Wakefield High’s most successful students and decorated athletes.

“I absolutely want to thank my parents and my siblings for all the times that they pushed me to try harder in school and on the track. They’re just the best. I think it goes without saying that I couldn’t have done it without them and I’m grateful for all the support that they have given me, no matter what.

“Additionally, I want to thank all the teachers that I’ve ever had. From the start, my teachers have challenged me and made it easy to stay motivated in the classroom. I owe so much to them and what they have taught me.

“I want to thank the track team and coach Pappas for changing a really tough sport into such a positive environment for growth and fun; I don’t think I’ll ever forget the memories that we have made as a team.

“Finally, I want to thank all my friends. All of them have stuck by my side for as long as we’ve been friends. They know me so well and always have my back no matter what. I’m so fortunate to have had people like them to help me through everything.”