IRON STATION––You might say that he has done a Reilly good job.
He is Patrick Reilly of Iron Station. And according to East Lincoln High Principal Marybeth Avery, Reilly is the salutatorian for the school’s class of 2020 and a summa cum laude graduate.
Reilly told The Herald more about himself Wednesday. The 17-year-old son of Dan and Jenny Reilly, he has two younger sisters: Christa and Renée.
Patrick Reilly also talked about his time as a Mustang and his favorite classes and teachers at ELHS. He emphasized that over the years, he has benefitted from many wonderful teachers at St. James Elementary, East Lincoln Middle and East Lincoln High schools.
“Mr. (Cale) Thornburg was my swim coach and history teacher extraordinaire,” he said of his East Lincoln High teachers. “He was extremely helpful with my college and scholarship applications, but he was also just an easy person to talk to about school and life. Mr. and Mrs. Dragoon (Jason and Sarah), my amazing math teachers, were very encouraging and pushed me as much as possible, even when I pushed back. Mr. (Robert) Chapp was a great biology and chemistry teacher, while also sharing life experiences that gave me a better perspective about life.”
Reilly played baseball for the East Lincoln Optimist Club for many years. But he decided to try new things in high school.
“I joined the swim team and participated for three years,” he said, adding that he earned the Most Improved Swimmer award during his sophomore year and was selected as the men’s captain in his junior and senior years.
He joined the men’s tennis team during his senior year only to have the season cut short by State-mandated virus-related restrictions that sent countless public school students home.
His mother also spoke of this.
“It meant a lot when, during this quarantine, the community rallied to adopt Lincoln County seniors through a Facebook page,” Mrs. Reilly informed. “His first grade teacher, Mrs. Jennifer Carroll, who had not seen him since first grade, adopted him and brought him a bin full of encouragement and goodies. This was a great gift from the community for so many seniors.”
Patrick Reilly’s honors include membership in the National Honor Society and the Beta Club. He earned Mu Alpha Theta math honors and Rho Kappa history honors. He was a junior marshal, and he earned the Junior Year Math Award.
In addition to his pursuit of academic excellence, Reilly enjoys being outdoors. He likes disc golf, tennis, hiking and spending time on Lake Norman.
“One of the most meaningful things I did during high school was attending Wilderness Trail, a four-day backpacking trip that focuses on faith while hiking the Appalachian Trail,” he said. “I attended this with my church youth group for three years, each year hiking about 30 miles in those four days. This was a life-changing experience for me.”
A member of Salem United Methodist Church, Reilly is also a member of its youth council, and he served on the audio-visual team for worship services. Mission work includes local service for shut-ins, as well as participating in team missions to Guatemala, Florida, Ohio, West Virginia and Tennessee.
Come August, Reilly will be off to North Carolina State University in Raleigh. There, he plans to study computer engineering.
“Go, Pack!” he enthused.
In his salutatorian speech, Reilly shared the words of author Neil Gaiman:
“‘Now go, and make interesting mistakes. Make amazing mistakes. Make glorious and fantastic mistakes.’”