First impressions are nice, but lasting impressions are even better.
They’ll be particularly good when Jason Denoncourt graduates from Andover High School in a matter of days.
A three-sport athlete in cross country, skiing and baseball, and a tremendous scholar in the classroom, Denoncourt has made a big impression on coaches and teachers alike.
Want some examples?
“He really was such an asset to the (cross country) team. ... He always worked hard and was consistently one of our top scorers. He led by example and will be missed,” said Andover cross country coach Sue Kiley.
“Jason is a great team leader and a positive influence on this year’s team,” said baseball coach Dan Grams.
Said ski coach Tom Busta: “Jason is just a great young man who will do anything for the team. I can’t say enough good things about him. If you look up student-athlete in the dictionary there should be a picture of him. No doubt he will be a success in life.”
Balancing his academic and athletic pursuits has never been a serious problem for Denoncourt, but it could be challenging during the winter.
“It could be tough during ski season,” he admits. “We’d be skiing from 5 to 7, I’d get back, have dinner and shower and by the time I got going on homework it’s be almost 9:30. ... And then on the weekends, I’d be up north skiing all weekend.”
It may have been a challenge, but Denoncourt certainly has the numbers to justify all the plaudits. His GPA in four years is a perfect 4.0 and his weighted GPA is 4.5975. He took three AP classes last year and took four this year, and he was just two points shy of a perfect ACT score.
And this is while being heavily engaged in three sports, his most successful by far being skiing. He is a three-time Merrimack Valley Conference Skier of the Year and was the state champion in both the slalom and giant slalom as a junior — an accomplishment coaches called almost unheard of.
This year, Denoncourt placed fifth overall in the first North Shore League race of the season, but turned things around quickly and surged all the way to first place in the season-long North Shore Ski League standngs.
Then he really stepped up.
First, he won the league Interscholastic race handily before finishing second in the slalom at the state meet. He might have finished first overall at state for the second straight year, but an issue with his skis proved costly in the giant slalom.
Finally, for the second straight year, Denoncourt finished third overall at the Eastern High School championships, a competition that includes skiers from Michigan and Wisconsin.
He is currently the part-time starting catcher and designated hitter for the baseball team.
Denoncourt looks back with plenty of fond memories on his four years at Andover, but two stand out.
“Sports-wise, it was winning the (state) slalom and giant slalom as a junior and, academically, it was winning the Cornell Book Award last year,” he said.
And his teachers are just as high on the all-around Denoncourt.
“I had Jason in AP Biology last year and he is a rock star as far as a student and person goes,” said biology teacher Joann Caveney. “He received a 5 on the AP exam which is impressive ... (and) he went out of his way to help students with lab and classroom assignments. He’s humble, hard-working and honestly just an awesome person.”
Said math teacher Megan Mulbert: “I have Jason in AP Calculus this year. He is an extremely conscientious student, prepares diligently and works well with his peers. He’s just a really nice, respectful kid who always strives to do his best.”
Reports physics teacher Daniel Donovan: “Jason is a top performer in AP Physics 1 this year. He is in the top 10 percent of the 78 talented students taking AP Physics this year. ... He often assumes the role of leader in labs and small group work, helping others access demanding content.”
If Denoncourt ever had a problem balancing his athletic and academic pursuits, he had a handy role model in older sister Cailey, who is a freshman at Northeastern. She was also an excellent skier and student.
“We both have similar academics and do a lot,” said Denoncourt, who can’t remember ever getting a grade lower than an A. “She’s really smart and I looked up to her.”
Denoncourt will be able to continue looking up to his sister because last week he committed to Northeastern. He plans on studying biology or bio-engineering with a tentative goal of either becoming a doctor or combining science with business.