Whittredge overcame adversity and became a school leader
Neil Whittredge’s message to his fellow graduates at Lynn English High School is: Accept change, create diversity, and push to succeed when adversity faces you.”
Whittredge overcame some major obstacles in his life on his way to becoming a highly respected student leader and multi-sport athlete at Lynn English. He served as president of his class in his sophomore, junior, and senior years, meaning his classmates twice rewarded him with re-election. On the football field, the 5-foot-6-inch, 150-pound Whittredge became a team captain and an All-Star player. He was also a captain of the lacrosse team.
Neil spent time in Peabody and Haverhill before entering the Lynn school system as a 13-year-old seventh grader at Pickering Middle School.
“I had tough circumstances growing up,” said Whittredge, who lives in Lynn with his grandmother, and his 11-year-old twin brother and sister, Hunter and Eden. “I’m very thankful to have a grandmother [Doranne Whittredge] who’s been so wonderful to me. She saved my life. I’m in debt to her. I owe her everything and she means everything to me. She’s my hero.”
Whittredge led a busy life in his four years at English, trying to stay abreast of his academics, athletics, and his role in student government. Among his many extracurricular activities, he worked as an office aide for Thomas Strangie, principal of Lynn English High School.
Strangie said he was impressed by Whittredge’s leadership skills and maturity.
“Neil is a young man with great integrity and he exemplifies hard work,” said Strangie. “He is bright, personable, and has a lot of character and a lot of strength. I’m very proud of Neil and all that he accomplished. It’s a sad day for me to see him leave our high school community but he has a bright future ahead.”
Whittredge said Strangie was a positive influence in his life and did an excellent job as the new principal.
“I want to give a special thank you to Mr. Strangie, who helped guide me through all my enduring efforts,” said Strangie.
The English graduate also credits retiring Lynn English department head Jane Baletsa for being an inspiration to him.
“Mrs. Baletsa taught me life lessons and was just a superb teacher in the subject of English,” said Whittredge. “She cares deeply about her students. She pushes you but she doesn’t cut you any slack. She’s a very good person.”
He also cites Anthony Valdez for his support and guidance.
“Anthony Valdez has been a great mentor and became a beloved family member of mine more than anything,” said Whittredge.
Whittredge believes his participation in athletics helped shape his life in a positive way.
“In football, coach [Peter] Holey taught me a lot of things – about respect and discipline and he’s done a lot for me as well. Everything about Lynn English has been a great experience the past four years. My life has been put in the right direction and I’m very thankful and happy that I came here.”
Whittredge will start his college studies at Suffolk University’s Madrid (Spain) campus in the fall. The university does not have a football team so Whittredge’s final appearance on the gridiron will be in the Harry Agganis Classic in July.