North student earns National Merit commendation

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Andrew Nobrega has been named a Commended Student by the 2022 National Merit Scholarship Program. In addition to his schoolwork, he's also a track varsity captain. Staff Photo/Max Bowen

By Max Bowen-max.bowen@northstarreporter.com

Between sports and academics, Andrew Nobrega has a lot of experience in balancing life’ obligations.

The North Attleborough High senior said the dedication began in elementary school. He did well as a student, and his parents told said he had a lot of potential. Since then, Nobrega enjoys the challenges and learned that he didn’t want to just coast through life.

Recently, Nobrega was named a Commended Student through the National Merit Scholarship Program, one of 34,000 across the country. Commended students don’t continue in the 2022 competition for National Merit Scholarship awards, but are placed among the top 50,000 who enter it by completing the PSAT/NMSP qualifying test. This test is offered to students in their sophomore year of high school.

NAHS Principal Peter Haviland said students like Nobrega excel at a high level, adding that to achieve this right after school opened in the fall is especially significant.

After being shut down completely, closed out of school for three months to come in and excel at a national test and achieve this, is something amazing,” said Haviland.

Guidance Counselor Gavan Judd said the commendation is a feather in a student’s cap, and something to add to a college application. He added that Massachusetts’ scores in this competition are among the highest in the country.

Nobrega said that between school and being on the winter and summer track teams, he only has around an hour to himself each day. He usually has practice after school for a couple hours, then it’s home to take care of his schoolwork and studying, which averages three hours a day. One method that helps is taking small breaks to chat with friends or get in some time on his PS4 in order to take his mind off the work.

I always find a way to make sure everything gets done,” he said. “If I have to sacrifice a little sleep for that, it’s just only an hour of sleep but it’s a lot in terms of schoolwork.”

Sports has been a part of Nobrega’s world since he started high school. He has been doing winter track since freshman year and took up spring track last year. Prior to that, he also played lacrosse and football. When asked what drew him to track, Nobrega said it was a great way to stay in shape and held less risk of injury, something he dealt with while on the football team.

I just found out that I was pretty good at hurdles,” said Nobrega with a laugh. “So I really wanted to continue that and not let that go to waste.”

Nobrega is a varsity captain for both track teams and said his brother was what inspired him to try the sport. He had looked into basketball and wrestling but found neither fit with what he wanted. He credited his coaches for pushing him to new levels.

It’s all in your head, it’s a lot about just pushing through stuff, and kind of doing your best, no matter what’s going on, which is really good, both in life and for health,” he said.

After high school, Nobrega is considering Worcester Polytechnic Institute and hopes to get into an engineering or STEM program, although he’s looking at other colleges as well. He may continue with a track team, though the focus will be on academics.

I really just want to give credit to my parents,” he said. “Because without them I wouldn’t really have either self-confidence or the motivation to do that.”