James 'Whitey' Bulger, a Boston gangster convicted of murder, wrote to three high school girls that his "life was wasted and spent foolishly."  

Mollykate Rodenbush, Brittany Tainsh and Michaela Arguin wrote to Bulger as part of a National History Day competition on leadership. The three juniors from Apponequet Regional High School in Lakeville, Massachusetts, chose Bulger as an unconventional leader that would separate them from their competition, according to the Boston Globe.  

"My life was wasted and spent foolishly, brought shame + suffering on my parents and siblings and will end soon," Bulger wrote in a handwritten letter from a federal penitentiary in Florida.  

"Advice is a cheap commodity some seek it from me about crime - I know only one thing for sure - If you want to make crime pay - 'Go to Law School.'"

Bulger, 85, ran a successful criminal enterprise of drug trafficking and extortion. After 16 years on the run, he was captured in 2011 and convicted of participating in 11 murders. He is currently serving two consecutive life prison terms, according to the Boston Globe. Bulger's life is the topic of Black Mass, a movie coming to theaters this fall, starring Johnny Depp as Whitey.  

"It wasn't what we were expecting at all," Tainsh told the Boston Globe about Bulger's letter.   

"I think the most interesting aspect of the letter is that he was almost regretful and nostalgic, but not in a positive way," Rodenbush said.  

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In the letter, Bulger also suggested the girls do their project on wounded American serviceman, according to the Boston Globe.  

"Don't waste your time on such as I - we are society's lower, best forgotten, not looked to for advice on 'Leadership,'" Bulger wrote.  

The girls' project on Bulger took first place in the district competition, but not at the state level.  They did win an award for best use of primary sources and for best project on Massachusetts history.