2014: JOE PERCIVAL, St. Anthony’s
Joe Percival has experienced unfathomable turmoil, but he’s seemed to have found his true calling.
In November 2013, after captaining the defense for St. Anthony’s state championship football team, his mother Valerie was scheduled for brain surgery for the removal of two benign tumors. But she had a severe allergic reaction to an antibiotic she was given designed to prevent meningitis, and was in a coma for six months.
Percival found a way to push forward and struck the balance of being a two-sport athlete (football and track), diligent student and an exceptional citizen all the while caring for his mother.
The Melville native was the inaugural recipient of the Marcus A. Henry Award.
“It meant so much to me. It was such a turbulent time in my life and there was so much uncertainty,” Percival said. “I was forced to keep trekking.”
Percival played football at Princeton and graduated from in 2019 with a bachelor’s degree in psychology. He continued his studies last fall, enrolling in a two-year post-baccalaureate program at Hofstra. The 24-year-old is on pace to graduate in May 2021 and plans on attending medical school. He will be applying to Hofstra, NYU, Columbia, Cornell, Harvard and Yale.
“I would come back home every single week to take care of her, during my time at Princeton. It was really five years of me going back and forth, taking her to doctors and seeing how they cared for her,” Percival said. “It motivated me to be one of those people that can help someone else’s mom one day.”
— PETER KERSICH
2015: THOMAS CUTINELLA, Shoreham-Wading River
Thomas Cutinella was known to his teammates as a selfless, hard-working leader. He put himself before others and always thought of those around him first.
Those were some of the qualities that the Shoreham-Wading River football and lacrosse player embodied that helped him win the 2015 Marcus A. Henry Award.
Cutinella, who died Oct. 1, 2014 after an injury he suffered playing football, never got an opportunity to attend the U.S. Military Academy and ultimately serve his country like he had dreamed.
But his legacy lives on.
“He was just such a personable, outgoing and upbeat person,” Shoreham-Wading River athletic director Mark Passamonte said. “I was relatively new to the job but I had felt like I knew him my whole life.”
The football field at SWR was renamed in his honor and there is a life-sized bust of Cutinella that was created as part of an Eagle Scout project.
His family has set up the Thomas Cutinella Memorial Foundation, which raises money for scholarships. The Suffolk football coaches association has awarded the Thomas Cutinella Memorial Leadership award every year since 2014 and Section XI implemented the ‘Tommy Tough’ standards for football in hopes of “changes that will protect the integrity of the game, minimize risk and allow for positive growth.”
— GENE MORRIS
2016: LIVINGSTONE HARRIOTT JR., Central Islip
Livingstone Harriott Jr. has always been something of a Renaissance man.
An academic and athletic standout at Central Islip, he won this award two years before his sister did. Now, Harriott’s resume is as jam-packed as ever, and he’s graduating from Brown University with a degree in economics.
Harriott played four years of football at Brown, and this season caught 27 passes for 464 yards and three touchdowns. Through football, Harriott gave back to the community as his team frequently spent time working with students at the nearby Vartan Gregorian elementary school.
During his freshman and sophomore years, Harriott was part of Athletes in Action, a Christian fellowship group for athletes at Brown. He also participated in student government, serving as the Chair of Academic Affairs this year, which he said allowed him to be “a voice for students.”
Harriott said he hopes to apply to law school. He has had a handful of internships in the field, including working with the United States Attorney’s office out of the Eastern District last summer.
—- LAURA AMATO
2017: KELSI KING, Baldwin
Kelsi King continues to let her love of science influence those around her. She has completed her junior year at Duke where she is studying neuroscience,
“I’ve gotten involved in research and the application of neuroscience outside the medical setting, like how can neuroscience be applied to business,” King said. “And how I can use research to better understand how we make decisions and how that can affect finance and things like that.”
Some of King’s work focused on cognition and aging and how that affects motivation and an individual’s decision-making skills and people’s everyday choices.
King, who was a captain in field hockey and lacrosse at Baldwin, plays on the Duke club lacrosse team. She also joined a club at Duke that encourages and works with women interested in science.
She is undecided about possible medical school or graduate school.
“I’d like to keep pursuing something that allows me to stay involved in research,” King said. “But I’m really open to wherever that leads me.”
— OWEN O’BRIEN
2018: ALEXANDREA HARRIOTT, Central Islip
It’s all adding up for Alexandrea Harriott.
Central Islip’s valedictorian in 2018, Harriott has studied applied mathematics at Harvard University, with a focus on economics as well as global health and health policy.
Harriott also has worked with the Phillips Brooks House Association, a student-run organization. With the group, Harriott participated in Y2Y Harvard Square, which provides a safe environment for young adults experiencing homelessness. She’s helped with first-weekend cleanups, getting elementary and middle schools in the Boston-area ready for the school year, as well as a mentoring program.
Harriott has served as the treasurer of the Harvard Caribbean Club and, next year, will be the club’s vice president. She’s also a member of the Kuumba Singers of Harvard College, which she called “one of the greatest things I do on campus.”
And this year, Harriott joined the crew team.
“I was like, ‘I really want to get back in shape, I want to join a team again,’ ” Harriott said. “It’s such great energy when you’re on a team.”
— LAURA AMATO
2019: KENNETH WEI, Mount Sinai
Kenneth Wei, a multi-event track and field state high school champion, is studying bioengineering at MIT.
“There’s a saying at MIT that getting an education at MIT is like trying to get a drink of water out of a fire hose,” Wei said. “That’s definitely true here. Everything just comes at you at once.”
Wei was a six-time track and field state champion and a three-time All American in his senior indoor and outdoor seasons. During his time at Mount Sinai, he was senior class president, was named an All-County flautist, and interned in the biology department at Brookhaven National Laboratories in Upton.
Wei runs track at MIT, and this year was named All-New England in hurdles. He also qualified for the NCAA Division III National Championships in the 60-meter hurdles, long jump and triple jump before the meet was cancelled due to the COVID-19 outbreak.
“It’s been a lot of fun,” Wei said. “I’ve made a lot of friends and met a lot of people.”
— JORDAN LAUTERBACH