2013-06-13 / Front Page

Jamestown resident finishes top of class at NKHS

Nathan Lambert heads to Cornell University in fall
By Margo Sullivan

Islander Nathan Lambert was named valedictorian of the North Kingstown High class of 2013. The 18-year-old didn’t only excel academically, he was a member of the varsity soccer team. 
Photo by margo sullivan Islander Nathan Lambert was named valedictorian of the North Kingstown High class of 2013. The 18-year-old didn’t only excel academically, he was a member of the varsity soccer team. Photo by margo sullivan A Jamestowner graduated first in his class this year at North Kingstown High.

Nathan Lambert, 18, delivered his valedictory address at graduation last week. He didn’t let the weather dampen spirits.

“It was pouring rain,” he said.

But Nathan made the best of the situation. Along with his buddies, the graduates ran through giant puddles and had some fun snapping pictures of classmates.

The ceremony took place at the Kingston campus of the University of Rhode Island. The commencement was held indoors at the Ryan Center, so the weather did not cause problems with the loudspeakers and electrical systems, he said.

In his speech, he talked about all the good things that happened over the last four years.

“I pretty much tried to make everyone appreciate the years at N.K.,” the valedictorian said. “All the cool things we’ve done.”

Keeping with school tradition, Lambert said the class of 2013 made its mark sophomore year by winning the tug-of-war and defeating teams of upperclassmen.

Sports victories unified the entire school, he said. This year, everyone rooted for the Skippers’ basketball team, which went to the state championship game but fell in the final seconds to Classical. And for the first time since 2008, the football team won the Thanksgiving Turkey Bowl, upsetting its rivals, South Kingstown Rebels.

Along with sports, he talked about the “artistic stuff,” because North Kingstown offers distinguished arts programs, he said.

Finally, he worked the tradi- tional “We Are N.K.” cheer into the talk.

Lambert will continue his studies in the fall at Cornell University in Ithaca, N.Y. He said he chose the Ivy League school because it has a superior engineering program. Nathan plans to major in mechanical or electrical engineering, but is keeping an open mind.

Summer jobs at the Navy base in Newport introduced him to the field of optics, he said. He enjoyed the work. However, he said, “I may find something I like more.”

Nathan also said he might like working in space exploration.

He’s under no pressure to declare a major because everyone at Cornell takes classes in the core curriculum for the first two years. That means physics, calculus, chemistry and writing. Lambert said he’ll be aiming for As and Bs.

“I’ve always done fairly well,” he said. “I just want to be good enough to graduate in four years.”

Another of his goals is to compete on a collegiate sports team each year he’s there.

Nathan said he is going out for the Big Red’s lightweight rowing team. He would be a walk-on.

“That’s a sport that has a much higher percentage of walk-ons,” he said. After conversations with the coach, he believes he has a good shot.

Nathan figures the effort he makes in school and on the crew team will pay off and help him enjoy his college years. “I’ll meet so many people that I’ll know for a lifetime,” he said. “I’ll have connections.”

Plus, according to Lambert, the Cornell campus is set in a beautiful location and he doesn’t mind snow in the winter.

Nathan played soccer for the Skippers and may also look for a club or intramural team at Cornell, time permitting. He played two years on the junior varsity team and two years with varsity. However, he says his best sports experiences came with a URI club team.

Nathan has played soccer year round since eighth grade. He played four years with the Rams, including a game recently at Gillette Stadium – the New England Revolution’s home field – as part of a tournament.

Nathan is the son of Robert and Jean Lambert. An older brother, Victor, is a senior at Northeastern. The family moved to town when Nathan was 2 years old, he said. He attended the Melrose and Lawn schools, and will go back to Lawn Avenue later this month. He has been asked to speak at the middle school graduation.

He said he’ll probably tell the youngsters that high school is “a big change” and the transition can be hard at the beginning. At Lawn Avenue School, the students have known all their classmates – but the islanders are a small percentage of the student body at North Kingstown.

Lambert said it can take time to fit in. Joining clubs was the way he met people and made friends. North Kingstown has great clubs, he said, and they are the school’s top assets. According to Nathan, students can find a club to pursue almost any interest.

He chalks up his academic success to a habit of doing all his homework on time and not procrastinating.

“I would go home after practice and just do it,” he said. “I am one to get ahead on things.”

He always finished the assignments no matter how much time he needed to spend. Typically, though, he said he didn’t spend a lot of time studying. He said he seldom put in a night when he worked “four hours or some ridiculous amount of time.”

He also had some tricks to manage time. In his math and science classes, for example, he worked on the homework problems while the teacher was talking.

“I’d listen if I got stuck on it,” he said.

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