Richard Fisher City Tech 2012 Valedictorian
by Lisa A. Faser
May 01, 2012 | 14104 views | 0 0 comments | 74 74 recommendations | email to a friend | print
One might think that Richard Fisher chose a circuitous path to a college degree and academic achievement. But it ended up working out just fine that way for him, as he has been named New York City College of Technology’s 2012 Valedictorian.

Graduating with a 3.968 grade point average, Fisher, an Iraq War veteran with a Purple Heart, did not excel academically in high school. In fact, his average was in the high seventies.

“I had to go to summer school once in middle school and once in high school, both for math,” he said. “I just wasn’t applying myself.”

Fisher, who grew up in Colonie, a suburb of Albany, and now resides in Astoria, is the youngest of five children and the only one to join the military.

“I saw my parents spending their money to send my brothers and sisters to college, and I wanted to do it differently,” he said.

Knowing he didn’t want to go straight to college, he chose to enlist in the Navy in April of his senior year of high school.

Once Fisher was activated, he was assigned to the Seabees as a carpenter with Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 133. He was deployed to Iraq in 2005 and had been in the country only four months before he was wounded by a mortar shell explosion on February 20, 2006.

“The hardest thing about being hurt was the phone call home to tell my parents,” he said. His father had served in the Army and supported his son’s decision to join the military. His mother, on the other hand, was hesitant.

At the age of 19, he was awarded the Purple Heart. And Fisher, now 25 and in the Naval Reserves, is planning on becoming a teacher. Currently he is also a student teacher at Brooklyn Technical High School.

He started at the lowest rank in the military and worked his way up to first-class petty officer. “Before I knew it, I was a mentor to other sailors,” he said. “I came to see that no matter what your field is, there will always be someone to learn from and someone to teach.”

He is now graduating with a BS degree in technology teacher education.

“I think becoming a teacher was always in the back of my mind,” he said. “When I applied to CUNY, I applied to Queens College for social studies education because I love history, and City Tech for technology education. The deciding factor was that I heard back from City Tech first.”

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