Senior Spotlight Interview- Senior Class President Michael Hein


Photo Courtesy: Mr. & Mrs.Hein Michael Hein Senior Portriat

Stephanie Yu, Editor-in-Chief

“I would love to go to Princton like my brother,” Michael Hein stated, “Not just to follow my brother’s footsteps, but more importantly, it’s closer to home and, me being the family person I am, I like knowing I’m only an hour car ride away from home.”

A Glimpse Of Michael Hein

The Hein’s household holds the constant joy of their Dad singing to 80’s music playing through the kitchen speakers, and three studious brothers who enjoy a heated game of Fortnite. From visits to their grandparents house, to family game nights, Mr. and Mrs. Hein have raised Michael to be a family orientated individual. His benevolence and passion radiates in the classroom, on the field, and wherever post graduation may take him; Princeton University being one possibility.  

Michael Hein, the Senior Class President at John F. Kennedy Memorial High School, is out of the ordinary to say the least. He is a huge fan of Mike-N-Ikes and the show How I Met Your Mother. Looking back at his 14- year old freshmen days, he admits “his younger self tried too hard to do everything perfectly” and “always worried about making the littlest mistakes.” Whether it’s his perfectionism, dedication, hard work, or all of the above, Michael is an active member of our school community through his excelling involvement in the three A’s: Academics, Athletics, and Arts. 

Leadership Of The Scholar Athlete

It’s impressive to see someone maintain a perfect GPA with such vigorous course schedules filled with AP classes. On top of that, Hein is a four year varsity athlete and the captain of both the baseball and football team. 

Sports definitely gave me a taste of failure and it impacted me in the way that it kind of strengthened my will to persevere,” Hein stated.

 Under the unfortunate Covid circumstances, he described being a captain of the football team to be hard, “especially in the season where we didn’t have a lot of time in the preseason… figuring out how to put the team together with new coaches, new players, people changing positions” and “ trying to motivate others to continue working when practices couldn’t be held.” Regardless, one of his favorite memories was the team’s victory in defeating cross town rivals Colonia , which he played a huge role in.  Hopefully, Michael can visit some Friday Night Lights, or as he likes to call it, his “sanctuary”, in the future and see the progress of the foundation he and his team built this year. 

Activities and Clubs

Besides sports, something that isn’t often known about Michael, yet is part of his favorite memory at JFK: playing the baritone his freshman year. 

“I remember that the last time I played my instrument was at my brother’s graduation, I feel like it was a really good way to finish [my musical career],” Hein stated. 

He is also a part of the American Cancer Society, Junior State of America, Academic Challenge Team, National Honor Society and the Sound Crew for the annual school play. 

You know a lot of people think that if you’re not good at singing, then that’s [the stage] not your place to be, but there’s plenty of jobs you can do backstage or join the sound crew,” Hein stated. “It’s just cool because it’s like a little community. At the end of play season, we usually have this party at someone’s house with all the cast. Probably one of my favorite memories of 2020 was singing karaoke with my friend [at that party].” 

Covid Challenges

Michael expresses his sadness for not having a school play this year due to the pandemic. He further shares other challenges of Covid as “disheartening a bit when I can’t have these physical interactions all the time” with his friends and family.

“Mentally, it’s difficult for me to know my friends are hanging out, or I could have opportunities to go have fun, but i’m kinda nervous about going out because I think about my grandparents a lot, and I wouldn’t wanna give them anything,” Hein stated. Instead of dwelling on the negatives, this pandemic gave him the opportunity to be a leader in the student formed Global Stand Against Covid non-profit organization, where he and other members donated over 8,000 dollars to aid fundraisers that keep families safe under these difficult times. They have also held live streams with professional medical, technology, and business speakers on topics relating to how the virus affected students, and ways to cope with it. His selflessness and care for the people around him is something very admirable. 

Underneath The Perfection

  Despite the ‘perfect main character’ reputation people perceive him as, there are many thoughts and emotions left unseen under the surface. 

With the track record I have, and the grades I usually get, and how I do on the field, I feel a lot of pressure sometimes,” Hein stated. Living in the shoes of a scholar athlete is definitely not easy. For the past 3 years, handling practices everyday during the fall and spring season, staying after school to contribute time to the play, and then coming home to hours of AP homework, “the work really starts to pile up sometimes.” However, Michael has never allowed these obstacles to hinder his performance, and instead, developed a proactive plan to guide him through balancing his busy life. 

  “The best advice I can give is trying to get work done ahead of time, or start it early, and just taking it all one step at a time,” Hein stated.

Although he doesn’t finish his big assignments early,  he likes working on it “here and there” so he’s not “putting [himself] in this gigantic hole.” Another part of his work habit includes planning out certain time frames on nights where he might have more than one test the next day. 

“I plan on studying for this long on one subject, and no matter how far I am, I gotta move onto the next. Because sometimes I can study for hours, but I think creating that plan of when you wanna work on certain things, I think it helps you budget your time a little instead of jumping into everything at once,” Hein explained. 

Moreover, Michael has a great support system with not only the people livingin his house, but he also maintains a sentimental connection with his grandparents. Specifically, he finds meaningful motivation in his grandpa’s words: 

 “When I feel this pressure, I always think back to something my grandpa says,” Hein started, “so at every sports game that he can make it to, I’ll find him in the stands before the game, and he waves to me to get my attention and says , ‘Pork Chop, just do your best.’ My name is Pork Chop to him, and when I think about it like that, things don’t seem so scary.” 

Special Thank You’s

Throughout his high school journey, there has been more than just his personal achievements to remember, but also the unforgettable moments with teachers, coaches, and peers that surround him. 

“I remember in the weight room one day, this is like junior year, Coach C [Christathakis] at me and said ‘That squat doesn’t count cause you didn’t go all the way down,’ Hein stated, “It seemed stupid but basically he wasn saying that I wasn’t pushing myself. It was the hard truth. It was something that I kinda knew but didn’t want to address because when you’re in the weight room, you fall into the habit of doing what you’re comfortable with and I think that was me. So I needed a little motivation to not be afraid of failing.” 

Now Coach Christathakis will be the voice on his shoulder whenever he’s doing squats in the future. Another coach that really impacted his football career is Coach Creighton. During the summer of his Junior season, Coach Creighton would volunteer to arrive an hour early to practice with him, and Michael wants to thank Coach Creighton for helping him learn and improve his quarterback abilities. Michael would also like to thank the entire football coaching staff at JFK for teaching him the value of taking leadership and authority in order to get the job done. 

In the classroom, there have been specific teachers that really made learning something to look forward to for him. He would like to thank Mrs. Jones, his APUSH 1 and AP Government and Politics teacher for “showing so much support through my four years of high school, even when I didn’t have her as a teacher.” 

“She’s always been invested in my success,” Hein stated, “Any student who had her can see that she just has such a passion for teaching and it just makes classes so much more enjoyable.” It’s super special to see a student-teacher bond that extends beyond just the academic itself. Michael would also like to thank his APUSH 2 teacher, Mr.Kaul for changing a subject he initially thought was super boring into something very interesting. 

“ Mr.Kaul was all about teaching outside of the textbook,” Hein stated, “We would have long discussions about stuff that’s important, but not always talked about, and I think students need more of that.” 

Advice To The Underclassmen

As his chapter at Kennedy quickly comes to an end, he would like to share an important piece of advice to the underclassmen that he wished he knew earlier: Ask More Questions! 

“I think asking questions is the best way to get your own understanding of something, rather than getting presented information,” Hein explained, “most of the teachers at JFK are willing to answer questions; they want you to ask questions. A lot of time teachers are waiting for you to raise your hand and nobody raises their hand, but seriously asking questions is one of the best ways to engage the material. Don’t be afraid. The teachers aren’t as scary as you think!”

The Road Ahead

After graduating, Michael is planning on majoring in mathematical theories, although that may change because he carries various interests. He applied to many reach schools including Harvard University, Brown University, Yale University, and Cornell University and would love to get accepted into any of them. In the future, he would like to live in Central Jersey, “preferably within an hour from my family”. 

“I would like to live kind-of-around where I grew up, right now I live within driving distance from all my grandparents and cousins which I love,” Hein stated. 

As he turns the page to a fresh new sheet, hopefully somewhere close to home, it’s clear that Michael Hein has a bright future ahead of him!