Graduating Grade 12 student Henry Wojnicki is headed south next year to continue his academic and basketball journey at Harvey Mudd College in California.
“I chose to attend Harvey Mudd for a number of reasons, most importantly its top-ranked computer science programme,” says Wojnicki. “The school appeals to me because it offers a great curriculum, with excellent professors, and an emphasis on experiential learning.”
Wojnicki transferred to St. Michael’s College School (SMCS) in Grade 11 to further his academic and athletic pursuits.
“Henry is one of the brightest students who I have had the pleasure of teaching and mentoring,” says Robert Hofstatter, computer science and engineering robotics teacher. “He is a very reflective, curious, creative, and hardworking student who excels academically.”
“He is an inquisitive individual who has very strong critical thinking and problem-solving skills which have been evident not only in course work, but also in the Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment Grade 12 Computer Science Practicum, where he and 10 colleagues worked on crafting an application for use at hockey games,” says Hofstatter. “Henry offers tremendous value and has huge potential; I can only imagine the contributions that Henry will be able to make once he graduates.”
Since joining the SMCS community, he has boasted an academic average near the top of the school’s Honour Roll.
“I made the decision to come to St. Mike’s because of the strong basketball programme and the excellent computer science and robotics courses,” says Wojnicki. “Since then, I’ve realized that St. Mike’s also has an incredibly strong and supportive culture that celebrates its students.”
“Harvey Mudd offers a core curriculum that mandates students take classes in STEM (Science Technology Engineering Mathematics) subjects of calculus, chemistry, physics, biology, and computer science while also requiring students to take classes in the humanities and social sciences,” explains Wojnicki. “I plan to major in computer science with my ultimate goal of being a software engineer for SpaceX.”
On the court, Wojnicki has been playing basketball since the age of eight. His passion for the game was born on his neighbour’s backyard court. The 6-8 power forward and centre currently plays competitively for the Toronto Triple Threat in addition to his prominent role with the SMCS Blue Raiders.
“St. Mike’s basketball taught me how to play a very disciplined style,” says Wojnicki. “The basketball team was also a brotherhood, more so than any other team I’ve played for before.”
“Henry has been an astute student of the game while maintaining one of the highest academic averages in the school,” says Kirt Charter ’82, SMCS faculty and varsity basketball coach. “Harvey Mudd is fortunate to have recruited a student-athlete of Henry's calibre, but more importantly, character.”
The recruitment path for Wojnicki is a testament to his character and drive. Given the restrictions on travel due to the COVID-19 pandemic, he took it upon himself to devise a plan to promote himself to potential schools.
“Henry devised an NBA-style combine after researching the drills that NBA prospects run through before draft day,” says Henry’s mother, Dr. Andrea Wojnicki. “He trained for a few months then set up a formal evaluation with an independent trainer and posted the results on YouTube.” See the results here.
“It provided a way to demonstrate his skills to the U.S. coaches, and it gave him a story to write about in his application essays!” she says.
As Wojnicki works through his final term at SMCS and looks forward to graduation, he credits the school for preparing him for his next challenge in the classroom and on the court.
“SMCS has prepared me to be a better student through the amazing teachers that are personally invested in the growth of each of their students in and out of the classroom,” he adds. “As a basketball player, the support of my teammates and coaches helped me become a more aggressive and confident player.”