Mahoney has his eye on outer space

The Enterprise — Michael Koff

Brendan Mahoney, the salutatorian of Clayton A. Bouton High School, will be attending the Rochester Institute of Technology.

NEW SCOTLAND — Brendan Mahoney wants to be a rocket scientist when he grows up.

The salutatorian of Clayton A. Bouton High School will be attending the Rochester Institute of Technology and studying aerospace engineering.

He said he liked RIT’s campus best, and felt Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and the State University of New York Polytechnic Institute were too close to home. 

“I really like the programs RIT offers,” he said, and “they have a really good music program for an engineering school.” Mahoney was very involved in the fine arts in his time at Voorheesville, he said. 

In his time at Clayton A. Bouton, Mahoney said he was a member of the National Honor Society; played in band and jazz band; was a member of the science olympiad team; ran indoor and outdoor cross-country; was a member of the Dungeons and Dragons club; practiced the martial arts of Taekwondo and Hapkido; and was a Boy Scout.

Asked why he wants to be a rocket scientist, Mahoney said, “I’ve always been fascinated with space, and the idea of going to space because it’s such a tough thing.” He pointed to the burgeoning commercial space travel business and how those companies are working on getting to Mars, “expanding our reach in space.”

“So I feel like the future looks bright for space travel,” Mahoney said. “And I think that’s the field I really want to get involved in.”

Asked if he’d prefer to work for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration in the public sector or if he’d like to take his talent to the private sector and work for Elon Musk or Jeff Bezos, Mahoney said he’d take “whatever opportunity” was offered.

But, if he had his druthers, he’d work for Musk or Bezos in the private sector, he said, because he sees their companies as having “more potential.”

As for going into space himself, Mahoney said he’d go if offered the opportunity. He’d “go to Mars tomorrow if I had the chance, but even just working on rockets would be good enough for me.”

His favorite in-school memory was the winter wave, a physics class experiment performed every year, where the students build and then race boats made out of nothing but cardboard and duct tape.

As for his favorite out-of-school memory, Mahoney said, “I’m not sure.”

His favorite class was Advanced Placement, or college level, physics. His favorite subject was math or science. 

His favorite teacher was Ted Simons, who taught physics.

Asked if he felt robbed of his high school experience, Mahoney responded that he “wouldn’t say robbed.” Although students did miss out on sports, he pointed out that ultimately seasons were played, “which is awesome.”

Mahoney felt like he had a fulfilling year. 

He said he felt bad for last year’s graduates, in the Class of 2020, because they didn’t get a senior trip and their freshman year of college “kind of stunk.”

Despite the pandemic, his experience was pretty good — there was a senior trip and Mahoney and his fellow Blackbirds didn’t have to wear masks at graduation, “which is kind of cool.”

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