By STEPHEN O'KANE, Staff Writer | Published May 26, 2011
As Our Lady of Mercy High School senior Pierce Vincent walks the halls in the last few days at his soon-to-be alma mater, he reflects on his path so far and begins to prepare for the journey that lies ahead.
“It’s like the four longest years of my life have gone by in the blink of an eye. It was a great time,” said Pierce, with a smile. “I’m sad because … I’ve become friends with a lot of people … but at the same time it’s like I’m ready to move on and start a new chapter in my life.”
That new chapter will begin in Athens as Pierce attends the University of Georgia, where he will study and also continue running track as he has done at Mercy for the last few years. Tall and athletic, he spent most of his extracurricular time running track, especially sprints and hurdles, or playing football, but he also took his studies very seriously.
The son of Larry and Kim Vincent of Fayetteville, Pierce is interested in pursuing a career in engineering, like his father. While engineering has always interested him, he hadn’t seriously considered what career path he wanted to pursue until he saw a presentation about the diverse opportunities available in that field.
“Two years ago I went to Engineering Day at Auburn (University),” recalled Pierce. The presentation about different engineering majors really caught his attention. “My father was an electrical engineer so I thought for awhile that was what I wanted to do,” he said.
But that day, Pierce learned about polymer and fiber engineering and it has now become his interest. Just listening to him describe the field, which focuses on the design and production of textiles, fiber, and apparel materials and products, makes it evident how passionate he has become about this particular specialty within engineering.
One of the important lessons Pierce acquired during his time at OLM was the importance of managing time effectively. Between sports, friends and school, students really have to pay attention to how they are using their time, he said.
“The most difficult thing about high school I guess was like balancing sports, academics, and the SAT and ACT tests,” said Pierce. “It’s a lot at one time and kind of hard to juggle, but you manage somehow because you know you have to.”
Pierce also has experienced a growth in his faith life at the school. One of his favorite memories is the FLAME retreat he made for the first time this year. The retreat was established at the school in 2002 and has been growing in popularity with the student body.
“This was my first time going,” he said. “It was just a great experience. I grew spiritually; I met a lot of new people. … There was a lot of camaraderie.”
Pierce’s presence has been noticed at the school, including by principal Danny Dorsel.
“Pierce is a quiet leader,” Dorsel wrote. “If something needs to be done, he can be told once and it will be done. … I would gladly take multiple Pierce Vincents at Mercy!”
Graduation is a bittersweet experience for Pierce, who has grown close to many at OLM. “I will most definitely remember my friends at Mercy. They’ve been great,” he said. “You start out with a bunch of new faces but … you become like family.”
“I will always miss this place,” he said.