BOSTON — In a slumping school system, Anthony Choquette is soaring.
Last night, the 17-year-old Lawrence High School senior reached a pinnacle when he was honored, along with former President Bill Clinton, at a ceremony where he collected an award for the environmental leadership he has shown in his hometown. His work included efforts to hold the city accountable for a pipe discharging sewage into the Shawsheen River.
The lanky South Lawrence resident has juggled a raft of environmental projects while also handling a course load top-heavy with Advanced Placement courses, which next semester will include AP calculus, AP English and AP government.
“From expanding a community garden in an alleyway to volunteer work at a local farmers market and food co-op, to invasive species removal and river and park cleanups, from leading Lawrence High School’s recycling program to participating in a program at a UMass field station on Nantucket, Anthony has been very busy,” Tom Jones, an Andover resident who is trustee of the Walden Woods Project, said as he introduced Choquette to a banquet packed with environmental activists at the Park Plaza Hotel.
Jones credited Choquette’s work monitoring illegal sewage discharges into the Shawsheen with demonstrating that it’s “completely possible for students to work alongside federal and state agencies to help find solutions to global environmental questions.”
Choquette’s work to clean up the Shawsheen began last year when he was on a class nature walk along the river with biology teacher Rebecca Veilleux, who smelled the stench of septic discharge coming from an outflow pipe into the river behind the South Lawrence East school complex.