Michael Bolstad is definitely a mild, mannered young man, shy, and modest to a fault. He has focused on working hard with the goal of being accepted to a good school. And his dream paid off. He recently received an early acceptance letter and will be attending Brown University next fall.
“I was shocked,” he said. “My mom was excited and started crying. She was proud at the same time as tears were streaming down her face. I’m excited to go…can’t wait.”
Michael’s a senior at the Boston Collegiate Charter School (BCCS) in Dorchester. He’s currently taking four AP classes: government, environmental science, calculus and literature. He’s obviously an Honor Roll student, and although he doesn’t exactly know what he wants to major in, he’s leaning toward the field of science, possibly biology.
When Michael hasn’t been busy with schoolwork, he’s been involved in basketball, football, soccer, baseball, and volunteer work. He played in the South Boston Pop Warner Football program for seven seasons and played on both the offensive and defensive line. Football admittedly is his favorite sport but unfortunately BCCS doesn’t have a football program.
He played in the South Boston Youth Soccer League for a decade before he suited up for his school’s varsity team during his sophomore, junior and senior years. He played youth baseball in Southie and in Dorchester before he was a member of his school’s state championship baseball team. BCCS has dominated the charter school circuit for the past five years and has won consecutive state charter school championships. He plays in the outfield, loved being on a winning squad and is looking forward to this upcoming season.
“I was excited when we won the championships,” he said. “I was proud to be part of a championship team. And I hope we can win again in the spring even though we lost a lot of our star players.”
Michael has played in the Gate of Heaven CYO basketball program since he was six years old. He’s currently on the Gatey CYO high school age team coached by Joe Kelly, who loves having him on his squad.
“Michael is a big part of our team success,” Kelly said. “He can get to the rim with power and can step outside for a three. But his defense and ability to block shots is what makes him so valuable. I’ve coached him for the past five seasons and he has also been a friend of the Kellys since kindergarten.”
Gatey commissioner, Sean Monahan, has also watched Michael play hoop throughout the years.
“He’s the player everyone wants to play with,” Monahan said. “He passes more than he shoots and sets picks for his teammates. He has all the basic skills and is fundamentally very sound, boxing out, passing and playing good defense. I’ve never seen him lose his temper in all these years no matter what is happening. He encourages his teammates and never criticizes anyone else.”
Michael has also been a Gatey instructional hoop league volunteer for the past three seasons, teaching the youngsters the fundamentals of the game.
“I wanted to give back to the program,” he said. “I want to help the kids who are going to be playing hoop for Gatey in the future. I try to tell the young kids to move without the ball…play as a team not as individuals.”
Commissioner Monahan has nothing but praise for his young mentor.
“Michael Donovan and I have been very fortunate to have Michael coach with us the last three years,” he said. “He’s been the ideal role model for our instructional league players. He’s extremely dependable and never misses a game or practice without a good reason.
“He’s a quiet, polite, young man and obviously bright but humble,” Monahan added. “He knows the game well so he can teach it to the younger players. He has the patience to work with first and second graders. He’s the kind of coach you’d want coaching your kid.”
Michael is indeed a great role model with a bright future. His mom, Jennifer Connolly, is proud of him and thankful for the support he’s received from educators and coaches.
“He has had so many great teachers and coaches at the Gate of Heaven, Boston Collegiate, and in South Boston,” she said. “I am so proud of him. It’s nice to see him give back to a community that really helped mold him into the young man he is today. Michael’s hard work and dedication which earned him acceptance to Brown University is a reflection of everyone who has had a positive influence on him.”