Photo Courtesy of Tyler Hoffman
July 2, 2013
Pressing the "no" button on the Harvard University admissions page for accepted students was one of the most difficult things Farmington High School valedictorian Tyler Hoffman has ever done.
"The name was definitely a major factor in my decision to apply early to Harvard. I sort of convinced myself that Harvard was the best fit for me because of its prestige, and then I ultimately just decided on Princeton because that's what my gut was telling me," said Hoffman, who was also accepted to Yale University. At Princeton University he'll study math, economics and computer science.
Hoffman has a long list of accomplishments that helped him get into the most prestigious schools in the nation. He is a U.S. Presidential Scholar, one of two selected from the state; a National Merit Scholarship winner, and he also won a Connecticut Governor's Scholar Award. He also received the Harvard Prize Book Award, a national AP Scholar award, and was a National Honor Society Scholarship Regional Winner.
He played soccer and baseball in high school, and was one of 12 finalists selected in the U.S. for the Wendy's High School Heisman award. But Hoffman said his most important accomplishment was starting Tyler's Exercise and Activity Mission (TEAM), a volunteer after-school program in Farmington and Avon elementary schools.
"I noticed some of my friends in high school were making really poor eating decisions at lunch, a lot of them weren't exercising very often, and it was kind of frustrating to me," Hoffman said. "So I figured there was maybe something I could do about it, I could try to have an influence on kids in my town who were younger."
Hoffman runs the after-school programs twice a week with his own equipment and assistance from other members of the baseball team. The kids exercise by playing games, cycling through various fitness stations, and learn about nutrition. Hoffman said although he can't see the direct impact, he thinks it's changing lives.
"One girl in particular said she was going to try out for a sports team for the first time because the program showed her she was a lot more athletic than she thought she was," he said. "Hopefully we can inspire more kids."