Good-bye SAHS, hello Harvard

By HANNAH JOHNSON – Stillwater Gazette

Of the three schools Eric Corcoran applied to, only one accepted him. Lucky for him, it was Harvard University.

Corcoran insists it was luck that got him into Harvard, never mind an extensive list of sports, music, hobbies, academia and accomplishments on his application. He has spent five years participating in cross-country skiing, Nordic skiing, track, orchestra, chamber orchestra and cello choir. He has also played piano for 11 years and seven year taking private cello lessons. He also plays guitar on the side.

The other schools Corcoran applied to were Dartmouth College and Oberlin College and Conservatory of Music.

An accomplished musician, Corcoran composes music. When he’s not working on music, he’s camping in the wilderness with the YMCA’s Camp Menogyn, a wilderness adventure program.

Corcoran is one of X students graduating from the Stillwater Area High School on Saturday.

Gazette: What will you miss the most from high school?

Corcoran: The people, obviously. You hear from everyone that college is great and you meet a lot of fun people and everything, but a lot of my classmates this year are going to be a tough act to follow, especially my fellow orchestra students. We become a family and each year it’s hard to go on to the next year.

Gazette: What has been your biggest challenge in high school?

Corcoran: At Stillwater, it’s really competitive with how great we are in so many different ways, not to brag about the school, but like in running for example, there are a lot of runners on our team. The top 15 runners on our team would probably be the top runner in half the other teams in the state, so on our team it’s always a fight for the varsity spots or top JV spots, and obviously we are all really good friends so that probably makes it even harder. So I don’t know if it’s harder when you don’t get that spot and have to run JV or when you do get that spot and your friend has to run the JV. Usually it’s me running JV.

Gazette: What are some of the things you’ve been involved with besides orchestra, track, cross-country skiing, Nordic skiing and Cello Choir?

Corcoran: There’s this YMCA camp called Camp Menogyn, and its based north of Grand Maray, it’s not like a typical camp, you send people out canoeing in the wilderness and it’s like for weeks through months on end, you carry all your food on your back, and back in the day in the early 70s they used to have co-ed trips and my mom and dad were assigned to lead one together and that’s how they met. I pretty much have done it every year except this last summer. I went on a 30-day trip, which was a great experience carrying all of your stuff in north Canada, not seeing anyone except your other three guys for a week at a time and when you do see someone it’s like this crazy Canadian hunter who is carrying a moose across his back and you’re like whoa. It’s quite an adventure. And I almost forgot the most important thing: I compose music.

Gazette: When did you start composing music?

Corcoran: Well, it was an issue because whenever I took piano lessons when I was 3 or 4 years old I would play the song and I’d get it within the first couple of days and then I’d get bored so then I would start making up different endings and just do fun stuff with it. … After a while, I think fifth grade, my grandparents bought me this music composing software and ever since then I’ve been able to save most of my work.

Gazette: Are you going to school for music then?

Corcoran: I’m ‘undecided’, but yes, music is what it will end up being.

Gazette: Are you nervous to transition from SAHS to Harvard?

Corcoran: I’m not really nervous, but I know it’s not going to be like high school where if you want to get an A you can pretty much get an A. I’m not really planning on getting A’s and hopefully my parents are OK with that. From the people I’ve talked to they say it’s important to go in not expecting to be the best and trying to compete against everyone for everything and I’m pretty cool with that.