Lieutenant Colonel Guy Smith
The path to success has twists and turns, hoops and obstacles. In order to be successful you must be patient, you must be determined and you must be persistent.
In his time at Blakelock, Guy Smith was most well known as the class joker, a member of the championship football team and a member of the cadets. It was through watching shows and being in cadets that Mr. Smith found one of his passions.
Mr. Smith served 21 years in the army from the 1970s to the 1990s, and he saw the world. After 9/11 he returned to the army and served in both Africa and Afghanistan. He also became an entrepreneur and opened his own business. His love of hunting and nature became of a love of fishing. Mr. Smith has gone on to become President of the Sport Fishing Association, run fishing and pleasure tours and run a Fishing Derby Fundraiser for veteran families.
His love of the army and veterans along with his love of fishing and the environment has driven him to become the successful man he is today. Mr. Smith has pushed through everything life has thrown at him. This year, Thomas A. Blakelock is honoured to induct into its Hall of Fame military veteran, entrepreneur and proud Blakelock alumni, Lieutenant Colonel Guy Smith.
Dr. Laurie Cestnick
Dr. Laurie Cestnick, Ph.D. , is a Harvard University research scientist and Harvard Fellowship Nominee. She is a leading expert in the field of neuropsychology and learning disorders, dyslexia in particular. Laurie holds international experience and education, has produced scientific publications, and has received many awards for her incredible work.
During high school, Laurie had a passion for drama, and actually won the drama award. She had various positions on the student council, and was very dedicated to contributing to student life at Blakelock. Like most high school students, Laurie did not know what she wanted to be, other than the fact that she was very intersted in giving back to her community. Once in university, she began to study neuroscience and found that she was not good at it. After putting in hard work and pushing herself, she began to find that she was able to excel and this became her passion.
Laurie went on to complete her Masters and eventually her PhD in Psychology in Australia. Laurie won a full scholarship for her PhD studies. Since then, she has been offered Post Doc awards - funding for 4 years at Harvard Medical School and MIT, as well as one to Standford before her PhD was even done! Laurie has worked at McLean Hospital, a teaching facility of Harvard Medical School, where she has been described to have a remarkable work ethic and an innate sense of curiosity and knowledge about the mind and brain, which has made her an excellent scientist and doctor.
Dr. Cestnick’s job entails evaluating patients with learning disabilities and brain disorders such as dyslexia, ADHD and autism, as well as providing counselling to her patients. Children fall in love with Laurie’s bubbly personality; she can take a screaming child and instantly make them happy. Not only is Laurie exceptionally brilliant in her field, but her ability to connect with her patients and provide on-going support and care is what makes Laurie so incredible.
Although Laurie has encountered great success, some of her most memorable moments have also been losses. After being a finalist for the Harvard Junior Fellowship, Laurie got cut due to her strong beliefs against animal testing. The fellowship would have completely changed Laurie’s life and career, but her moral convictions remained more important, although costing her an incredible opportunity.
In the future, Laurie plans to write a book for non-scientists so that we can learn more about dyslexia and how to treat it.
Laurie’s advice to students is that you can do anything, and you can do it now. Think outside the box, and make things happen now. Her friend Shiva invented email at the age of 14, and has his patents on display in the Smithsonian. Einstein did his best work at 16. She says, “Start now, always be curious, and always seek your own answers”.