Morse senior credits ‘epiphany,’ supporters for success

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BATH — While many seniors are struck this spring by the infamous slacker’s disease known as senioritis, Ben Coyer’s experience is exactly the opposite.

You might say his personal bout of senioritis plagued him years ago, resulting in report cards marked with Fs and D-minuses. But then Coyer reached a turning point that caused him to notch up his ambition and beef up his grades.

The 18-year-old Bath student said he was always serving detention a few years ago, a consequence of the work he had missed.

“Homework hasn’t always been my strong point,” Coyer said. “And it kind of continued into ninth and 10th grade and caught up with me in senior year. I don’t think it was a lack of interest, as much as it was a lack of motivation.”

It took the support of friends and family, including his father, to start to turn things around. These days his Ds and Fs have turned into Bs and Cs.
Coyer said he needs about a B to pass one class and a C to pass another, “but I’m doing way better than I have been.”

The turning point for him was something of an epiphany, he recalled.

“My dad has always told me he’s had a lot of faith in me, and he knows I can do it,” Coyer said. “… I have the potential, I’m just not putting it to good use, is what he always told me, and he knows I can (reach that potential) and he wishes he could see more from me.”

His father showed encouragement rather than anger, and the meaning of his words changed as Coyer grew.

“When I was younger, they were words to me. Now that I’m grown up, and I know that graduation is nearing and after this, it’s basically me out against the world,” Coyer said, adding that those words have taken on much greater meaning.

“I know that if I don’t start off strong now, with a good foundation – it’s like building a house on a bad foundation – the whole thing’s going to collapse, and I don’t want that to be my life.”

Along with support from those around him, Coyer found another motivator to be his job. Late last year he started working at Shaw’s Supermarket, Coyer said, remarking that “it gives me more of … a psychological strength behind everything I do.”

Coyer, who is also lead singer in a band, faced a major English project last week. While it was time for bed, an urge he had compelled him to put off sleep and get the work done.

“A year or two ago, I would go to bed and say ‘oh, it’s just one thing,'” Coyer said, adding that all those “just one things” have a nasty habit of adding up quickly.

“I kind of just get on top of it now,” he explained. “I just constantly motivate myself by telling myself that if I can’t do something small, I don’t know where I’m going to be able to stand when the big things hit me.”

Among the classes Coyer most enjoys are psychology and sociology.

“History I’ve always had a bad past with, so that hasn’t always been my strong point,” he said, intending no pun.

The thought of spending a fifth year in high school was unappealing to Coyer not so much because of the school itself or the teachers, but because of the thought of all his classmates leaving, as well as the mark on his academic record when he applies for a job or college.

“I just don’t want to have to deal with that through my life,” he said.

Instead of entering college this fall, Coyer said he plans to keeping working, saving money for the future, money that may ultimately go toward college.

If he does continue his education, Coyer would like to pursue his interests in psychology and sociology. It is an area in which he has demonstrated natural potential, being a ready and willing sounding board for friends going through tough times.

Interestingly, while senioritis has struck many others among the Class of 2009, Coyer looks at the situation like an opposite day.

“I kind of just used it as my motivation,” he said. “I turned a bad thing into a good thing.”

Alex Lear can be reached at 373-9060 ext. 113 or

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Coyer.jpgThe support of friends and family and his own epiphany helped Morse High School senior Ben Coyer turn his grades around. (Lear photo)


Commencement for the 183 members of Morse High School’s Class of 2009 will take place at 2 p.m. Sunday, June 14, on McMann Field. If forced inside by weather, the ceremony will be held in the Bath Middle School gym.

A Maine native and Colby College graduate, Alex has been covering coastal communities since 2001, and currently handles Bath, Topsham, Cumberland, and North Yarmouth. He and his wife, Lauren, live in the Portland area, and Alex recently released his third album of original music.