New York City College of Technology named Astoria resident Richard Fisher its 2012 valedictorian.
Fisher, 25, grew up in Colonie, a suburb of Albany in upstate New York, where he was a volunteer fire fighter.
He said he hadn’t excelled in high school and decided after graduation to enlist in the Navy. Fisher started at the lowest rank in the military and worked his way up to first-class petty officer.
“Before I knew it, I was a mentor to other sailors,” he said. “I came to see that no matter what your field is, there will always be someone to learn from and someone to teach.”
After four months in Iraq he was wounded by a mortar shell and sent home. At the age of 19, he received the Purple Heart.
He moved to Bayside after his service and then moved to Astoria a year later.
“Astoria had always kind of appealed to me,” he said.
Fisher will graduate with a BS degree in technology teacher education on June 4 with a 3.968 grade point average.
He student teaches at Brooklyn Technical High School.