Olivia Lucchese remembers telling her mother, Stacy, that “no one normal” attends the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
“I was originally super skeptical of MIT,” said Lucchese, a recent Oaks Christian School graduate. “I thought that it was a place for super smart people.”
Jonah Scott, a recent Oak Park grad, won’t argue with Lucchese. Scott, 17, said it takes a special kind of student to survive on the campus crawling with “exceptional students and exceptional thinkers.”
“There’s this whole stigma about what MIT is,” Scott said. “Being a nerd is being passionate about something. They all have goals and they’re extremely driven.”
On Aug. 20, Lucchese and Scott will fly to Boston to join that community of super students with big aspirations. They’ll also make their presence felt on the MIT diamonds.
Lucchese, who roamed the Oaks Christian outfield the past four years, will join the Engineers’ softball team.
Scott, a 5-foot-10 right-handed pitcher who dominated on the mound at Oak Park for three varsity seasons, will play baseball.
Lucchese, a lifelong Camarillo resident, turns 18 on Aug. 1. During her prep career, she batted .318 while racking up 74 hits, 38 RBI, 63 runs, six stolen bases and four home runs.
Scott closed his Eagles’ tenure by going 5-8 as a senior while maintaining a 3.25 ERA in 64 2/3 innings of work. He allowed 47 runs while striking out 56 batters.
Stats are important, but memories matter most to Lucchese, who said her favorite high school memories happened during the Lions’ yearly excursions to a softball tournament in Utah.
“It’s always been about the people I’m with,” she said.
Lucchese is a social butterfly. She enjoys getting to know people, and she always wants to offer a helping hand.
Those traits will serve her well toward achieving her dream of becoming an orthopedic surgeon. She aspires to provide Paralympic athletes and disabled veterans with prosthetics that don’t break the bank.
“There’s definitely a need for cost-effective prosthetics that actually help,” she said. “I want to meet the people I’m trying to help.”
Lucchese, who maintained a 4.6 grade-point average throughout high school, scored a 1560 on the SAT. She’ll major in biological engineering and is considering a minor in brain cognitive sciences at MIT. She said she hopes to get the chance to work in the biomechatronics lab on campus one day.
Lucchese, the youngest of David and Stacy’s two children, gets her inspiration from her older brother, Lorenzo, a 2015 Oaks Christian graduate and current Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University student interning at NASA’s Johnson Space Center.
“We like talking to each other about nerdy things, which is fun,” Olivia Lucchese said. “He teases me so much, but he’s one of my biggest supporters.”
Lucchese is joining an MIT softball team that finished the spring with a 38-11-1 record while claiming its first New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference championship and reaching the NCAA Division III Softball Championship in Oklahoma City.
Before leaving for Boston, Lucchese said she wants to spend time with friends, family and her bright, blue-eyed husky, “Lux,” which is Latin for light.
Scott’s also enjoying some fun in the sun this summer, but he said he’s excited about a change of scenery.
“Boston is by far my favorite city,” he said. “It trumps L.A., honestly.”
He had other college options out of high school, but he couldn’t fathom going anywhere else.
“Any time I looked anywhere else, (MIT) kept tugging me back,” he said. “It was almost meant to be.”
He won’t be alone on the East Coast. His grandparents Joseph and Claire Boskin are Bostonians. Joseph Boskin, a professor emeritus of history at Boston University, once had a young O.J. Simpson in his class while teaching at USC.
Scott said he fell in love with the sense of community during a campus visit to MIT. He and a few other recruits sat in on a class where the teacher broke everyone into small groups to solve physics problems as a team.
“To be part of that environment and to see what type of community they have there, it shows why MIT has such innovation and why it’s regarded as it is,” he said.
Scott earned a 4.6 GPA at Oak Park, where he was a member of the National Honor Society and Future Business Leaders of America. He co-founded the school’s physics club.
Scott, who earned a Superscore of 35 on the ACT, will study mechanical engineering and entrepreneurship at MIT.
“He is not just an incredibly intelligent young man, he also works exceptionally hard,” said David Kinberg, who is entering his fifth season as Oak Park’s skipper. “I’ve never had a kid work as hard at baseball or at being a student as he does.”
Scott, a black belt in karate, constantly made improvements while throwing against talented ballplayers, including Simi Valley’s Owen Sharts, Royal’s Jaden Fein and Camarillo’s Andrew Lucas.
“Playing against that competition really shaped me into the pitcher I’ve become,” Scott said. “It’s difficult going into it, but the learning experiences that have come out of it have just been phenomenal for me and my development as a pitcher.”
A ballplayer since he was 5, Scott said he can’t wait to finally fulfill his dream of being a college athlete.
“All those kids were the top students at their schools, but they’re also exceptional baseball players,” he said. “They’re hitting bombs over the wall. All the pitchers throw upper 80s and some are touching 90. I’m beyond excited for it.”
With the fall semester quickly nearing, Scott and Lucchese, two of Acorn country’s best and brightest, are ready to embark on a journey surrounded by exceptional minds.
“It’s cool to know there’s someone else so local who is going through similar academic and athletic experiences,” Scott said.
Email Jonathan Andrade at email@example.com.
Get to know the Engineers
• Olivia Lucchese and Jonah Scott, two of Acorn country’s brightest student-athletes, will take their beautiful minds to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
• Lucchese, a four-year varsity outfielder at Oaks Christian, will join the MIT Engineer softball team, while Scott, a right-handed pitcher out of Oak Park, will utilize his talents for the university’s baseball squad.
Lucchese, who scored a 1560 on the SAT, will study biological engineering.
• Scott, who earned a Superscore of 35 on the ACT, will study mechanical engineering and entrepreneurship.