Lake Norman & Mooresville

Brothers finish school year in award-winning style

Mark, left, and Michael Lee, finished out their respective school years as award winners, for academics and basketball.
Mark, left, and Michael Lee, finished out their respective school years as award winners, for academics and basketball. JOHN DAIDONE

Brothers Mark and Michael Lee ended their respective school years as award-winners. At his high school, Mark won an award for the most academically improved student. At his school, Michael won an award as the best basketball player.

Mark is 15 and a rising junior at Christ the King Catholic High School in Huntersville. Michael is 12 and a rising seventh-grader at St. Mark Catholic School, also in Huntersville. The brothers live in Cornelius in the Magnolia Estate subdivision and are the sons of Mark Lee.

Mark won the St. Augustine Award for Outstanding Improvement, given to the student who has shown significant academic progress. As a high-schooler, Mark almost always earns As in his classes. “In elementary school and middle school, my grades were only OK,” Mark said. “I wasn’t that dedicated to studying.”

Mark said his improvement in grades didn’t involve great changes. “I don’t really do much. I just study a little bit longer,” he said. Every day after school for about 30 minutes total, Mark tries to review what he learned that day. When he has a test, “I start studying about three days before. I read my notes over and over, and if I have to, I make bullet points of important facts.”

Michael won the MVP award for the sixth-grade interfaith basketball team. “We played the other Catholic schools,” Michael said. He said he won the award because he was “just the all-around stats leader. I scored about 14 points a game. Some 3-pointers, some 2-pointers. But my free throw is only about 60 percent.”

Michael devotes much of his time to basketball. “I practice on my own about an hour a day. Then I spend about 30 minutes on homework.” Mark looked at his brother and rolled his eyes. Michael said, “I’ll play basketball in high school and in college, if I can.”

Mark said he had “no clue where I want to go to college. But I want to stay in North Carolina and to focus on science or math.” In his free time, Mark likes to play video games.

Michael interrupted saying, “He plays any game where he gets to shoot stuff.”

“I don’t even have any shooting games,” Mark said.

“Yes you do,” Michael replied.

“No I don’t,” Mark argued.

And just like most brothers, they continued to argue as they walked away.

Lisa Daidone is a freelance writer. Have a story idea for Lisa? Email her at