Ryan Murphy will lead his class in a valedictory speech Saturday at New Milford High School’s commencement exercises.

“We are very proud,” said Ryan’s father, Patrick.

Ryan is not the first in his family to be valedictorian. His brother Sean was valedictorian last year.

“I owe a lot to (Sean),” Ryan said. “When I saw that he could do it, it inspired me to do it.”

The coin collector said the origins of his desire to do well have changed over time. He acknowledged it started as a materialistic thing, but over time he learned more about duty.

“I think that doing well at whatever station you are at in life is important,” he said. “So being a good student is my duty.”

NMHS teacher Mike Abraham, who taught Ryan for AP World History, Middle East Studies and Chinese Studies, said what is “so impressive about Ryan as a student is his sheer love of learning, and how genuinely inquisitive he is.”

“We could be talking about something that happened long ago like the growth of the Persian empire or contemporary such as the war in Syria, and Ryan just as easily saw the relevance of each and found ways to extend research on his own,” Abraham said.

“His thoughtful analysis really

enriched the class experiences of all of those around him,” he said.

“From a teacher's point of view, it's a joy to have him in class because he can take a topic and run with it,” the teacher said.

“Plus, he's a fun kid with a great sense of humor,” he added.

Ryan’s father describes his son as “probably the most determined person I’ve ever seen in my life.”

“From the time he was little, he had just a little stubborn personality we knew would serve him well, but he’s very focused,” he said.

While in high school, Ryan was a member of the high school varsity soccer team and the math honors society. He also works at The Maxx and ran the homework club for the Youth Agency.

“He’s very well rounded,” said Ryan’s mother, Karen.

Ryan plans to attend Georgetown University in the fall. Although he is undecided, his interests include political science, history and international relations.

Patrick recalled Ryan’s passion for history at a young age, citing the hours Ryan spent researching his family’s genealogy at age 8.

“He did a fantastic job,” Patrick said.

As a third grader, Ryan would study the globe. In middle school, he won the school’s geography bee.

Patrick noted how Ryan would “beg us to get him books on history and the Civil War, and he’d watch documentaries on them.”

The theme of Ryan’s speech Saturday is sacrificial wealth and encouraging fellow students to reflect on that on a personal level.

“It’s about making efforts to make yourself better not just being tolerant of who you are,” he said.

While in high school, Sean was captain of the soccer team and played basketball, and also worked at The Maxx.

“We’re very proud of him as well,” said Sean and Ryan’s mother, Karen. “He’s also a very hard worker, but also very well rounded.”

Sean is a student at UCONN. He received a full scholarship through the Stamps Foundation.

Evelyn Anderson’s son Luke is friends with Ryan.

“My kids say (Ryan and Sean) are both geniuses,” Anderson said. “They’re very well behaved, respectful, intelligent, wonderful kids.”