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Stephen Sills: Salutatorian

Our Salutatorian, Stephen Sills, will be attending Stanford in the fall of 2018. This young adult represents the Legendary class of 2018, and is one of the prides and joys of the El Sereno Community. Although he will be attending a highly prestigious school, his journey wasn’t the easiest. I had the wonderful opportunity to interview him, and help tell his story and journey.

Stephen Sills starts off by telling us his experience at Wilson, and what it was like. He said that he was very busy throughout his high school years, having friends, being part of clubs and organizations such as Mock Trial, being president of Bible and Debate club, tennis, and the very rigorous Diploma Programme. He goes on to explain that he had different roles in these clubs and organizations, some more difficult than others, but they have helped him grow and learn about his strengths and the community.

Stephen plans to attend Stanford in the fall, and major in political science. After doing so, he hopes to attend law school and either pursue a career path in immigration law or corporate law. As for the summer, he plans to take summer courses at East Los Angeles College with some of his friends and possibly intern at the East Los Angeles Courthouse. He also mentioned an extensive list of books he’s hoping to read during the summer as well.

Stephen recalls the Diploma Programme get together as his favorite memory throughout his high school years, they played chess, had a picnic, and truly had a fun time. When asked who does he admire, Stephen responded, “Mr. Janal.” “ I admire his positiveness, his sarcasm, sometimes.”

When asked how does it feel to be awarded Salutatorian, Stephen laughed and said that he felt good, he was a bit sad that he wasn’t Valedictorian but he is very happy with his accomplishment and he can't wait to see what life has in hold for him. One piece of advice he would like give to underclassmen is that they should take advantage of everything. “There's a lot college preparatory programs, extracurriculars, clubs, organizations, and sports that need members in them. Make sure to take advantage of all the resources available at Wilson; they are here for you.”

When asked if he has always been a high achieving student, Stephen opened up and told me about his struggles and other things that he has faced in previous years. He said he did okay in elementary, but once he got to middle school, his grades started to go down, he preferred to read and play video games rather than doing school work. “I did bad, at one point, my GPA was a 1.2.” After going through this, he realized that he was being given a lot, and he decided to take advantage of the resources available to him. “I started working a little bit harder, and things started to get better.” The thing that kept him motivated throughout these years was a quote by C.S. Lewis which states, “There are far, far better things ahead than any we leave behind.” He goes on to explain that this quote is something that he has always taken confidence in, just knowing the fact that there is a God and a Universe who loves everyone and desires the best for everyone. This quote has also made him feel very optimistic of his future and the journey ahead.

Stephen is really thankful and appreciative towards the Upward Bound program, and the counselors, Mr. Shock, for all the work he does in Leadership, and Ms. G for all the college support, the scholarships she told him about. “I would like to give a special shout out and say thank you to Ms. Westfall for being there, Mr. Johnson for challenging our thinking, Mr. Sheu for teaching us statistics and for helping me with my Extended Essay, and Mr. Ha for teaching us about houses, buying houses, and actual physics.”

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