When Lillian Stell is not swimming with sharks or zip-lining into volcanoes, the high school senior is dancing and making plans for a career in medicine
Q: You are a rising senior at East Wake Academy but have already toured exotic and historic locales, such as Australia and Europe. What destination made the biggest impact on you?
“It would have to be the trip where I visited Australia, New Zealand and Fiji. My grandmother has a friend who works at Durant Middle and they were planning an EF (Education First) tour. She called my grandmother about going and she said she would not go but she thought it would be a great opportunity for me. I was in the seventh grade and I remember we were snorkeling on the Great Barrier Reef and we saw this huge shark. The person leading us just brings us up and tells us not to worry, that the sharks were common and wouldn’t bother us but we didn’t need to make any sudden movements either. I was able to stay pretty calm but there were some others that were kind of freaked out. It was just beautiful there. The water was crystal clear. It was also the first time I went zip-lining and I was able to zip-line down into a volcano. It was one of the scariest and best things I ever did. Now it is one of my hobbies.”
Q: And you have also traveled to Europe?
“I have been to Germany, Wales, Ireland, London, and Paris.”
Q: Which one was your favorite?
“London. I loved the history, the architecture, and it is fast paced.”
Q: You must now be hooked on traveling now?
“Traveling has become my passion. I now know that I just have to keep traveling and see the world. I think now that I would prefer to live in a big city.”
Q: What is your career goal?
“I have always been interested in medicine. My mom has been sick my whole life and I have always been concerned with figuring out ways to make her better. I attended a National Youth Leadership forum in Washington D.C. and was able to attend a medical conference there. I would like to become a physician’s assistant. I would love to move to a foreign country and start my own practice. I don’t just want to cure people but I want to help them too.”
Q: What is on the mind of the typical teenager these days?
“Of course, going to college and growing up and being able to be independent, but I also think a lot of us are concerned with politics. I know it might sound weird to say the typical teenager is concerned with that, but politics (affect) us. I think kids need to educate themselves on the decisions being made and not just rely on the opinions of their parents.”
Q: Other than traveling the world, what keeps your interest at home?
“I love dance, soccer and swimming. I am a lifeguard at Granite Falls and I am a member of my school’s Dance Ensemble. I played soccer growing up and I am getting back into that.”
Q: What do you say to the critics who say schools should stick to the basics?
“Students having a way to express themselves creatively is important. Dancing helps to give you confidence. Before I took dance, I was timid and shy. I wouldn’t say much. But now, I can perform in front of a crowd. I speak out and participate more in class. If I had to stand up and address a group, I could. It has definitely affected my studies for the better. And I am a member of National Honor Society, Student Council and the Green Club.”
Q: What advice would you give kids entering into high school?
“School is about much more than making straight As – though that is important too. They should participate. Get involved. Make your time there worthwhile. If you don’t, you’ll regret it.”
Correspondent Dena Coward