Senior Spotlight: Sean Swalling

If you are reading this and you don’t already know Sean Swalling, prepare to be amazed.  Swalling is a creative, entertaining, philosophical and intelligent leader among his peers.

Swalling has been on an advanced track with his classes since freshman year.  

He has done six years of Project Lead the Way (PLTW) Engineering, completed the Japanese Immersion Program, completed the Algebra II to Calculus BC track and has taken eight Advanced Placement (AP) classes.  His success in these courses is illustrated by his 4.26 GPA.

His intelligence is legendary among the senior class, and people sometimes wonder how he can understand so much.

Senior Ellese Chapados, Swalling’s girlfriend, said, “Sean is as intelligent as everyone thinks; it’s not a conspiracy.  I go to him when I’m having a hard time on a calc problem.”

Swalling is loved by even those that do not know him that well.

Rachelle Pessetto, sibling of one of Sean’s best friends, said, “I don’t even really know Sean, but I just love him.  In fact, I think I like him more than [my brother] Jacob.”

He wants to major in elementary education and eventually teach English as a second language in Japan.  His goals make his wide range of involvement all the more impressive.

As a freshman, he founded the Ultimate Disc Club of Dimond (UDCOD).  Despite its lack of success during its first year, he continued with the club, and it has boomed in membership.  

Wayne Koelsch, a junior and future president of UDCOD, said, “I’m glad that Sean started UDCOD his freshman year so that by the time I could join, it was a quality club.”

During his freshman year he also participated in the math competition and Dimond Night Live (DNL).  His team was the top scoring freshman team in the math competition and with DNL, he discovered he was a master of comedy.

In addition to UDCOD and DNL, Swalling has participated in seven other clubs, including Key Club, Interstellar Society and Dimond Business & Entrepreneurship Club, the last of which he is the president.

Swalling said, “I knew when I got into high school I wanted to do a lot of things all four years with a lot of the same people.”

This statement is backed up by what he says are among his best high school experiences.

Swalling said, “My top three high school experiences were completing the engineering program, doing well each year in the math competition and getting first in the State Declamation Contest with Michael [Perkins].”

Each of these required constant, yearly effort, not only on his part, but on the part of his friends.

The Engineering Achievement Cord is earned by those that take four years of math, four years of science and complete four Project Lead the Way (PLTW) Engineering courses with a B or higher.  

Swalling said, “I got to go through 12 courses with many of the same people over a span of four years.  That was nice.”

He also was a part of the same team for the math competition each year.  This consistency is impressive, especially with such a wide range of top math students at Dimond.

Lastly, what Swalling claims to be his proudest achievement in high school, winning the State Japanese Declamation Contest.  Unlike his other accolades, this honor was not four years in the making, but 13.

He also has been involved with cross-country skiing and running all four years, resulting in his captainship in skiing and several varsity letters.

Swalling claims that his most influential teacher in high school is Lea Bouton an engineering and chemistry teacher at Dimond.  She taught him in two of his classes and is his cousin.

Bouton said, “It’s incredibly humbling to be spoken of as the most impactful teacher a student has had.  In Sean’s case, he was one of the 12 students that year that I had twice a day. As a group, they challenged me, but it made me a better teacher to engage on that level with such a high number of students.”

Bouton’s two-a-day students always tend to be something special.  This is no exception with Swalling.

Swalling’s experiences are many, and although few of them relate directly to his ultimate life goals, they have allowed him to grow.

He said, “My best advice is to do as much as you can, and do it with consistency.”