Leonid Serbinov ’21 (Russia) will pursue a degree in Mechanical Engineering at University of California San Diego, choosing the large public research university over Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and University of Manchester.
Fluent in Russian and English, Leonid earned a Bilingual IB Diploma, amassing an impressive 41 points on his written examinations. He scored a rare 7 on the extremely challenging IB Mathematics Analysis and Approaches HL exam while also securing a 7 on the English B HL exam. His strength in both subjects helped him achieve a near-perfect score on the SAT and land two Graduation Awards at the 2021 Commencement Ceremony: the Shah Akbar Khan Award for Excellence in Mathematics and the Excellence in English as an Additional Language award.
Leonid is an avid basketball player who moved to Lugano with his family in 2019 and began scouring the region for the best outdoor courts. He went on to shine for the Varsity Basketball team, winning the Most Improved Player Award at the conclusion of the 2019–2020 season.
Shortly after his graduation in May 2021, Leonid answered the following questions about his two years at TASIS The American School in Switzerland.
Do you feel that your time at TASIS has prepared you well for college?
I do feel that TASIS has prepared me well for college. First and foremost, at TASIS I've been able to improve my English and make a leap from B1–B2 to the advanced C1. In addition, it has given me the opportunity to pursue the IB program as well as be surrounded by teachers that have a true passion for their job, spurring my academic interest even further. Last but not least, TASIS is the place where I gained my first "formal" experience of playing team basketball, which is something I'll definitely take over to my college life.
How did the College Counseling Office help you achieve your goals?
Here I'd like to thank Mr. Mitchell, whom I worked with throughout my senior year, for all the help and advice he gave me when it came to writing supplemental college essays and filling out various college forms.
What experiences have you found most inspiring at TASIS?
I'm really big on sports, so I would say my favorite experiences were playing for the Varsity Basketball team and representing the Russia team in the 2020 International Week Soccer World Cup.
What courses or teachers will you remember most fondly?
There are two courses (and, thus, teachers) that I'd like to highlight here. First, it's the IB Mathematics Analysis and Approaches HL course, instructed by Mr. Panontin. I appreciate the time he spent helping me with my Maths Extended Essay (which, by the way, scored an A) and staying with me after classes to make sure I understood the topic in English and not Russian. The second course that I, without a doubt, learned the most from is Ms. Heard's IB English B HL class. She is the person who guided me to my biggest academic accomplishment, helping me elevate my level of English to one I could only dream of.
What do you think you will miss the most about your time at TASIS?
The thing I'll miss the most about my time at TASIS is definitely my teachers and classmates. They all contributed to an amazing environment where learning became so much easier.
Clearly dealing with a pandemic for your final three semesters isn't how you and your classmates wanted to end your time at TASIS. But is there anything positive you've been able to take away from all of this?
This pandemic helped me rethink the ways in which I like to spend my free time as well as gain a bigger appreciation for what I've accomplished and who I've become.