Sebastian Sandqvist, FMS Class of ’09

Sebastian Sandqvist was one of the very first students at Foothills Montessori, and he continued as an FMS student for 10 years (from ages 6 to 16). After graduating as valedictorian from Las Vegas Academy, he will spend the summer traveling and working as a web designer for CrowdHall. In the fall he will be attending UCSD, where he plans to major in human-computer interaction and minor in neuroscience.

Favorite FMS Memories

In middle and elementary school, we did things most people don’t get to experience in a lifetime. While studying anatomy, we dissected cow eyeballs and held a human brain. To get a hands-on feel for what we were learning in geology, we climbed the Kelso Sand Dunes and hiked through a series of caverns most people don’t even know exist. We acted in plays, traveled together, and kayaked for hours at CIMI [Catalina Island Marine Institute].

Beyond all of our great adventures, one simple memory from FMS has stuck with me to this day. In a small church room we had rented as a temporary classroom, Ms. Maija read to us, played guitar, sang, and counted with us in several languages during morning circle. I didn’t realize it then, but that experience really said a lot for our school, teachers, and students. In spite of not having an official campus, playground, or classroom, we were able to learn and have fun in a way that is only possible in a Montessori environment. The teachers, the Montessori materials, Ms. Maija’s stories and morning circle were all there, and I loved every bit of that class

Recent/Current School Activities

Last year and the year before, I played tennis for Coronado. I got to travel with the team to Reno for the state tournament, which was one of the most fun experiences I’ve had in high school. I’ve also been running a lot lately. I ran a half-marathon for Candlelighters last year down Las Vegas Boulevard. In school, I’m focusing heavily on photography. Because our school has a great darkroom, I was able to shoot, develop, and print my own photos (the old fashioned way!).

Recent Accomplishment

Last year, I attended the Future Insights Live conference — the biggest web design conference in our area, with speakers who are some of the industry’s greatest minds. I participated in the conference hackathon (a timed, team-based web development competition) and ended up leading a team made up of people much older than me — and ultimately winning the competition!

Future Plans

I’m planning to study human-computer interaction at UCLA, but am also applying to Stanford and Pomona. After college, and perhaps during college as well, I hope to be running my own business. Specifically, I plan to operate a series of web application services. Next year, I plan to take a gap semester (between my senior year of high school and freshman year of college) in order to travel and build my business without the fear that either would interfere with my grades.

Favorite Thing About Montessori

My favorite thing about the Montessori method is its emphasis on one-on-one learning. I was able to have in-depth conversations about books with Ms. Arlene because our classes were so small. She got to know us much better than most teachers ever could. Even more importantly, because our class functioned as more of a discussion than a lecture, all of us were able to participate.