TASIS Lifer Caps Brilliant Career with Valedictorian Award

Adam NovakAdam Novak ’17 (Ukraine) will study Economics at Bocconi University after a stellar career at TASIS that spanned 12 years. Adam started as a first-grade student when the TASIS Elementary School opened in the fall of 2005, and he capped off his time in Switzerland by earning The Valedictorian Scholarship Award and The Shah Akbar Khan Award for Excellence in Mathematics at his class’s Commencement Ceremony in the spring of 2017.

Adam spoke only Russian when his family moved to Lugano, but he is now also fluent in English and Italian. He excelled in 10 AP classes at TASIS—Calculus AB, Calculus BC, Statistics, Biology, Physics, US History, Art History, English Literature and Composition, English Language and Composition, and Macroeconomics—earning an average score of 4.40 on the corresponding exams.

“I credit TASIS for giving me the ability to think,” he said. “Armed with the tool of thought, I will be able to understand complex topics and cultivate my own ideas with ease at university. Likewise, I believe that the difficulty and workload of the AP classes have prepared me well for the demands of higher education institutions.”

Adam was also a member of the Varsity Soccer team, participated in the TASIS Leadership Academy, and traveled to Zambia with the Serving Southern Africa Global Service Program group. He called the latter two endeavors his most memorable at TASIS.

“My trip to Zambia was a completely new type of experience,” he said. “Our traveling group built a mud-house and worked with orphaned children. And during my time with the TASIS Leadership Academy, I got the chance to host a summer camp for refugees, meet successful entrepreneurs, and discover my abilities as a leader. The Leadership Academy was great because it pushed my capabilities in many mental, physical, and social aspects.”

Adam was also inspired by the Global Issues Network (GIN) conference he was able to attend in ninth grade. “I was given the opportunity to meet individuals my age who truly sought to make a difference in the world,” he said. “It was then that I understood the importance of helping others, regardless of how small or meaningless the effort is.”

Adam’s plans for college changed dramatically over the course of his time in high school. He wanted to study to become a doctor when he began 11th grade, but as the year went on, he slowly realized that medicine was a subject he was no longer interested in. He decided to look into economics more closely during his senior year and discovered that it suited his interests more appropriately. He credits the TASIS College Counseling Office for helping him navigate this transition.

“I credit TASIS for giving me the ability to think. Armed with the tool of thought, I will be able to understand complex topics and cultivate my own ideas with ease at university.”

“The college counselors were an invaluable asset during my last year in high school,” he said. “They offered vital information regarding the strengths and teaching styles of universities, which allowed me to understand where I would feel most comfortable at.”

Despite his eventual decision to pursue an Economics degree, Adam will most fondly remember Dr. Chris Love’s Honors World Literature class, which he took in 10th grade. “Many memories and friendships were made while attending that class,” he said. “It was also highly educational. Dr. Love greatly improved our writing skills and introduced us to authors such as Dostoevsky, Tolstoy, and Dante.”

While he is excited to begin the next stage of his life, Adam knows it won’t be easy to bid farewell to the community he’s belonged to since age six. “By leaving TASIS, I feel like I’m leaving a part of myself behind,” he said. “I’m saying goodbye to people I’ve spent a big chunk of my life with. I will definitely miss the people and the memories made with them—and the campus, too, because there’s no other like it. Generally speaking, what I will miss most about TASIS is having a tight-knit community of young adults that you can truly associate with.”

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