Having graduated with the Los Encinos School Class of 2014, Tommy Wynne is now an entering senior at Sierra Canyon High School.  Tommy’s sister also attended LES, and his two brothers are currently enrolled at LES (one in second grade and one entering kindergarten).  We caught up with him on campus where he’s working as a counselor at Camp Los Encinos for the second year in a row.  Below is the interview:

Alumni News: “How many years did you attend LES?”

Tommy Wynne: “I came here in fifth grade, so two years total.”

AN: “Why did you start in fifth grade, and not kindergarten?”

TW: “Location.  It worked out better because Los Encinos is really close to my dad’s house.”

AN: Do you remember the transition when you came to school here?  Did you feel welcomed as a new fifth grader?”

TW: “Definitely, I was very welcomed.  Of course, I remember being a little upset because I wouldn’t see my old friends, but I made great friends here.  I enjoyed the small class environment.  It was less chaotic than my old school.  Everybody here was nice.”

AN: “Are there any memories that stand out from your time at LES?”

TW: “I remember the Winter Show.  And I remember we did the Colonial Village thing.  I ran an old toy shop, I think.”


(above) Tommy’s 5th grade yearbook entry

AN: “Do you notice any differences on campus?”

TW: “There’s a bunch of iPads now, they weren’t here before!  We had 6th grade downstairs in what is now Mr. Beckmann’s office.”

AN: “What are your interests today?”

TW: “I really like math and video games.  This year, I’ll be taking AP Calculus BC, and Honors Multivariable Calculus.  Plus, I’m on the math team that meets after school two or three times a week.  We even went to a competition in San Diego last year.”

AN: “Would you credit Mr. Beckmann with your interest today in math?”

TW: “Sure, I’ll give him credit.  In 6th grade, I think we learned pre-algebra or algebra.  I remember Mr. Beckmann was a great teacher.  Another big inspiration is my math coach, Mr. Tillman.   He’s really enthusiastic about math and he makes it fun.”

(above) Tommy’s 6th grade class (click to open in a new window)

AN: “Do you think teachers have an influence on whether you like a subject or not?”

TW: “Oh, yeah, a hundred percent.  If a teacher is boring or mean you might not want to learn the subject, necessarily.  But if your teacher is fun you have a much easier time learning.  I had really good teachers at Los Encinos.  I really enjoyed my time here.”

AN: “And what video games are you into?”

TW: “I play Rocket League.  This past year we started the Sierra Canyon E-Sports team which gets together to play video games.  About fifteen people joined and we have three different games.  But Rocket League is the best.  It’s like soccer with cars.”

AN: “How do you respond to people who say video games are a waste of time?”

TW: “Well, I disagree, of course.  I think video games help with teamwork and communication.  The higher up you rank in a game, the more you have to work with your teammates.  If you play a game without coordinating well with the team, you’ll lose for sure.  It also helps hand-eye coordination.  And it’s opened me up to technology.  I feel that I’m really good with technology.”

(above and right) Tommy helps campers at Camp Los Encinos program their Lego robots.

AN: “At Camp Los Encinos this week, one of your classes is Lego Robotics.  How do you think robotics benefits kids?”

TW: “Robotics is a lot of fun.  It teaches really basic programming, not where you’re writing out the lines, but you’re putting instructions together to move the robot.  It’s trial and error with the controls because you make the controller, basically.  It’s really fun to build with the Legos and make a robot.  It can be very creative, and I think it teaches teamwork and organizational skills, too.”

AN: “What kind of career do you think you want?”

TW: “I’d like something math-related.  Or maybe video game design, but I think that would be really hard to get into.  I’d like to take a college course on game design and see what it’s like.”

AN: “Now that you’re about to be a senior in high school, what advice would you give to kids at Los Encinos School?”

TW: “Do your homework.  I’m kind of a slacker and it starts to catch up with you.  As you go up the grades, the homework gets more and more.  So I would recommend getting it under control early!”

Thank you, Tommy Wynne, for answering all of our questions.  Best of luck next year and into college and beyond!

(above) Tommy referees a “Battle of the Bots” at Camp Los Encinos in the Makerspace Lab.

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