Maxwell Sultz 

If I could go back in time to give myself a bit of advice, I would have told my 10th grade self to stop hesitating and commit to the School for Advanced Studies. I’ve learned this year in Macroeconomics that life is filled with tradeoffs. While the intent of my teacher Dr. Mar was focused on financial terms, this saying can be taken quite literally. For me, it was a choice between staying where I was, or taking a leap of faith, not knowing if the grass was greener on the other side. I deliberated over these two choices for weeks on end, asking the opinion of everyone I knew. Alas, I came to a decision, a leap of faith. 

SAS has provided me with unparalleled opportunities. I was able to take mathematics courses including Differential Equations and Physics with Calculus 1 and 2, a rarity in high school. I took Biology and Chemistry classes with state of the art equipment, conducted and presented research projects with Professor Dominguez, and took Advanced Placement courses with some of the best teachers in the nation. Shoutout to Ms. Hauser, Ms. Crawford, Mr. Green, and Dr. Mar! It was Professor Catalá who showed me that Biomedical Engineering was the major for me. Thus, I credit SAS for giving me purpose in the courses I took throughout high school. Unlike other institutions where dual enrollment classes are taken after school, the structure of the SAS schedule has allowed me to earn my Associate in Arts Degree and High School Diploma while still letting me participate in varsity athletics. I competed with my friend and classmate Zimir in the 2022 and 2023 FHSAA Cross Country State Championships, both during my time at SAS. 

I want to take a moment to address my greatest misconception about SAS. I believed it was a school solely designed to allow students to take advanced courses. I could not have been further from the truth. Sure, there is nothing traditional about the School for Advanced Studies. It is however a factory for success. I traveled as a rising senior to the University of Chicago for the Hispanic Scholarship Fund’s Youth Leadership Institute. When I got there, I was shocked to see so many of my friends and classmates in attendance. Whether it was Model UN or programs such as Teens Advocating Together, I was always working with classmates and peers. This for me has left me with a network spanning all campuses and what will soon become a network of SAS alumni at the top institutions in the nation.  

I have made lifelong friends at SAS. Events planned by Dr. Monteagudo and the SAS administration such as the schoolwide picnic and winter trip allowed me to fortify the bonds I have made with my peers outside of an academic environment. The diversity of the student body is also something that I have also come to love. I have learned so much from my Jewish, Muslim, and Christian friends and have shared cultures with others through events like the Black Student Union Showcase and Hispanic Heritage Luncheon.  

At the end of the day, SAS is hard. There is no way around this fact. Fortunately, as a student, I was not alone. As a junior, I found the senior class inviting and benefited greatly from the Junior-Senior mentorship program, through which I met one of my closest friends, Michel. As a senior, my SAS Physics Classmates helped me through the hardest moments. Of course, I could not write a testimonial about SAS without mentioning Dr. Townsel. He is the most incredible counselor I have ever had. I would not be part of the University of Florida’s Honors Class of 2028 without him.  

There might have been a way to make this more concise, but I cannot leave as a senior without sharing my appreciation for these things, a small fraction of what makes SAS so special. SAS gave me a chance to grow, a place to make new friends, and an experience like no other. So as I prepare myself for college, I would say, most certainly, my leap of faith paid off.  

Maxwell Sultz 
School for Advanced Studies North Campus, Class of 2024 
University of Florida, Class of 2028