By the top of center faculty, Guillem Colom was prepared for a change. He known as the previous years a “transformational time in my life” and wished the expertise to department out and be himself.
Recognized as autistic at a younger age, he had been going to a wide range of therapies however mentioned he had reached a degree the place he felt ok about himself that he did not want them anymore.
As a substitute of continuous in East Lyme, Colom started attending Marine Science Magnet Excessive College in Groton. He speaks extremely of the previous 4 years, the “wonderful educational atmosphere with small lessons,” lecturers who’re caring and hardworking, and new friendships.
Now, Colom is making ready for an additional change: He’s graduating highschool and headed to Tufts College to main in political science, with a “dream job” of being White Home chief of employees sometime. He mentioned present chief of employees Ronald Klain is “someone that I very a lot admire, no matter politics.”
Colom, 18, mentioned he selected the Boston-area faculty for its “wonderful political science atmosphere,” small class sizes and robust incapacity rights tradition.
He lights up when he talks coverage, saying he is “extra of a coverage man than a politics man.”
Colom mentioned he turned extra concerned with political science after the 2016 presidential election, contemplating analysts forecasted Hillary Clinton because the victor however Donald Trump received. He mentioned he was once extra conservative however is now extra centrist, and that studying about overseas affairs took him out of the beforehand isolationist views he held.
Colom reads information sources from totally different sides, citing Vox as his favourite liberal-progressive outlet — Dylan Matthews and Matthew Yglesias have been “phenomenal influences,” he mentioned — and on the opposite aspect, The Bulwark, an anti-Trump conservative website based in 2018. Colom mentioned he’s fascinated by the interplay of conservative and liberal politics, and by how the events have modified through the years.
Advocating for himself and others
“We’re very happy with him. He is executed an distinctive job,” mentioned Colom’s mom, Britt. She mentioned he is “been by way of fairly a bit to get so far.”
Britt mentioned her son was nonverbal till nearly 5 years outdated, and when he went to preschool, she prayed that he could be OK all day, since she was the one one who understood him.
“I simply wished him to be the very best that he might, no matter that was,” she mentioned.
Colom was in a wide range of therapies — bodily, speech, studying, psychological. Tennis was recommended as a bodily remedy method, and he started taking part in at Lyme Shores Tennis Membership at age 6.
He received the ECC Doubles Championship as each a sophomore and a senior, and he was co-captain of the East Lyme Excessive College boys tennis staff this 12 months.
“I all the time cherished tennis. I feel tennis is a lifelong sport,” he mentioned. A few of his favourite tennis gamers are Daniil Medvedev, who he mentioned has a forehand much like his personal, and Rafael Nadal, who Colom admires for his philanthropy off the court docket.
He has mixed his enjoyment of bodily exercise and his want to advocate for others — along with advocating for himself — by getting concerned with the Seaside Saybrook Special Olympics.
He started taking part in basketball there in seventh grade and began teaching in highschool. Colom mentioned the expertise taught him persons are much more alike than totally different.
He attracts connections between incapacity advocacy and his curiosity in coverage, saying of academic inequality, “It isn’t straightforward to acknowledge that we’ve some primary elementary issues inside our methods, however actually, we do.”
Colom talked a few faculty undertaking he did on redlining and housing discrimination, and the way that impacts academic inequality in communities of colour. He added, “Folks of colour with disabilities had it very, very laborious again then, they usually nonetheless have it extraordinarily laborious, much more than I do.”
Colom created Kindness Week at MSMHS, with a deal with “not simply believing within the virtues of kindness and acceptance however appearing on it on daily basis.” The week included a Disabilities Acceptance Day.
Colom additionally joined the talk staff his sophomore 12 months, debating on the championship that 12 months whether or not the Meals and Drug Administration ought to ban the sale of digital cigarettes, and the next 12 months debating the abolishment of capital punishment.
“It generally conflicts together with your private views and opinions, however you simply needed to study to regulate,” he mentioned. He preferred that in debating, no one created false associations or engaged in whataboutism; “it is simply straight-up info.”
Colom can also be a member of the Nationwide Honor Society, and he was invited to provide a speech on the MSMHS commencement.
Principal Tara Amatrudo recalled that Colom was one of many first college students who welcomed her when she got here onboard final 12 months.
“His enthusiasm for this faculty, but in addition for simply being an open and supportive individual in life, is actually placing,” she mentioned. “He has actually excessive expectations for himself and others, and that could be a actually good factor, as a result of he actually pushes our group to be a bit of bit higher and perform a little bit extra.”