March-April 2012 | Education

Top Teens 2012

Bethesda Magazine's 2012 Extraordinary Teen Awards.

Photo by Jonathan TimmesWilliam Tavel

Junior, Bullis School

William Tavel, 16, loves designing, building and tinkering in the basement “laboratory” of his Rockville home. He has built a computer, a complex scale model of the solar system, a wooden scale model of a German skateboard park, and a 25-foot skateboarding half pipe for his yard.

Intrigued by the interactive whiteboards used in many Montgomery County schools, William designed and built a smaller, faster model using a video game remote and an infrared pen he made himself.  

In middle school, William captained a team that won the “Judges’ Award” in the Maryland For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology LEGO League competition. Last summer he passed a three-credit engineering course taken through Johns Hopkins University at its satellite campus in Rockville.

Other accomplishments: He has been an actor, assistant director and stage manager in the Bullis theater program, and is a member of the school’s concert choir. He is a junior class representative. He is currently the co-captain of Bullis’ “It’s Academic” team, representing the school on the television program of the same name for the past two years.

What others say: “I look forward to every conversation I have with him,” Upper School Principal Andrew Delinsky says. “He is mature beyond his years, engaging and highly motivated to help the world.”

What his future holds: William will have completed Bullis’ most advanced science, technology, engineering and math courses before he begins his senior year, and plans to embark on an independent study project with a member of the math department. He hopes to stay involved in music and to study some form of engineering. “Nothing makes me happier than to create devices that make learning better—to see people benefiting from technology,” William says.