Amazing. Beyond his years. Once-in-a-lifetime type person. Anthony Sikorski is deeply aware of all that life has to offer and, although extremely humble when given praise, is driven and passionate in a way that is unprecedented for an 18-year-old. Did we mention that he will be graduating from Carroll this May?
By the time Anthony was in 6th
grade, he had skipped enough grades to be 4 years younger than most of his peers and pioneered his way into college at the tender age of 14. We interviewed him at the beginning of his college career
, and caught up with him recently as he nears graduation this May.
Anthony, a biology major who has also earned minors in math and biochemistry, came to Carroll with an astounding 52 AP credits allowing him to test out of many courses. While Anthony hit the ground running with science courses in his first couple years, he was able to take advantage of the liberal arts experience that Carroll offers. He most enjoyed music history and art history courses and liked the change of pace to his normally science-heavy schedule.
He originally came to Carroll because it was welcoming and accommodating. He knew that his age and health were large considerations in addition to seeking high standards for academics. “Before I came here, I was looking for good things and it has borne out,” says Anthony of his Carroll experience. He knew several Carroll alumni who all encouraged him to consider Carroll. One alumnus, Doug Drenzek ’93, still remembers Anthony with fondness. “He’s a humble, unassuming student that made me a better teacher and the learning environment stronger.” Doug, who was Anthony’s AP Biology teacher, has been a teacher at Arrowhead High School for 19 years and has never had a student like him, “Beyond his intelligence, which is genius-level smart, he is a once in a lifetime type of person.”
Anthony has now experienced what the alumni testimonies alluded to: Carroll might be small but it in no way equates to an inferior educational experience. From the excellent facilities and resources to the professors who hold you to high standards, Carroll offers rigorous academics while providing an intimate environment where you get to know your professors and peers. “No one who teaches here has taught without passion or below what the subject demanded,” says Anthony about his time at Carroll.
It has not all been smooth sailing for Anthony, but he keeps a positive attitude despite the trials. Like his peers, he lived through a pandemic that hit in his first year of college, which he says was not an experience, “that I had imagined, but that’s life.” The pandemic posed higher risk for Anthony and his brother William who both have cystic fibrosis. In addition to the medical challenges
he faced prior to coming to Carroll, at the end of 2021 he experienced a two-week hospital stay when he was then diagnosed with Crohn’s disease. This kind of medical detour might have made final course work unattainable for students at larger institutions, but he was able to take a final exam from his hospital room thanks to his professor and Dr. Theresa Barry, Vice President for Student Affairs. The accommodating nature that Anthony had expected was put into action.
Anthony believes that his work ethic early on, “made everyone more willing to reciprocate faith to make accommodations to make [my] academic experience as smooth as possible.” Dr. Gail Vojta, Distinguished Lecturer in Chemistry, recalled that when Anthony was in Organic Chemistry 2 the students were only able to get half of the hands-on lab time they normally would due to the shutdown during spring of 2020. “He emailed me the following spring to ask if he could do the labs that he missed. He wants to get all he can from courses, instructors, and his time at Carroll.” It’s not often that students come back asking for work. But Dr. Vojta says, “Even though he has natural talent, he strives to use that to the best of his ability. He doesn’t take the easy route. He’s very focused and determined. Whatever he puts his mind to, he can do.”
Anthony eagerly anticipates graduation this May, but his plans now look a bit different than when he first started at Carroll. Originally considering medical school, his self-awareness is keen, “as much as I want to be a doctor, others’ mild illness can be my severe illness. It’s not worth risking my short- or long-term health because if you’re not healthy, you can’t do much. I’m four years ahead of most of my peers, so I’m okay with slowing things down so that I could take care of myself if I went off by myself.” Anthony is grateful for his mom who he recognizes has sacrificed a lot to take care of him and he wants to stay close to his family for now. Anthony loves being around to hang out with his brother William who is currently a junior in high school.
Anthony is beyond his years and despite the many challenges he has faced, says, “As bad as things are, they could always be worse. There is always something to do, look forward to, and no time for self-pity,” citing that everyone should, “Work hard and enjoy what you’re doing.”
Thank you for being the epitome of a true Pioneer, Anthony.