Ellia Tsoukalas abounds with ambition

Hitting the books: The determined science-brained Ellia works on biology notes in the library.

On the surface, senior Ellia Tsoukalas seems like your average West Side student: hardworking, and with lofty goals for the future that she will no doubt achieve. But after chipping away at her mysterious exterior, it was revealed that many scenes from her life combine to make her anything but ordinary.

 

Born in Thessaloniki, Greece, Tsoukalas is Greek by heritage and can read, write and speak the language. While Tsoukalas moved to West Side this year after having spent part of her high school career living and learning in Greece, it wasn’t the first time the senior has made the move. Tsoukalas began school in the West Lafayette school district, moving to Greece in fourth grade, and then transferring to Happy Hollow before moving again to Klondike Elementary.

 

“The next big change was in March 2010,” recalls Tsoukalas. “My parents and I had been discussing for some time the possibility of me going to Greece to finish high school and take the entrance exams for medical school. Well, things happened pretty quickly.” An opening at a school in Athens surfaced, and in less than six days Tsoukalas said her goodbyes to her friends, mother and three siblings and flew to Greece with her father. “I can say with absolute certainty that it was the saddest moment of my life.”

 

Despite the grief that leaving her family and friends for Greece has caused her, Tsoukalas admits that the Mediterranean country has been her favorite place to live, saying, “Greece is where I fit the most. It’s a part of me.”

 

Eventually, Tsoukalas hopes to return to Greece for good, but for now she spends her time in America watching movies, (referring to herself as a “cinephile”), listening to music, playing piano, reading, and singing with her sisters.

 

At West Side, Tsoukalas’s favorite class is Biology AP with Mr. Overley. Tsoukalas, who has “always had a knack for biology and anatomy” plans to be a doctor someday. The senior even sat in on a surgery in the summer before 8th grade–an 8 hour-long lymphadenectomy. “At that moment I knew that not only I wanted to be a doctor, I wanted to operate. That is the only thing I can see myself waking up twenty years from now and doing and being happy with myself.” For the moment, Tsoukalas describes her plans for the immediate future as “non-existent.” The senior wants to return to Greece to take the entrance exams for medical school there, and then enroll in the six-year med school program before returning to the States for her residency.

 

Although Tsoukalas’s future remains undetermined now, the senior’s talent and work ethic guarantee her success whenever she chooses to begin her journey.

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