In the “New Kids on the Block” series, new students will be interviewed on their life outside of SCDS. Junior Leo Eisner de Eisenhof came to SCDS on Oct. 2 from Houston.
Q: Where did you go to school before Country Day?
A: The Village School in Houston. It is an international private school.
Q: How did your old school compare to Country Day?
A: It was pretty similar. It was K-12 but much bigger. It had about 600 students in the high school (but) was much less nature-y. There were buildings, actual buildings. It felt more like a big university.
Country Day feels more like a small liberal arts college.
My old school also had the IB (International Baccalaureate) program.
Q: What was the IB program like?
A: I don’t really know a lot about what it was like. I only had about a month’s worth of experience in the program. The program is (junior and senior year), so I experienced only a very small percentage of it.
Supposedly, it is a lot more rigorous throughout the year than the AP program, but the final tests are a lot easier.
Q: Why did your family move to California?
A: It was because of my dad. He found a new job in Woodland, so we had to decide to go with him or not.
We obviously decided to go with him and have me finish off my final two years of high school in Sacramento.
Q: Was it hard moving your junior year of high school?
A: For sure. I mean, of course Country Day made it much easier than when I had to move to Houston the first time because (Country Day) is a much smaller school and the people are more open.
In Houston, it took me a much longer time to become visible at the Village School while here it took me only a couple of days.
But then again, I am a very pragmatic person. Even though I lost a bunch of friends, I knew that in two years, anyway, going off to college, I was going to lose those friends.
Q: Where did you live before Houston?
A: West Hartford, Connecticut. I was born in Connecticut and lived there for 14 years. I am the only member of my family born in the United States.
Q: Was your family affected by the floods in Houston?
A: Yeah, we were without power for 12 days. The water got up to about three-fourths of our driveway, and when we walked across the street, the water was up to about our knees.
We stayed at a friend’s house for 12 days when we had to evacuate.
Q: What was that whole experience like for you? Was it scary?
A: No, no, we were used to it. When we lived in Connecticut, we had a big snowstorm one October, where the mayor had to actually cancel Halloween.
There was so much snow, and since it started snowing before the trees had hardened for winter, a lot of tree branches started falling off and thousands of people were without power. The snow was up to about a meter and a half.
We were already used to big storms – for that storm we didn’t have power for 10 days.
Q: Where was the rest of your family born?
A: My sister and my dad were both born in Italy, while my mom grew up in Germany. The majority of my family is from Italy, which is why I can speak fluent Italian. I can also understand and speak a little bit of German.
Q: What part of Italy is your family from?
A: The Venetian area, north of Venice.
Q: Do you go to Italy a lot to visit your family?
A: We used to go yearly because all the grandparents, aunts and uncles are there, but we don’t go as often anymore. It has gotten much tougher.
Last year I volunteered at a hospital and did a few internships, so we weren’t able to go. We maybe go about once every two years now.
Q: What type of internships did you do?
A: Mostly medical internships. Houston is the hospital capital of the United States, so I volunteered at a hospital there.
I want to go into the medical field, specifically cardiovascular surgery, so I wanted to gain experience and see how comfortable I was in the environment.
Q: What type of work did you do in the hospital?
A: Basically, I would just help out in pre-op in urology. Other days I would watch the scans of people who got cardiac MRIs.
I also badgered my way into getting to watch a surgery. In the end I got to watch three cardiac surgeries from the observation dome on top of the operating room. I watched a valve replacement and an aortic repair.
Q: What was that experience like for you?
A: I was trembling in excitement and stood for seven hours watching them do surgery.
Q: Have you done any other internships?
A: I did a veterinary internship for a month last summer too. Since there are no privacy laws for animals, I got to watch the surgeries without having the owners’ or patients’ permission.
I could also stand super-close to the patient and sit next to them. I even got to hold a clamp (during) one of the hysterectomies.
Q: Do you have any pets yourself?
A: I do. I have a Shih Tzu named Poncho.
Q: Did Poncho come with you from Houston?
A: No, actually. Right now we’re living in a hotel, so he is staying with our friends in Houston.
The hotel does allow dogs, but we didn’t want to just leave him in the hotel room all day.
Q: What’s it like living in a hotel? Is it weird?
A: It really is. There is no privacy from my parents; I sleep in the same room as them.
Q: Are you guys moving out soon?
A: Yes. We should be getting the keys to our new townhouse at Selby Ranch apartments, right near school (soon).
Q: What do you do in your free time?
A: Well, I love to play tennis. Every time I’m on the court, I want to hit the ball faster and play better. I also really like to play against better players that can push me further.
I like watching educational YouTube videos too, just to have those random facts on hand.
—By Jack Christian