by Clara Smith & Eric Oberman
As WHS’ resident Renaissance man, senior Leonidas Tolias’ wide range of talents continues to grow, ranging from engineering and computer science to photography and music.
At a young age, for example, Tolias began experimenting with circuit boards. Said Tolias: “I liked seeing how things worked. I usually couldn’t [put things back together], but I broke apart everything I owned and tried to figure out what made them work.”
Soon, he started making gadgets of his own. Most recently, he made a coil gun, and rigged a light meter on a vintage camera so that it would work with modern batteries.
Tolias said that his desire to learn about the mechanics of cameras led to a love of photography, and he now uses his technical knowledge to take pictures in new and creative ways. Specifically, he is interested in imaging engineering, which he described as the application of innovative engineering to photography.
According to Tolias, he has six cameras, but he said that his iPhone is the best camera that he owns. “I always have it in my pocket and it takes awesome photos,” he added.
In addition to the visual sciences, he has been closely involved with the computer science program at WHS. After completing an independent study in computer science, Tolias took AP Java and helped revise coursework for the Computer Science I curriculum, according to Computer Science Teacher Mr. Martin Maruschak.
Said Maruschak: “[Tolias] is very, very, very curious. As soon as he finds something that’s interesting to him...he runs with it.”
Tolias’ interests also expand beyond the sciences; he is equally as enthusiastic about music. He has been playing piano since he was three years old, and according to the New Jersey Music Teacher’s Association, is the sixth-best pianist for his age in the state.
Tolias’ friend, senior Stephanie Tepper said, “Whether he’s telling you about his latest project or playing his music, you just can’t help but be interested.”
Added Tolias, “I have really excelled [musically], and I’m proud of that.”
He also is a second degree black belt in taekwondo, volunteers weekly at the local Greek Orthodox church, longboards, plays hockey for WHS and speaks three languages besides English.
“I very much enjoy doing all these things, so it’s not much of a burden,” said Tolias. “I’ve done a lot of things. I don’t have regrets about not doing anything.”