Liam Urrutia will always remember his first day at Serra High School. He was far from what he knew to be home -- 12,643 km and a time difference of 17 hours to be exact. Liam attended St. Kevin’s College in Melbourne, Australia before coming to Serra. But it didn’t take Liam long to feel at home.
A member of the soccer team all four years, the tennis team from sophomore year through senior year, Liam was also a member of the California Scholarship Federation and the Trivia Club all four years. Senior year, Liam held the position of president of the Tri-M Music Honors Society, and was a member of the National Honors Society this year. Liam played in the symphonic and pep bands freshman through junior year and the jazz band junior and senior year. He was also involved in Campus Ministry, with Gatepath Burlingame and CALL Primrose. Liam also worked as a freelance reporter for the Serra Friar.
In the fall, Liam is off to UC Irvine to study economics and pre-med. He hopes that in 10 years he will be finishing med school.
“Afterward, I hope to be either a general surgeon or an anaesthetist -- I haven't decided whether it will be pediatric or adult yet,” he said.
His path to medicine may have been paved after the many years of surgical procedures he endured as a young child.
“I was born with a condition called Tracheo-oesophageal fistula/atresia (TEF/TOF). This meant I was fed through a stomach tube and that my lungs were compromised,” Liam said. “After seven years, many surgical procedures and eating/speech therapy sessions, I was finally able to overcome my challenges and eat and play like the rest of the kids.”
Liam holds many memories from his years at Serra, including trips to Taco Bell, formals and proms, football games, jungle games and Disneyland trips with the music program.
Liam said Serra helped him realize that there is more to life than just being a good scholar.
“Serra taught me that, above all else, it is important to be a good person, and it really shows in the attitude of the students and the teachers there,” he said. “There have been so many teachers that have helped me immensely in the last four years-- Mr. Vogel, Mr. Taylor, Ms. Lee, Mr. Strange, Dr. Meegan, and Mr. Ferrando--all of these teachers have contributed to my growth as both a student and a person in helping me to realize that there's no point being a good student if you're not a good person to match.”
Liam’s favorite Serra tradition would have to be the brotherhood, he said.
“The brotherhood at Serra allowed me to open up and be the person I really am, and to not hide my true self,” Liam said. “I aspire to keep this attitude for the rest of my life. Siempre adelante!”
Liam is especially thankful for his friends and family who have stood by his side during his high school journey.
“My family has been here every step of the way, and they always believed in me even when I didn't,” Liam said. “I would also like to thank all my American friends, for not only making me feel welcome, but also staying by my side and being good Padres.”
As for his friends and family back in Australia, “Thank you for staying true to who you are and keeping our promise of making time for each other.”
Congratulations, Liam! All the best to you in your pursuit of your dreams!