Q & A with returning student Ethan Otero (’21)


Photo by Gabriel Romualdo

Ethan Otero (’21) works with a middle school students during the lego robotics (First Lego League) after school program. Otero recently moved back to ASL after living in Singapore for two years.

Gabriel Romualdo, Staff Writer

Ethan Otero (’21) has had a life full of moving homes. Otero recently moved back to ASL after living in Singapore for two years, and has noticed the transition into life in London. Despite the fact that he’s moved so many times, he’s found one common connection: working with kids. In his own words, he just “gets” kids.

Now, back in London until he graduates, Otero is settling in at ASL, finding the most connection from mentoring middle schoolers in Lego Robotics.

So, how do you feel about returning to ASL?

A little bit mixed — I had really good friends back in Singapore, and I used to go around with them everywhere. Once I left ASL, I didn’t really think I was gonna move back, so I lost all contact with my old friends.

When I came back [to ASL], I mostly just went to open gym, down there 7:45 every day. I saw Rohit [Venuturupalli (‘21)] a couple of times, and he told me a lot of things had changed at ASL. I was a little bit scared first going into it, and for these past few weeks, I’ve just been reconnecting with old friends and making…new ones.

What have you found are the biggest changes you’ve seen returning to ASL?

Mostly high school. High school in Singapore is very different: you don’t have as much freedom… Also, there’s more leniency in class, and English relies on Harkness… which is very different to me.

Are you intending to do any interesting extracurriculars?

I want to join FTC  [First Tech Challenge]. I’m gonna try to get into that. Right now, I’m a First Robotics mentor — First Lego League. I’m part of MUN as well.

Tell me more about mentoring kids in [First Lego League] FLL.

I get little kids more than I get people in high school… I used to be really close with my babysitter’s son back in New York. I dealt with him really well because I knew how he thought. With First Lego League, I hope I can help [the kids] out, with the programming knowledge I had in Middle School, and also the project knowledge there. I just want to make sure they succeed where I did not because I never won.

Have you done any other activities working with children in the past?

Back in Singapore, I was the officer of a service club called Wish for Kids, where we ensured children in the Philippines had education. And I think that was kinda my way there [to help kids] because we didn’t have many mentorship opportunities there.

So what exactly did you do in that service program?

Donations were a big part of it. Every Tuesday, we went to the storage room of our school and gathered old textbooks, old clothing that was donated, and we tried to supply them to children in the Philippines. Once every year we’d have a service trip. I didn’t go, but I know [about it].

Do you think your experience there affected how you want to work with children?

I want to study economics when I’m older, but teaching has always been my thing. My sister doesn’t like when I teach, but I try to help others.