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Holladay Journal

Cottonwood High student works toward dream of becoming a doctor

Dec 10, 2020 09:28AM ● By Heather Lawrence

Cottonwood senior Will Sintyl holds his certificate from the prestigious Congress of Future Medical Leaders, which he attended this year. (Photo courtesy Will Sintyl)

By Heather Lawrence | [email protected] 

Cottonwood High senior Will Sintyl has big dreams. When his mom had health problems, Sintyl and his twin sister Kiki came to live with family in Utah. He’s worked hard to get on the honor roll, and the twins have flourished in Cottonwood’s ESL program. His hard work was recognized when Sintyl was recommended for a coveted place at the Congress of Future Medical Leaders at Harvard this past spring. 

“The Congress was a three-day event, and there were only a few other students from Utah there. To be accepted, you have to be recommended by a teacher. So, it was a surprise to me. I’ve always loved serving people and wanted to be a doctor,” Sintyl said. 

At the congress, high school students attend workshops and hear “grandmaster” speakers. Speakers include winners of the Nobel Prize and recipients of the National Medal of Science. Students are given advice on what to expect in a program by deans from top medical schools. 

“After all the workshops and seminars, I felt that I really want to be a cardiologist. And I thought, ‘I can do this,’” Sintyl said. 

Cottonwood counselor Lorraine Behling is a site coordinator for the Utah State University STARS GEAR UP! program. She used the program to help Sintyl receive funding that covered the cost of the congress. 

“This was life-changing for me, and my family has been so supportive. Even though the event had to be virtual this year, I loved learning about Harvard. I want to attend there,” Sintyl said. 

Nancy Veit is a close friend of the Sintyl family and a nurse practitioner. She believes Sintyl not only has the intelligence to become a physician, but he has something more—ambition and drive. 

“He’s so bright and so quick. Intelligence is one thing, but what will always make the difference is your focus and ability to work. He has that persistence and drive for perfection. If he gets a 90% on a test, he retakes it if he can. They are both smart and courageous kids,” Veit said. 

Veit marvels at the progress the twins have made, and laughs about their communication efforts when they first moved to the Millcreek area. 

“They are both wonderful students, but they came to this country not speaking English. Their native language is Haitian Creole, and they speak French and a little Spanish. We were using phone translations the first few months they were here, which was pretty hilarious,” Veit said. 

Sintyl is preparing for a pharmacy tech program, something his sister-in-law Sharla Sintyl helped him find. He said the support of family in Utah and Haiti has meant a lot to him.  

“I have teachers who really believe in me, and they helped me with this program. And my family is the biggest support. They are pushing me to try new things; they support me in whatever I do,” Sintyl said.   

Cottonwood’s principal Terri Roylance loves that Sintyl is being recognized for his efforts. “He is an outstanding young man in every way. His twin sister Kiki is equally wonderful. 

“[Sintyl] is very goal-oriented and wants to go to medical school. I have no doubt that this will happen for him. I’m so proud of him. He represents himself, his family and our school in an exemplary way,” Roylance said. 

Sintyl hopes he can show people that when you have a dream, no matter how big, with hard work and the right support you can make it happen.  

“My advice for all the teenagers that are coming up in this generation is that the hardest things in life are the ones that are most worth it in the end,” Sintyl said. “Especially if you are struggling with depression and anxiety, this is part of life. You can face it. You can do anything you want, you can become whatever you want to be. If you can dream it, you can become it.”