Meet Commonwealth Students: Wyatt ’24, Guitarist, Activist, Robot-ist

Though he's a fixture in Commonwealth's Jazz Band, when Wyatt ’24 took to the stage to duet James Taylor’s “Carolina in My Mind” at our fall talent show, his warm baritone, precise guitar picking, and understated stage presence evoked Taylor himself. Keep reading to learn more about this troubadour, including his jazzier musical influences, his work with the Boston Mayor's Youth Council, his time on Commonwealth’s Robotics Team, and his surprisingly strong opinions about grilled cheese…

Getting to Know You

What is your favorite book or movie (or a book or movie you’ve re-read/re-watched)?

I’ve watched Now You See Me more times than I’d care to admit. Seeing the ideas of misdirection and illusion taken to such extremes is really fascinating and entertaining.

What do you think is the most intriguing paradox?

Zeno’s dichotomy paradox made me stop and think for a bit.

When do you feel the most enjoyably challenged?

In Robotics Club, the first few steps of designing a competition robot are always the hardest. Once we have assessed what we need the robot to do and have designed functional mechanisms, the building process takes off.

What never fails to make you laugh? 

Whenever my dog returns from a walk, he gets this burst of energy and runs laps around the living room. Always hilarious.

What are your favorite comfort foods? 

Anything but grilled cheese. It’s boring on its own! But if you add ingredients, it becomes a melt, which has the potential to be good…

Pen or pencil? 

Nothing beats a Staedtler mechanical pencil!

Coffee or tea?

I prefer tea, but coffee is my go-to when I need a boost of energy.

Fall, winter, spring, or summer?


Life as a Commonwealth Student (and Beyond)

What was your first impression of Commonwealth and how has it mapped to your experience? 

[Before coming here] I knew Commonwealth as a small, rigorous high school in two brownstones located three and a half blocks away from my house. While all of this is true, the tight-knit community has arguably been the most important part of my experience. 

Using metrics besides grades, how do you define “success” in your classes?

I would define success as having a genuine understanding of the material that I learn and being able to apply it and make connections to things outside of class.

How do you spend your time outside of Commonwealth?

When I’m not at school or doing homework, I’m usually practicing guitar (or some other instrument), participating in sports (sailing and fencing!), or working on the Mayor’s Youth Council…

Speaking of the Boston Mayor's Youth Council; what led you to this opportunity, what does it entail, and what do you hope to glean from it?

I found out about MYC through a Commonwealth email. I’m on the Streets, Housing, and Neighborhood Development committee, where we’re in the early stages of planning a drive to collect winter gear for teens living in poverty throughout Boston. I hope to make an impact and gain leadership skills while on the council.

When do you feel most connected to other students (or teachers/staff members) in our community?

It would be hard to say anything other than during Jazz Theory. Ranging from a one-on-one to a two-on-one [seminar], depending on the day, the course feels like an engaging series of conversations. 

Tell us about your guitar practice; how would you describe your style and influences? What’s it like jamming in Jazz Band?

I’ve been playing guitar for as long as I can remember, and jazz became my focus since joining Commonwealth’s Jazz Band [as a ninth grader]. When everyone is coordinated, it's great to see what the group can pull together. In terms of influence, B.B. King, Jimi Hendrix, and John Mayer come to mind. I’m beginning to hear their styles subtly intertwine with my improvisation, which is rather neat.

How has your Commonwealth experience colored the way you look at the world? How you plan for your future? 

My time at Commonwealth has shown me the importance of a liberal arts education. I will always value being well-rounded in skills and knowledge.

What’s your advice for prospective students considering Commonwealth?

High school is your chance to try things that you may not otherwise have the opportunity to do. Join clubs that sound interesting, try a sport that you know nothing about, and take electives!

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