Gulliver Prep senior Julian Asilis has done something few high students can do – he scored a perfect score on the ACT exam—36 out of 36. Only 0.076 percent of all test takers score a 36, so this is a rare achievement.
It probably helps that Asilis is quite good at math, having entered the David Essner Mathematics Competition at the University of Miami. He’s strong academically overall and is good at debate.
He competes in the policy debate category with a partner. Policy debate teams are given topics for which they have to prepare arguments. They don’t know until shortly before the debate which side of the issue they will be on, so they have to know both sides well.
His freshman year, the topic was on domestic transportation infrastructure investment. Sophomore year it was the pros or cons of engagement with Cuba, Venezuela and Mexico. Last year it was the federal government’s non-military exploration of the oceans. This year they are debating whether the federal government needs to curtail domestic surveillance.
“Last year we finished ranked second in the State of Florida and in the top 60 in the country,” he says.
He says Coconut Grove’s Carrollton School of the Sacred Heart is the top ranked team.
“Debate is really fun ,” he says. “Every summer, I went to debate camp for seven weeks.”
Debate gives him the ability to travel since they attend debate meets around the country.
“We hop around all over the place,” he says.
“We had a tournament early at Emory University, a high school in Las Vegas, Nevada, and tournaments in Chicago and Kentucky.”
Locally, they go to a tournament at the Pinecrest School in Broward. In addition to the debate team, Asilis is a member of the National Honor Society, the Cum Laude Society and Mu Alpha Theta. He’s also president of the Spanish Honor Society.
“We go on local excursions,” he says. “We went to Little Havana and connected to the culture.”
He’s also connected to the children of the Dominican Republic. In the summer, he goes to a town in the Dominican Republic and spends several hours a day teaching the children English and working on art and music projects with them.
“Both of my parents were born and raised in the Dominican Republic,” he says. “So it’s close to home. I go and see the place they were raised. And do some community service.”
The organization he volunteers for has their own institution, which includes a day care system for working parents and a dental facility.
“The kids are checked in and out by the parents,” Asilis says. “They stay on the grounds of what they built over the years with their donations.”
His volunteering is fairly informal. He teaches them things like idioms (so the children can better understand English), art and music. In art, he’s taught them to paint murals. What he teaches depends on which pod he’s sent to.
“Me and one person can be in charge of the music,” he says. “The whole institution supports kids from one or two and up to 17. They are separated in pods. They have camp projects.”
As far as college, he’s applied for early action to Harvard. If he’s deferred, he’ll consider the University of Michigan, Columbia, and Berkley. He plans to major in statistics. He’d like to be a statistical consultant. “I could help companies evaluate things like polls,” he says. “I think it’s a dynamic field.”