Lila Schlissel: Class of ’23 Salutatorian


Mario Fuentes, Staff Writer

 “She’s just a walking icon,” says Grace Carey when speaking about her best friend, which sums up pretty well who Lila Schlissel is. Danbury High School is proud to present Lila Schlissel as Salutatorian for the 2022-2023 academic year. Lila’s exceptional academic achievements and incredible accomplishments have brought her to where she is today. Striving day by day to be the best version of herself. From her book, “Razing Questions,” to her influential book club, “Between the Spines,” Lila is set to leave a lasting impact on DHS. 


Lila has chosen Amherst College, a small liberal arts school in Amherst, Massachusetts with only around 1,700 students, as her next stop in her academic career. Applying early decision late last year and getting accepted, Lila chose Amherst for its open curriculum and five-college consortium which allows students the opportunity to take classes at four surrounding colleges in the area. Amherst is ranked as the second-best liberal arts college in America according to the U.S. News rankings. Lila credits one special professor for making her fall in love with Amherst. When reaching out to colleges regarding her potential interest, a lot of professors either gave brief responses or no responses at all. Then, a professor at Amherst emailed her to schedule a Zoom call to speak further about her interest. Lila stated “It really had an impact on me and it really showed the kind of people who work at Amherst College and who go to Amherst College. They chose it because they care about learning and because they care about other people.” Lila says that literature, physics, art, and history are all topics she takes interest in and plans to possibly pursue careers in.


Lila’s friends, who provided a glimpse at who she is inside and outside of school, also shared their admiration. Carey, a long-time friend who Lila shared dance classes with calls her “one of the most creative people I know, she is so hard working and talented that I am so inspired by her. I love her like a sister.” Pearl Chia has also worked with Lila a lot this past year, and will follow in Lila’s footsteps, taking her spot as National English Honors Society’s president after she graduates. Pearl states  “as a student, friend, and person in general, Lila is such a genuine and truly interesting person. Her interests range from literature all the way to music, movies, production, history… literally everything. She’s the type of person you can just sit with and chat to forever about anything at all without getting bored. She is such a trustworthy person. She has this incredible determination about her, and always finds a way to follow through on her word despite obstacles. Lila… she’s my partner in crime and one of the best friends I’ve ever had.”


Lila Schlissel’s profound love for literature and intellectual curiosity has not only been noticed by students, but also by her educators. Ms.Stankiewicz, Lila’s English teacher during the pandemic, spent time talking with her about the fascinating world of books and their deeper meanings in afterschool sessions Lila opted into, which would later become DHS’ book club, “Between the Spines.” “Lila is one of those rare students that as a teacher you will never forget because she is just so intrinsically motivated to learn. I feel like I have learned a lot from Lila as well,” states Ms.Stankiewicz. Mr.Hitchcock, Lila’s teacher and club advisor, says that he “was fortunate enough to have her in my AP Lit class where she was one of the brightest thinkers in the room…she was fortunate enough to become president of NEHS in her senior year and has completely changed the landscape of the club, I have never seen a more invested group of students work together and I think that’s in great deal to her motivation. She’s a good student because she wants to be and she is always putting her best foot forward.” 


One of the most impressive parts of Lila’s high school resume is all of her projects. Her podcast, which began as a project for NEHS, was to talk to listeners about her interests. The first episode consisted of her speaking about the short story “In a Grove” by Ryūnosuke Akutagawa from her sophomore English class. Lila shared that she “had loved the experience of that story so much and debating what was real and what was not, so I decided I would make it into my first episode.” For the next couple of episodes, Lila focused on Edgar Allen Poe and other famous authors. Lila intends on continuing to record the podcast this summer. Next on the list of passion projects was Between the Spines, Lila’s book club that was started with Ms.Stankiewicz. Lila made sure to make the club “for the members” instead of making it a serious commitment where students are preparing for competitions and stressing each other out. “I really started a book club because I want to find other people who want to talk about nerdy stuff like I do.” Ever since then, Between the Spines has held meetings every Wednesday and continues to have a dedicated group of members that show up every week. Lastly, Lila Schlissel even authored a book of poetry that is available for purchase on Amazon. Named “Razing Questions,” the book consists of Lila’s writings that have accumulated over the past couple of years. She “had so much fun doing it and [is] so proud of how it came out. I think that the fact that I can say I’m still proud of it a year later goes to show how important to me it really is.” 


Lila’s advice to students who want to find success at DHS was to prioritize mental and physical well-being. “Mental health is one thing but also prioritizing your physical health is important, making sure you’re sleeping, you’re hydrating… really does make a difference” and to “make time for the things that give you purpose.” Lila advises the upcoming class of 2027 to “get involved” and “not be afraid of asking for help.” 


Lila Schlissel’s journey as DHS’s Salutatorian for the 2022-2023 academic year highlights her extraordinary commitment to literature, academics, and intellectual growth. Lila has done so much for DHS and although it will be hard seeing her go, DHS wishes nothing but the best for her on her journey and can not wait to see what she does in the future.


Instagram to Lilas podcast: @englishstudentdigest


Razing Questions: