June 2017 | Sibling Spotlight | And then there were three…

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Elias Stehr has a 20 year old brother in Germany, but for this year he has had the privilege of being the oldest in his American family. His “brother” and “sister,” Sebastian and Karina Sisi, are actually related but Elias is spending the year in America as an exchange student. It is a great experience, but it comes with a price. “I leave this country after this school year,” he said. “I repeat the 11th grade.” Although he will have to go through the same grade again in the fall, he will have already taken a step toward one of his goals. “After graduation, I want to travel around the world,” said Elias. The experience has been worth the challenge. “The school is very different from German schools. I really like the way American teachers teach, especially Mr. Marciel,” he said.

Sebastian, Karina and Elias don’t mind sharing the Armijo campus, but for different reasons. As a freshman, Karina likes the fact that she can hang out with them, although that can also be a challenge. Sebastian, on the other hand, likes to be able to “ask them for food,” he said. Elias has a different reason altogether. “I can get a ride home,” he said. “In Germany I have to take the train.”

Having an exchange student can take some of the attention away, according to Sebastian. “All of my friends ask questions about Elias and about Germany,” he said. “Our household is weird. My mom as a teacher at a school I go to and a foreign exchange student lives with us. It’s pretty chill.”

Since Sebastian and Karina are only a year apart, they have gone to most of the same schools, but that will probably end when Sebastian graduates. He hasn’t made any long-term plans but his choices do not align with those of his sister. “I’d like to keep playing football for as long as I can, but to be more realistic, I’m pretty good at welding. I thought about being a history teacher, too. My father works at Pier 39 and that interests me as well.” Karina, however, wants to go to college, maybe UC Berkeley. “I’m still not sure what I’m going to do, but I want to do something involving art since that’s my hobby,” she said. When she gets bored, she either draws or watches movies, especially Disney movies.

All three are athletic but all focus on different sports. In Germany, Elias played soccer. Karina played volleyball for Armijo and Sebastian plays football. Only Karina has chosen to be involved in campus clubs and, for her, that means being a member in the Gay-Straight Alliance (GSA), where her mother serves as an adviser.

Elias believes that his German brother would consider him self-confident “because I’m in America for one year,” he said. Sebastian thinks that Elias and Karina would describe him as annoying “because I bother them 24/7.” Karina thought that Elias and Sebastian would also describe her as annoying, but also as “fairly smart because I bother them and I get better grades then them,” she said.


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June 2017 | Sibling Spotlight | And then there were three…