Graduating Century High senior has a head for hard numbers, soft heart for people

Century High School senior Sterling Mead isn’t one to brag, but the quiet demeanor that allowed him to succeed as a peer tutor also led to a wide array of accomplishments in his four years at the school.

“He is a very humble person. You just don’t know all these things that he’s done,” said Lyndsay Frazier, who runs the Knight Support tutoring service on campus.


“He was super proficient in math and that is highly sought out in our school for student teachers,” she continued. “He has a wonderful way about being patient with students.”

That mix of excellent soft skills with a talent for hard math and science defined a great deal of Mead’s career at Century, beginning with his decision, as a freshman, to join the school’s Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics, or STEM academy.


“I wasn’t sure if I wanted to go STEM or BIM [Business Information and Management] and it was stressing me out,” he said. “I ended up going STEM. I decided that I had to go all in for it in order to get the most out of it. If you find out it’s not for you it’s just as helpful as finding out that it is for you.”

It turned out STEM was for Mead, and as the sophomore he secured a two-year internship with Northrop Grumman, working with mentors there once a month on a project of his choosing.

“Over the summer they sent me to Johns Hopkins to take the intro to engineering class,” he said. “That was awesome, and Northrop paid for it. That was probably one of the most invaluable experiences I was given.”

Mead also played soccer for Century all four years, three of which were on the varsity team.

“I was their varsity captain senior year, that was nice,” he said.

And that leadership role on the team tracks with what Frazier said about Mead’s leadership in her classroom as a student teacher.

“He is older than his age. Great listener and can tell back what you are telling to him. He is willing to try anything, he’s interested in people and helping people,” she said. “The world is not about Sterling, the world is about Sterling helping the world.”

Next up for Mead is a another internship at Northrop Grumman, this time paid, beginning over the summer, and then, college at the University of Maryland.

Century High School claimed the Carroll Cup for 2018-19.

“I am headed to College Park and I am going to be majoring in mechanical engineering,” he said. “I like the mobility and the demand of it right now.”

But for the beginning of a career, Mead said, Northrop Grumman sounds like a good start — he likes the public spirit of defense contracting.

“It’s cool but it’s also fulfilling to know it’s not just commercial,” he said. “It’s not being in the military, but I like the idea that it’s for our government. If I was older and I was just working, I think that would be something to be proud of.”

New beginnings also require goodbyes, and Mead said he will certainly miss the connections he has made at Century.


“Everybody that I know and everybody that knows each other, it’s like a huge, huge family,” he said. “I think that’s the best thing I have got to experience thus far and what I will miss the most.”

And for those he’s leaving behind, or perhaps about to embark on a career at Century?

“I don’t think it matters what you do exactly as long as you go for it, and you commit yourself and apply yourself,” Mead said. “No matter what you do that’s how you do the best you can.”

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