Mason Lyle: A Passion for Learning

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Students That Shine

Mason Lyle at Corona del Mar High School.
— Photo by Sara Hall

Mason Lyle loves to learn.

The Corona del Mar High School senior loves to learn about anything and everything.

His favorite subject this year is physics, and overall, his favorite subject is life sciences. According to his grades, his least favorite subject would be English, but personally, he can’t pick one that he actually dislikes.

“I don’t think I could condemn a subject to be least favorite,” he said.

His top choice for college is Princeton University, and he plans to study public policy and neuroscience.

But there’s more to him than just excellence in academics.

“My GPA is (good) but it’s not what defines my success,” Lyle said.

“It is clear that Mason pursues knowledge in all subjects for personal enrichment far more than for a grade,” said Laura Mayberry, a US history teacher at CdMHS. “He is persistent and always looking to better himself.”

He also spends “an obscene amount of time” on the internet, learning, researching, and discovering, he said. He has a promise to himself to learn 10 new things every day, which could be words, theories, formulas or anything else that piques his interest.

Sometimes he will just delve into Google Scholar, reading research papers on neuroscience or learning about various political figures around the world.

The 17-year-old’s favorite word: “subjugate.”

Defining moment: Meeting Bill Clinton.

“That was very satisfying. That probably defines who I am now more than anything,” he said.

He is involved with several clubs and campus activities, including the Human Relations Council, Philosophy Club, Youth in Government, Trident Magazine, Newport Beach City Youth Council, and the CdMHS ultimate Frisbee team.

“Between his political passions and his passions about how people treat each other, he’s just so great for our school, he’s a great leader,” said Denise Weiland, the HRC advisor and CdM’s service learning coordinator. “We expect big things from Mason.”

He also recently launched his self-published novel, “Withering Harmony.”After all his years of hard work, he finally feels as though he has exceeded his standards and expectations.

But it’s been a long road.

Lyle was born in Seattle and lived in Huntington Beach and Murrieta before his family came to Corona del Mar.

He attended public school until the third grade, and then was home schooled until he enrolled at Corona del Mar for his freshman year.

Home schooling fit his style of learning better, he said. While at public school, he didn’t excel grade-wise.

“My idea of what was doing well was not doing what my teachers told me to do, it was doing exceptionally well in learning everything,” Lyle said. “I was a very curious kid.”

His home schooling has helped him excel now in high school, he said.

He is campus standout in other ways as well, Mayberry added, he is well respected by his teachers and peers alike and he is the first to lend a helping hand to people in need.

He is currently the president of the Human Relations Council. The HRC focuses on racial equality and ethnic recognition.

“Mason has always been conscientious about the human relations issues on our campus and very passionate about it,” Weiland said.

He’s really inspiring for his peers, she added, leading others in the right direction.

He has even bigger ideas for the rest of the country and the world.

“I definitely see that there is a need to unite the federal government, the FDA, and people’s understanding of how medicine and science works and serves them,” Lyle said, “because only after we allow science to work for the people, will the people start to work for science.”

He has also always had an interest in sociology, human policy and political science, which are part of what he explores in his novel.

When he was young, while still in public school, writing was “not on the radar, at all,” he said. A few teachers told him that he would never be able to write or string a sentence together.

As his home schooling progressed, his writing skills improved and he began to enjoy studying English.

“I learned to like to string those sentences together,” he said.

The idea for the book came from the 2008 elections, he explained.

“I saw this huge push for the idea of national unity, whenever they talked about foreign policy,” he said.

So he began thinking of what the world might be like if humanity was one entity, if it was a one government world.

“But then I realized that wouldn’t happen because people are always disagreeing,” he said. “There’s always two sides to everything.”

The next closest thing would be a two government world and they would most likely be at war, he said, and that made a great back-story for the budding novelist.Then he noticed that each candidate would claim that everything would fall apart and the government would collapse if their opponent was elected.

He started thinking about that idea and a story was born.Writing the book is a satisfying accomplishment, he said, especially considering that his lowest grades have been in English and others discouraged him for not learning in the more traditional methods.

“If you’re an outside of school kind of learner, then definitely don’t let getting B’s or lower grades deter you,” said Lyle, adding that it was important that he worked hard and learned in his own way. “Don’t let your work ethic be put down, by anyone.”

Do you know a student that shines? Email nominations to [email protected]

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