A Serene Place for an Escape

Growing up on the Mountain: Scott Turnbull

Almost immediately after being born, 21-year-old Scott Turnbull, Rim of the World High School graduate and student at the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA), was brought to the mountain.

For most of his childhood, he recalled enjoying all of the things the mountain has to offer. This includes the environment, the snow — especially the snow days, he emphasized — hiking trails, and more.

“As a little kid, I remember being fascinated whenever it would snow,” Turnbull said. “My brother and I would go out and sled in the empty lot next to our house and [in terms of snow days] have a full day of enjoyment out in the snow.”

He noted that he misses the snow. Every once in a while when it snows, his parents will send him photos of the beautiful white fluff that has fallen, but when he has the time to return to the mountain, most of the snow is “already gone” or “dirty,” he commented.

Turnbull grew up in Crestline and attended Grandview Elementary. He remembers really enjoying going to school there. After elementary school, he attended middle school at Mary Putnam Henck (MPH), and this, he said, was where his interest in sports began.

When he became a student at MPH, Turnbull started running with his dad, got involved in soccer and took lessons with tennis coach Scott Smith. His passion for sports grew from there, especially his love and excitement for tennis.

As he transitioned as a student from MPH to Rim of the World High School, Turnbull decided to join the tennis team as a freshman and dedicate his time to only one sport—but his passion for all other sports did not end.

During his senior year at Rim High in 2014, he was playing as the number one singles player and, not only did the boys tennis team win the league title that year, but they made it to the CIF Playoffs and advanced all the way to the finals. Unfortunately, the team was eliminated during the final round of CIF playoffs. Turnbull mentioned that, although it was disappointing to not win, he was grateful for making it that far.

“I don’t play on a tennis team now,” Turnbull said, referring to his time in college, “but I still play recreationally and it is a lot of fun.”

At Rim High, he felt that he had support from his teachers and friends all throughout his four years, which is something that not every student has elsewhere. “If you compare it to the Los Angeles school system, I don’t think people really have that feeling,” he observed. “Students are constantly transferring, coming and going but, on the mountain, we have a good class camaraderie.”

Currently, Turnbull is a junior at UCLA, studying Micro-Biology and Genetics. He credits his interest in biology to the mountain environment, his grandparents and Mr. Williams, who was his AP Biology teacher at Rim High.

“My grandparents were very scientifically minded,” he said. “As a child, I liked to explore that topic while out in the forest; it makes you engage with nature and the science behind nature.”

As his final year at UCLA approaches, Turnbull plans to study and ready himself for the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT). Even though he does not know what the future has in store for him, medical school or graduate school for Micro-Biology are calling his name. As for his life on the mountain, nothing will ever compare.

“The mountain is my escape—it is such a serene place,” he concluded. “The community has given me a lot of support, more so than you would get in other places. I owe it all to the teachers and friends I had in high school for being there for me and supporting me.”