Generational Wildcats

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Many move away after finishing school, continuing the next chapter of their lives somewhere new. However, some choose a different path: staying in Libertyville, close to where they grew up. Home sweet home, as they say. There are quite a few families that have attended LHS for multiple generations; read below to learn about some of these families’ first-hand generational Wildcat experiences.

 

The Stones

Junior Kevin Stone and sophomore Katie Stone have a far-reaching history at Libertyville High School. Both their parents, Lisa Michel and Rick Stone, and all of their siblings attended LHS: “My mom was the youngest of nine kids who went here, so she had lots of siblings that pretty much every teacher would have known because they were bound to have had one class with [one of] the nine kids,” Kevin said, laughing. “My dad was one of the oldest in the family so it was kind of the same deal — they would know the Stones.” Lisa’s siblings are Patricia, John, Tom, Timothy, Katie, Robert, Ray, and Peggy and Rick’s are David, Michelle, Doug, Bobbi, and Brett.

Both members of the math team at the time, Lisa and Rick met and became friends. Katie explained how the pair didn’t begin dating until after college — their father attended the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and their mother attended Northwestern University — when they both moved back to Libertyville. Lisa, a newly licensed math teacher, worked for a few years at LHS before transferring to Vernon Hills High School when it opened, and eventually switched districts. This experience at District 128 strengthened connections with the faculty and staff here, furthering the reasoning behind why so many teachers seem to recognize the Stone family name.

During his freshman year, Kevin had a substitute teacher who recognized the Stone name and asked about his parents. He claimed to have known the whole Michel and Stone families, as “he was teaching when they were both here,” Kevin remembered. “He’s one of the only people that has been around since the ‘80s, so that was cool.”

Another way their family is often remembered is by the athletic achievements of the Michel side. Lisa participated in cheerleading, gymnastics and twirled baton for the marching band. Being so busy — during the fall season in particular — she would cheer on the sidelines of football games, quickly change into her baton uniform for the halftime show and then change back to cheerleading, according to Kevin. In the spring, she participated on the track team and held the LHS record for the 100-meter hurdles from 1989 all the way until 2014. As a current member of the track team, Katie added that “my mom loves to tell me how things are different now [on the track team].” Lisa’s siblings were athletes too; her older brothers were involved in both football and baseball.

One of the most significant changes from LHS then versus now is the building; when Rick and Lisa attended, they spent their freshman year in the Brainerd building before the school moved to the campus still in use today. Just a couple of years ago, Rick bought some bricks from Brainerd when it was being torn down and gave them to his siblings.

 

The Kuhlmans

Allie Kuhlman is a senior and far from the first of her family to attend LHS. Her great-grandmother, Rae Reed, worked as the secretary to the superintendent of schools and later to the business manager from the 1950s through the 1990s. Rae’s two children, Doug and Karen — Allie’s grandmother — attended LHS as students. Karen graduated in 1957 before enrolling her three kids in the future: Kristin, Lee, and Allen Kuhlman — Allie’s father.

The most significant impact of being a third generation Wildcat for Allie has been being recognized by teachers who often either were teachers or classmates of her father, aunt, uncle or even grandmother. Even without personally getting to know certain adults, they already seem to know her due to family connections. “Knowing that some of my family members are on the wall, with the plaques,” is something else exciting for Allie that’s come with having relatives attend in the past and be heavily involved in activities — her aunt Kristin playing basketball, for instance.

One of Allie’s grandmother’s favorite memories is prom, which was “nothing like Navy Pier or the Aquarium,” Karen noted over text, referring to the prom locations of this and last year. Stuck at the school for the dance, she told how they “decorated the cafeteria ceiling with yards and yards of cheesecloth to make it look like a starry night for our ‘Evening in Paris’ theme!!”

Karen also pointed out some differences between the school then and now, in terms of both academics and athletics. While today, there are many AP classes available for students of all grade levels to take, “there were maybe four advanced placement classes available to seniors,” recalled Karen. There were also no organized girls sports at the time: “We had the GAA — Girls Athletic Association — and played sports with VERY different rules than today,” Karen explained.

When asked about her own future plans, Allie told how she plans to move to California, as she wants to move onto something new, outside of the Midwest. She is committed to the University of Redlands. However, she mentioned that she completely understands why many people do stay in the area to raise their kids because, as Allie put it, “you know that it’s a safe neighborhood and you went to school here so you know it’s a good school.”

 

The Humberts

Marty Humbert, a sophomore, has an extensive history at LHS, being a fourth-generation Wildcat. Recalling his family’s timeline, he told how it began with his great-grandfather, Harry Mobile, who graduated in 1924 — almost 100 years ago. His great-grandfather’s brother-in-law, Rocco Rinaldi, attended as well and was actually, interestingly enough, “the first kid to graduate from LHS that went to Rondout Elementary School,” Marty said over email.

Moving further down the family tree, Marty’s grandfather, Ron Mobile, was the town’s paper boy at the time and graduated in 1960. He was later followed by both of Marty’s parents — his mother, Sharon Mobile, in 1990 and his father, Jeff Humbert, in 1991. His father’s father, Al Humbert, coached football at the school from 1987 to 2015, and his siblings — Tim, Mark, Jennifer and Robin — all attended as students. Marty’s mother, Sharon, had a sister named Brenda who attended too. Marty’s sister, Abbey, and cousin, Hannah Smith — daughter of Brenda– have recently graduated. Hannah’s younger brother, Matt Smith, is a current LHS senior and a DOI editor. Finally, Marty had caught up to the present: “and then me; I’m the last one,” he said with a smile.

Conversations about LHS between Humbert family members often include discussing changes that have occurred on campus. Marty elaborated: “My grandpa always asks me like, ‘Oh, is this place still here?’ I’m like ‘No, it’s not.’” Much has changed, according to Ron. This is largely because he attended the Brainerd building, which, as he remembers, had a small auditorium, no pool and no fieldhouse. The old parking lot had a gravel surface, which differs from the current paved lot. When Ron was in high school, he recalls that the current baseball field was just an empty field they used for gym classes.

Apart from four generations of diploma receiving, ties with LHS have continued for the Humberts in a unique way: Marty’s father, the manager of a construction company, is currently helping work on the new pool being built. According to Marty, Jeff described the job assignment as fun, “knowing that his kid and other students get to use it [is] nice to know,” Marty explained. “Getting to be a part of that [is] exciting to help out the community.”

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