Breaking Libertyville Stereotypes

Cynthia Capota

By Hadley Van Der Bosch

Although senior Cynthia Capota was originally admitted to the University of Minnesota for the fall of 2016, after weighing all of her options, she decided to take a gap year and move to Minneapolis, the city where the university is located.

Capota plans to volunteer around the city and sees this as a way to gain career experience and build a resume. In addition, by moving there, she will be able to gain residency and receive in-state tuition.

“It made the most financial sense,” explained Capota. “And I have a lot of AP credit so I’ll still graduate within four years.”

With future aspirations to be a part of the Peace Corps, Capota believes it works perfectly with her ultimate career plan.

I want to get a lot of volunteering done so that I can get an introduction to a public service career in which I’ll be giving up a lot of myself in order to help others.”

Monica Martin

By Emily Yates

Like most high school seniors, Monica Martin didn’t know exactly where she wanted to go to college and what she wanted to do with her life, so instead, she decided to take her parents’ suggestion and pursue a gap year experience in Cologne, Germany.

“For some people, [a gap year is] going to be finding out exactly what they want to do, taking opportunities, and for other people, they just need some time off,” said Martin.

Martin will be staying with her oma, a German word for grandma, while completing a sixth-month internship as a preschool teacher. From there, her options are endless. She could stay in Europe to complete her schooling or return home to America.

She plans on receiving a higher education and perhaps even joining the Peace Corps. Martin said she hopes to mature over the next year while taking on many new responsibilities and finding her passions.

Barbara Garcia-Stam

By Maddie Werner

Spanish-speaking senior Barbara Garcia-Stam decided to take her aunt’s advice to spend a year in Madrid, Spain, beginning this fall. Garcia-Stam will embark on an adventure to live with family, become more proficient in Spanish, help tutor her younger cousins in English, and travel around Europe.

Garcia-Stam plans to live with her grandma and take a course at a university in Madrid to receive her Spanish proficiency diploma so that she can attend school there if she wishes to. Despite her proficiency in terms of speaking and reading, she said she needs polishing in terms of writing and grammar to be able to write essays for school.

She plans to live in Madrid for a year and if it goes well, she wants to stay there and study special education as well as get a job. If not, she would attend either Montana State University or Illinois State University.

While Garcia-Stam is nervous about meeting people her age because the school offers the Spanish proficiency diploma to all ages, she reflected: “I thought about it a lot and there’s no other time I can do this.”

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Gabi Munoz

By Hadley Van Der Bosch

Since she was a child, senior Gabi Munoz knew she wanted to spend her college years abroad. Although she applied to many domestic schools mainly located on the west coast, Munoz has be thinking about Europe since she was in 6th grade.

“The first school I had my mind set on was Oxford,” stated Munoz. “But then once I finally started looking into schools, I found Franklin and thought it would be a better fit.”

Although not entirely sure, Munoz intends on majoring in Environmental Studies with a double minor in Social Justice and Sustainability and Psychology while at Franklin University Switzerland.

Despite the fact that she applied to many different types of schools, Munoz stated that the process was relatively simple, noting that although Franklin is a school abroad, it is both American- and Swiss-accredited, meaning it awards the same credits as schools in the United States.

While weighing her options for schools, Munoz feels that one of the most compelling factors of Franklin is its emphasis on a global society, which places focus on relationships between countries, and travel.

“Each semester a group of 20 to 30 kids goes to another country and they spend about two weeks there just learning about something that correlates to their studies,” mentioned Munoz. “I’ve always wanted to travel, so I thought, why not start now?”

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Rees Pilizzi

By Maddie Werner

Taking advantage of his Canadian dual citizenship, senior Rees Pillizzi is heading to the University of British Columbia in Vancouver (UBC) this fall. He got the idea to attend a Canadian university after reconnecting with an old family friend who was also planning to do the same. He instantly fell in love with UBC’s beautiful campus after visiting his junior year.

Pillizzi applied to three or four schools in Canada and none in America: “The application process wasn’t much different from here in the States. The only difference was in response time because I applied in October and didn’t hear back until March.”

Pillizzi plans to study science and business and while he did not choose the university solely because of its lower cost, he feels it’s an amazing bonus to this top university. UBC costs approximately $15,000 a year including tuition and room and board.

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Ryan Bever

By Emily Yates

Senior Ryan Bever chose to forgo his U.S. college alternatives, including Indiana University and the University of Illinois, two of the typical colleges his peers choose to attend, in pursuit of an international dream.

Bever will begin his journey abroad in Bonn, Germany, where he will be participating in an extremely competitive one-year language training program. He will be taking classes, living with a German family, and completing internships in preparation for a career in international business.

“I believe that the only way to perfect a language is to go to the country itself and learn it,” said Bever.

The application process was intensive, and he was selected as one of 25 Americans after 10 essays, three teacher recommendations, and an interview. After this one-year program, Bever hopes to attend Calvin University in Holland.

Everyone that I’ve heard from that has taken a gap year said it was the best year of their life, so I thought I might as well. You’re only 18 or 19 once,” explained Bever.

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Will J. and Paul M.

By: Emily Yates Reporting By: Manal Ahmed and Alo Garcia Escobar

Paul Manfredini and Will Johnson will be attending the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York, one of the most selective service academies in the nation.

“I really want to be a leader and an officer in the military and I know that there are many different routes and other candidate schools, but West Point is known for developing leaders,” Johnson said.

Both Manfredini and Johnson had to complete an intensive application process that included a traditional college application, including standardized test scores as well as a candidate questionnaire during their junior year and a nomination from a congressman. They were also required to complete a Candidate Fitness Assessment and a medical exam.

This will not be Johnson’s first experience at military school, as he actually completed his freshman year at  St. John’s Northwestern Academy in Delafield, Wisconsin, where he first learned about West Point and what it has to offer.

Manfredini has chosen to focus on a program specialized for the Air Force, while Johnson hopes to pursue more land-based military service.

Although graduates of West Point are obligated to complete five years of active service duty, Manfredini plans to serve for much longer than that.

“It’s my turn to do something. We’re very lucky with our privileged lives here. I just want to help out,” Manfredini exclaimed.
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Aaron Hedlund

By Maddie Werner

This fall, senior Aaron Hedlund will head to an eight-week boot camp held in New Jersey in preparation for enlistment in the United States Coast Guard. Hedlund didn’t always know he wanted to go into the military: “It’s kind of a recent thing because they have a connection with homeland security now, so it’ll get me experience in the law enforcement area.”

Hedlund hopes to begin college and get his associate’s degree and then finish his bachelor’s degree so he can land a career in either maritime enforcement (consisting of boarding ships and catching smugglers) or federal law enforcement.

Hedlund is currently undergoing an extensive and costly background check because of the Coast Guard’s ties with homeland security and law enforcement. While he doesn’t know if he will be able to easily pick his destination after boot camp, Hedlund would like to go to the Florida area because there’d [be] a lot be smuggling problems there, he said.

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Photos by Hadley Van Der Bosch