Humans of Libertyville
“My dad is like the coolest guy I’ve ever met. He was at the Tiananmen Square protest in China to fight the communist government. He’s lived a really cool life, and I also admire him because he’s sacrificed so much to be here so that I could have a good life. He’s such a devoted man who cares about others more than himself, and I would like to be like that,” said senior Lisa Zhao. ...
“My all-time favorite movie is Space Jam, with Michael Jordan, it's pretty much my number one [favorite]. I’ve watched it a million times. Michael Jordan is also my biggest role model, too. I mean, he didn’t even get onto his high school basketball team, but he just kept on pushing forward and persevering, and he actually was able to get to the NBA. He just has a really inspirational...
“[I’m] not really sure what I want to do in college, maybe go into business or start my own business because that’s what my dad did and I think that might be a good road to go down in life. There’s going to be a lot of obstacles [in life], but I think you should just use them as stepping stones to progress yourself,” sophomore Ethan Richter explained.
"So I switched schools my sophomore because my neighborhood got annexed into this district. [Moving] was very difficult because those were the kids that I grew up with. Those were the kids that I've been going to school with since preschool and coming here was really scary. I didn't know how I would meet new people and create the same bond I had with those people that I had at Warren. But I came here...
“My biggest passion at school would be music. I do basically everything music. I play flute so I basically do everything I can here. I do wind ensemble, pit orchestra, orchestra winds and percussion, marching band -- I’m one of the drum majors. I also do flute choir. I’m in chamber ensemble. I’m in bell choir, so I do literally everything music. I also really enjoy working with kids so that...
"At first I was scared to be a freshmen, but now I love it. I got this!" Freshman, Mark Plunkett
When asked what makes her happy, Layan Abdo responded cheerfully, "My friends and family. I enjoy spending time with them and surrounding myself with positive people." Sophomore, Layan Abdo
When asked why Bianca Johnson participated in the 2nd amendment protest, she responded that “Everyone should have a voice and you should be able to express what you think. It’s not really political. It’s more of self rights and what you believe in and what you think you should stand up for,” stated Johnson.
“I’ve always been a storyteller, but I’m not very good at expressing how I feel. Writing is so much easier because you get to have a structure and you get to organize your thoughts on one piece of paper...I love everything that has to do with literature. It’s just an art. I’ve been writing since I’ve known how to write” Junior Vanesa Stoynova, has kept a journal including an entry ev...
"Horses have basically become my life. Riding gave me my best friend. It pointed me in the right direction for college; I'm going to a school that has an equine based major. It also in general has made me a happier person. It kind of motivates me to keep going and it always puts me in a better mood". Senior Charlotte Jarrett has been riding horses since she was six years old.
“Ignorance is bliss. If you don’t know about something then you can’t worry about it”. Freshman Mia Vla states this about her first few months of high school, and just life in general.
"There are so many people at other areas other than Libertyville that are in harms way that are so hurt. We can talk about it and how wrong it is forever and ever but I just want to be able to start doing things instead of just saying what is wrong. I want to be able to start working towards fixing it" Sophomore, Olivia Gauvin is excited about what the future holds and the impact she wants to have...
“I like to show off my dancing, like at homecoming I just had a big crowd around me”, Stone states when asked if many people know about his skills. Kevin Stone is a hip-hop dancer at Dance Academy Libertyville. He is one of the very few male dancers at LHS. Not only does Stone dance, but he participates in cross country and gymnastics too.
“Well I like reading because you can learn the things that you want to learn, I like school but I think I like learning things more than I like school, because I don’t really like the structure of school...Specifically right now I want to be a computational astrophysicist, which means that you use computers, you use physics, and you use astronomy to make charts and graphs and simulations of stuff,...
Sophomore, Taylor Heimert was adopted and years later, she found a new gift, her sister. Through a series of emails, exchange of pictures, and a DNA test, Iris McLean was found to be Taylor’s biological sister. Taylor states her feelings reflecting back on the outcome of that chance,“I just feel really blessed by that happening to me and it’s just a gift that I was given and I don't know why....
"I feel the happiest probably here (at school). I'm not in the hospital surrounded by all negative things in my life. Here I just feel positive and I have a huge support system: my friends, my family, even my teachers are so understanding. I guess I am just my happiest when I'm here," junior Tomassetti stated.
“I love it!”, Hirons states when asked about her talent. Anna Hirons is a freshman harpist at LHS, one of the two that currently attend LHS. She has been playing this instrument for about five years, along with the cello since fourth grade.
"[It was] definitely when I scored the winning goal to win the sectional semis with 10 seconds left. I don’t remember some of it because I was just too hyped up," stated sophomore Evan Rasmussen, when reflecting on his favorite memory from the varsity boys soccer team's season.
“I've always wanted to make varsity, it's always been something I wanted to do," says Emma Peterson who is a Freshman at LHS. Peterson has been dancing since she was three years old-with the goal to make varsity ever since. Along with academic success, she is proud of being the only freshman on the varsity dance team!
"I definitely feel like an outsider. I mean sometimes I feel cool being black, because I am the only different person in the class. I am the one black person out of all these white people. I mean it's hard though. It was definitely hard moving here. My mom didn't tell me at all what kind of district or what type of community we would be living in. It was definitely a slap in the face and I feel like...
“You feel excited, you feel the rush. I mean, same with any other sport. You win a medal and you just feel proud. You feel like you’re doing something right,” freshman Claudia Moxo says about winning a karate tournament. Moxo started doing karate when she was six years old for self defense, and because it was one of the only sports girls could do in Spain. She is now a black belt.
“Even if something really bad is happening in your life like at that moment like big that affects your everyday life, it won’t be the same in 5 or 10 years, it’ll be different. There’s always change. You can’t use other people to make you happy, you have to be happy yourself.” Sophomore Gigi Ori always is known for having a smile and a positive attitude daily. She explains her mindset on con...
“Right now I really like hanging out with my friends because they are what keep me going when I am stressed out. They take away some of the pressures of everyday life. Whenever I am nervous I just call one of my friends over and we just hangout,” junior Neira said, who recently moved to Libertyville from Singapore.
"When I found out I was gay it was weird because before I was really shy. In elementary and middle school I spoke like five words. I hated being up in front of people or just with individuals, but for some reason when I came out, I became so much more confident with myself. Now I have no problem speaking out in front of class [or speaking] out of turn, which is not always the best. I do ge...
Annie Obereiner & Steven Donovan
"[Steven and I] have a Wednesday tradition. We go get breakfast before late start. I was eating a bagel from Einstein’s and he’s never been there before, so I was like, ‘Oh my gosh, we have to go!’ But this was before we were dating, and then we went, and then we just went ever since,” senior Annie Obereiner says. Obereiner and her boyfriend, Steven Donovan, have been dating for over a ye...
Ethan and Jared Robbins
Ethan - “You kind of have always someone to [to be] your own personal friend" Jared - "They know everything about you ‘cause they’re basically the same person” Ethan and Jared Robbins express their favorite and least favorite parts of being twins. The two Sophomores are identical twins. ...
“So my sister told me the night before about [the women’s march]. So, I thought it was going to be in front of Donald Trump’s building. But I realized how big the thing was actually going to be. So, I get there and I saw everyone from LHS and there’s like 20,000 people there and I was like oh my gosh, this is humongous. It was just such an amazing event and I felt called to do things for my...
“I basically have no life outside of animation, I just go home and just sit in my room and watch YouTube all night while animating,” shared senior Brandon Kolaczewski...“It all started [in 2015] when (animator) Monty [Oum] died and then I got into 3D animation. Then my grandpa died… Most recently my friend Josh Church died, so I've just been trying to use their memories to motivate me…When...
“[Cheer] really is a sport. I thought before I tried out that it wasn’t. But then, once I tried out, I realized that there’s a lot more to it than just cheering for a team.” Freshman Maguire Marth started cheer this past school year.
"When we went to China, well for one I had people asking to take pictures with me because of my blond hair. Then, we went to go see this Chinese play and as we were walking out, I was walking with my dad, and my sister and my mom were behind me and apparently this Chinese lady came up from behind me and pet my head because she wanted to touch the blond hair -- it was really weird and funny… I’m...
"It’s very tactile and fun to do with your hands. It’s also fun to see how fast you can go and try to improve yourself. You can set goals [for] how fast or what way you want to do it. The prestige in doing a Rubik's cube is regarded as that you have to be a genius to do it which is pretty cool." Sophomore Jake Duffy solves Rubik's cubes as a hobby and has never been unable to solve a cube. ...
"One of my morals is to just be nice to people," explained senior, Vicky Zygmunt. [Positive actions] really come back to you [and] make people’s days."
“[Theater] is a really unique way to express yourself and perform for others. And I love singing and dancing and acting; it’s just what I really like to do in life… I love it because you get to meet so many different people, and they’re not afraid to be themselves.” Freshman Sarah Donofrio started acting when she was six years old and has been in over 20 plays and musicals....
“Freshman year I was kind of like I’m trying everything out and I did Starlight Express, I did basketball that year and I also did track. I found that the most fun was the musical. Yes, it’s also stressful but it’s also fun - stressful, it gives you a rush and everything. Singing has always been my favorite thing to do so I decided I guess I’ll just pursue that because I found more joy out o...
"I love using art to send messages and tell stories and not just doing random pieces of art; those are cool, but I find no meaning in it sometimes. So this is a cool way to start using all my ideas about how angry I am about everything right now...It’s something I want to show without verbally saying it...For me, art just means the success you put into getting the point across. Whatever goal you...
"The top two things you need to succeed are motivation and determination," noted senior, Jonathan Rogin. "I think that kind of just speaks for itself because if you’re motivated to complete something and you’re determined [you can] block out any things that might stop you from getting things done."
“Some days you really feel like playing violin and you’re really excited to play it, and then other days you just don’t want to practice because you’d rather be hanging out with your friends or whatever. But if you want to get better, you really have to put in the time and find time every day.” Freshman George Harvey has been playing the violin since he was 4 years old and was concertmas...
“Moving here was absolutely the most [life changing experience]. I’ve been at the same school for my whole life. Then, suddenly moving here has changed my perspective on everything. Firstly, I had preconceived ideas of how it would be here because of movies. Also, online there was this girl that said ‘don’t move and go to school senior year, everyone is super cliquey and unfriendly.’ So,...
“I’m extremely passionate about music, specifically the band Twenty One Pilots. I’m currently in band and the golf team. I play the flute and piccolo. [Band] is a fun opportunity to play many different genres of music.” Freshman Lily Hieronymus has already joined a few clubs this year. She's trying to be involved and find things she's interested in.
“I get inspired by nice people, being positive, and being a good overall person. When people give me a nice gesture or say something that is nice in class, it goes a long way,” said sophomore Scott Johnston.
Mr. Jonathan Kim
"[My motivation to come to school everyday is] always about a passion for students and for people. Even for me, I like my content areas and the things that I teach, but the thing that makes it something that I want to come back to every single day is the people," said Mr. Jonathan Kim. Social studies teacher, Mr. Kim, is currently teaching his first year at Libertyville High School. ...
“I would be the first person in my family to actually go to college because my parents didn’t go because they’re from Mexico, and they didn’t receive the best education, so they came [to America]...I was the only one in my family born here. So they really encourage me and push me to do well just so I can go to college and just so I can actually graduate college, and in a way achieve my parent...
“So, I came out on this day a year ago. I was trying to do it on Bisexual Visibility Day. But, I lost the nerve. I was kind of nervous about it, because my parents and my family didn’t seem super accepting. They seemed pretty accepting of gay people, but not super accepting of bi[sexual] people. Some thought it was a phase or they didn’t think it was a real thing. So, I was a little nervous about...
“I am inspired by the teachers at LHS. They have a passion to create fun lesson plans for their students that make me excited to go to class Monday through Friday,” said Colin Furlong, a freshman at Libertyville High School.
“I got a detached retina when I was five. Basically, there was a tear in [my] retina. That wrecked my eye. They had to put a buckle around [my retina]. After both surgeries, I can see without glasses. Sometimes it’s hard to see in class, so I have to talk to somebody next to me [to see] what it says on the board,” said sophomore Zach Zaslavsky.
“I want to be an engineer when I grow up. I like [to be able to] express myself through creating. I’m going to an engineering camp at Michigan [University this summer]. I want to further my understanding of engineering and learn some new techniques and methods,” said sophomore William Gordon.
Mr. Brian Voss
“I [teach economics] because it helps understand human behavior, and I like sociology and politics, but [economics] kinda goes with it because you are able to incentivise people to do stuff. So [economics], I think, is the ultimate social science because everything about social studies goes back to economic terms. Once you know how people respond and how history relates, then you start getting into eco...
“Now that it’s kind of the end of my first year of high school, I think the best advice I received that really helped me throughout the year was to get to know people and meet new people. Also, as I’ve discovered an interest in science, I’ve found new friends that have the same interests as me,” freshman Sarah Rosten said.
Mrs. Sara Gourley
“Really my passion is about working with [kids]... It's just nicer when it's a nice friendly and comfortable atmosphere, and I think that there is a way to share information and help [kids] through [their] path without it just having to be ‘this is the way it is and I’m the boss,’” said Mrs. Gourley, an LHS math teacher.
“I love to write. I love to write poems; I love to write music; I love making music in general. The whole musical side of me is something that I never portray but it's there… I feel like I can express myself, but there's a little more to it. Some days you have emotions or things you want to say, but you can’t say them, and putting them down on paper, or just writing it down, it feels a lot better ...
“I like to challenge myself. I really like vocabulary and different words. I’m subscribed to the word of the day for Merriam Webster, and I have a quizlet with the words that I find interesting. There are so many different ways that you can say something. It’s just a weird little quirk I have,” said sophomore Izzy Greenberg.
Freshman Colin Watson said, “LHS helped me discover competitive shoe tying. I saw people tying their shoes in the hallway, and I started to think about how fast I could tie my shoes. I practiced a bunch, and joined a competitive league. My best time is 32 seconds.”
“I’m vegan. I really [advocate] for animal rights and I really think animals deserve better treatment in general. I also care about the environment and animal farming is really detrimental to the environment…being exposed to things that I’m not aware of in our Libertyville bubble opened my eyes to so many things in the world that general society isn’t really aware of. In the factory farms,...
“I couldn’t think of going by my [real] name. [My nickname] suits me well. I had such a thing for cats it was kinda ridiculous. It started in elementary school, and then it just stuck,” said sophomore Cat Corliss.
“When I get older, I definitely want to do something in the medical field and Med Cats (an LHS club related to health care) really helps me with that. I also love sewing, so FCCLA (Family, Career and Community Leaders of America) is great. LHS really helps me explore my interests,” said freshmen Kate Recker.
Mrs. Claire Birmingham
“Music always was always my passion, there was nothing else… by the time I was at least halfway through high school, I realized that there wasn’t really anything else I wanted to do. I couldn’t imagine not playing the piano anymore and not going [into a career with piano],” said LHS accompanist Mrs. Claire Birmingham.
“I want to be a math teacher because I like math and I like teaching. I’ve always liked math ever since I was young just because I was good at it and it made me feel good… I hear a lot of people say ‘Oh why would you want to come [to school] and work here? That sounds like the worst job in the world.’ I want to make a difference in the world, not in a super impactful way like a scientist ...
“I decided [to play] the clarinet because it’s just a really cool sounding instrument. Because I played violin at a young age, I had a lot of musical experience and I was able to accel at the clarinet quickly. I absolutely love performing. I do get very nervous on stage, but it’s also very exhilarating,” said Sophomore Noah Kublank.
“I want to be able to go to a good college and have a good name. I want to remember how much high School affected me and I want to remember the four years of hard-work and how it affected me growing up. Since it’s the beginning of the second semester, I’ve been able to understand more about what it’s going to be like and how these different classes get you on the good track to becoming what...
Mr. Bryan Wilcox
“One of the things I like about driver’s ed is that the kids love the course and that they are getting ready to embark on their freedom, getting ready to get their driver’s license, they are excited about it, and it's fun to be a part of that process and also teach them something they will be able to carry with them for the rest of their lives, in terms of being safe. I take a lot of pride in ...
“I have a more artistic side…[and] my dream [is] to go to an art institute or an art school and just explore [my artistic] side. My dream overall is I want to photograph fashion and fashion shows...I think fashion is so cool and I think it’s an art form that’s pretty overlooked. It’s super interesting, and I like the whole scene and what people can create,” expressed junior Payton Golwas....
“I go to Greek school every Saturday. [The culture] makes me who I am, and it has contributed a lot to what I do and how I act. It’s who I am, and it’s what I’m doing. Basically everything [my family does] relates [to] the Greek culture. I’m not forced to do all these traditions. I like to [do them],” said sophomore Constance Zanze.
“My dog makes me happy because she is so cute and friendly and loves to cuddle. She even sits down with me when I do my homework. She is such a stress reliever,” said freshman Mia Vernasco.
"In elementary school, I started doodling and stuff and I realized I was kinda good at it. I kinda had a knack for it I guess. Then, I started doing it more and I really enjoy[ed] it. It’s easier to express myself through images than through words for me. It just comes to me. It’s just something that is natural for me," senior Alex Niemann expressed. **Below are some of Neimann's art pieces. ...
Mr. Christopher Thomas
“I am the director of our theater program here at LHS and that’s honestly one of my greatest joys. One thing I tell students often is, the one thing I love more than theater is theater education. I love the process of putting a show on, rather than just the product. The product is what audiences see, but the process is what we do day in and day out in order to get to that performance,” express...
Zach El Ghatit
“I love [AP U.S. History]. There are just so many different aspects and different perspectives you can look at. I feel like there’s still so much that we’re not taught [in AP U.S. History] like...John Hanson. [He was] technically the first elected president of the United States, but he was just president of the Congress Assembly, so we don’t count him as president. But I was never taught that; I ...
“I lived in North Carolina for 10 years and before that I lived in Canada [and] I would love to go back there. My favorite part of North Carolina was Chick-fil-a; you would go on a school field trip and there would always be a Chick-fil-a. Now that I live [in the United States], my favorite part about Canada was the government.” explained freshman Gabrielle Erhart.
Mr. Rick Brenner
“See I don’t think you have to necessarily be quote 'smart' to do math; you can work hard and be good at math. I guess smart would imply you have a natural gift, you’re naturally gifted at math; so if you are quote ‘smart’, you have a natural disposition to being good at math… Now, do you get [smart] by working hard? Yes, I think that you can earn smartness, it isn’t just always a natura...
“I’m in the junior ROTC of Wheeling, and after college, I plan to be commissioned as an Officer. My favorite subject is social studies and I’m a military history kind of guy. I figured [this] all out probably the summer after 8th grade,” said sophomore Gavin Campbell.
“I’ve been playing [softball] since [I’ve] been in kindergarten, so it’s been a really long time. [At first], I played tee-ball on a baseball team, and then as I got older I started playing softball. I’ve just been playing ever since, and I love it. [For golf], my grandpa played, and I didn’t have a fall sport to play freshman year. I saw that golf was a sport, so my grandpa got me som...
“I’ve taken up piano pretty recently, it’s kind of fun to jam out to. One of my friends, Greg, plays guitar, and my other friend, Richie, plays bass, and [piano] just kind of seemed like the instrument they were missing,” said senior Andrew Zemeske.
“As freshman kids come into high school, I guess there’s a lot of nervousness. Helping them realize that they can do this, I just try to help relieve some of their anxiety and stress. I always have the idea of [being] the teacher you’d want to have. Put yourself in [your students’] shoes… Be the teacher you’d want to have sitting in front of you. I try to live up to that expectation,”...
Ms. Suzanne Torrence
“I seriously pinch myself that this is my job. This is my 25th year here [at LHS], so I got hired here fresh out of college. I just adore my students; I adore my community; I adore my co-workers. I can’t say enough how lucky I feel to be working here. And, I love teaching physics… I could picture myself, I suppose, being a math teacher, but to love a subject, I couldn’t love anything more t...
“I like to do art a lot and I’ve recently started to take that more seriously. I’m taking [2D art] second period, and we are starting self portraits now. [Art] just really calms me down… I started in 6th grade, but kind of stopped because of [how busy I was], but then when I met my [current] tennis coach, he’s also an artist and he encouraged me to keep doing it.” said Sophomore Lindsey A...
“I like [band]. It's different from middle school band because it used to be in the mornings. Now, it's during school so I like how I don't have to wake up early just for band. We had a couple of marching band rehearsals the first month of school but [the rehearsals] weren't bad. I made lots of new friends during the marching band season and I'm really looking forward to the next season,” said fre...
“I have always really liked painting; I love visual stuff, and anything that looks cool. I love looking at nature for art, and recreating it in my own way. I recently visited [the] Rhode Island School of Design, and it’s the fourth best art school in the world. I’d love to go there and try an find something [to do with art], ” Said Junior Mary Wetterling.
“I would like to become a manager of a company one day or someone high up [professionally], like work my way up from sales. I’m still trying to figure out what area I want to pursue, that's just what I want to be doing. I feel like I'm a good people person and a good delegator,” said senior Jonathan Palmieri.
Magistra Jamie Reuben
“For about two years, I moved to Italy in the summer, and I studied Italian and traveled all around Italy, and I kind of tried to track down some of my family. I didn’t find anybody there, but I went and saw where my great-grandmother was born. I feel like possibly being a Latin teacher was predestined, in my blood, and I didn’t know all of this [family history] when I first started studying L...
Mrs. Jane Risley
“My last job was a second grade school teacher. Working [at Libertyville High School] is very different. It’s fun to be here; the energy of the high school is something I’ve always enjoyed. I enjoy helping the kids with college because it’s such a big step in [their] lives,” explained Mrs. Jane Risley, the new employee for the LHS College Resource Center.
“In the fall I played on the volleyball team; right now, I'm on the basketball team; and in the spring, I’m going to do soccer. I really like volleyball and I could see myself playing in the future. I like basketball and soccer too but volleyball is my favorite,” explained freshman Addie Moss in an interview over email.
“My mom, when her parents passed away, she inherited their piano. There’s always a piano at my house ever since I was a baby, so I could always reach out and play the piano. I’ve always wanted to play the piano and I started taking lessons when I was pretty young. Then, with the saxophone, it was when I was in grade school, I thought it looked really cool, and I wanted to play it; I realized...
“I play water polo for the Northern Illinois Polo Club. We have practices three hours every night at Stevenson High School. We have all Stevenson coaches and I play with a lot of people from Stevenson [High School]. It’s a really rough sport but I really enjoy it and it’s really fun to play on the team. I’m really looking forward to playing water polo with the LHS team this year and througho...
“I’d like to go to college either in the Midwest or somewhere in the South, but I have no idea which university/college. I love having different seasons so I wouldn’t want to go somewhere that’s always warm or always cold. I also want to be in a decently big school so I can meet a bunch of new people,” junior Abby Wellman explained over text.
“I am a dancer. [It is my second year of LHS Poms], but my first year on varsity. [The season] has been really good so far, we’re doing well. I have been dancing since I was seven or eight years old so about eight years. [My favorites] are probably lyrical or jazz. Sometimes I get a little stressed out from [staying] after school until 6 [because of Poms] and then only having an hour before othe...