Seniors Across Illinois Reflect and Re-Energize

After four years, it’s our time.


Daniel Laubhan

Seniors Alvaro Stoyanov and Amanda Bloom, one a Central student and another not, gave insight into their transition from high school to college, with the goal of better informing incoming freshmen as they prepare for the journey that awaits them.

Daniel Laubhan, Sports & Design Editor

After four years, it’s our time. Every year, millions of students across America walk across a stage and receive their High School Diplomas. Ever since the Class of 2023 were just freshmen, it was commonplace to watch as our older counterparts every year partaken in their respective senior traditions. From the Class of 2020’s abrupt and unconventional end to their senior year, to the Class of 2021, getting to experience a slightly more normal senior year. The Class of 2022 reflected our own experience the most, as they started high school normally and ended normally. The Class of 2023 will continue that legacy, having to overcome so much in our time in High School, and so much in the world. From the COVID-19 Pandemic, to the War in Ukraine, to rising gas prices, the election of a new president, and a rapidly changing school environment.

Within the walls of our school, two Grayslake Central seniors reflected on their high school careers, both academically and athletically, and gave their very best advice, while simple, to the incoming freshmen that will start the process over again in the Fall.

“Get involved, do clubs, do sports, just always try to do something,” senior Alvaro Stoyanov recounted. “When there’s a dance or something, go to it, when there’s something like Ram Games or a PSP event, go to it, because before you know it high school’s over and you’re never going to regret going to things, but you’ll regret not going to things.”

Stoyanov keeps himself quite busy at our school, as well. As an active member of the football and wrestling team, Stoyanov has seen the power of sports to being people together, both on the field and in the bleachers.

“I have countless memories from football, lots of games like Mundelein my junior year, that Hail Mary, the 21-0 comeback against Belvidere North, also when I blew up a Chromebook in computer science,” Stoyanov mentioned. “I got [beat] a lot in wrestling so much, but it taught me a lot about adversity.”

Stoyanov will attend Iowa State University this fall, where he will major in Software Engineering.

Senior Ryan Huntington gave similar insight into his experience at Grayslake Central as well. A three-year-minus-COVID-year member of the Boys Volleyball team, Huntington has played a crucial role in the development of the team since he first stepped into the field house as a freshman for a four-day season.

“[I enjoyed] Beating North in volleyball, every time it feels better,” Huntington said. “Being a captain on the team, it really taught me how to be a good leader.”

Those leadership qualities were forged from a difficult sophomore year experience, as students across the country were plunged into the depths of remote learning. Huntington was no exception, and had to deal with the difficulties associated with this transition.

“During COVID I slacked a lot and I had to learn how to manage my time, manage a good schedule, and be responsible for myself,” Huntington recounted.

Huntington will attend Augustana College this fall, where he will also continue his Volleyball career.

Alas, the transition from high school to college is one experienced by seniors across the country, not just at our school. People from so any different walks of life can unite over the shared experience of closing the chapter of one high school experience, and starting a new chapter with a new experience this fall. Amanda Bloom, a senior at New Trier High School, is no exception to this.

Bloom is an active member of her school community. Having participated in a variety of extracurricular activities such as track and field, Model UN, WNTH, her school’s in-house radio station, and NTTV, her school’s broadcast journalism program, Bloom has been able to gain a multi-faceted perspective of her school environment, with the added benefit of finding her true passion in the process.

“My freshman year I struggled to adapt to life at a large high school. I was so painfully shy and couldn’t talk to anyone. When I [joined] Model UN, I found my voice. I pushed myself and eventually wound up the talkative outgoing person I am today!” Bloom fondly remarked.

In the past few months, Bloom was fortunate enough to create positive vehicles for change in her school community. After learning of an accident involving a close friend of hers, she organized a fundraiser alongside fellow senior Summer Sollecito, a fundraiser that truly made a difference.

“Recently, a friend of mine was paralyzed. Summer threw a fundraiser to help pay for his medical bills, with a raffle supported by local businesses. It was so touching and the funds have already made a difference in his care,” Bloom said. “[In high school, be yourself. It’s super cliche[d], but it’s never worth it to change yourself. You will find so many people who will love you for you and those who don’t aren’t people you want to associate with.”

Bloom will attend Georgetown University this fall, where she will major in International Politics.

Across schools, communities, counties, states, and perhaps even countries, high school seniors are in for a treat. Come this June all the intense, hard work put in over four years will have paid off, and the steps towards a new journey in college will have been laid. It’s scary, as the massive transition that awaits an incoming freshman, either in high school or college, leaves so many unknowns around. Rest assured however, that will all change once we settle into our new environment. With so many opportunities ahead of us, the best we can do is look ahead to the future with confidence, and embrace the change that is on its way.