Famous Alumni Leave a Legacy at GCHS

While every single Central Alumnus and Alumna remain valued members of the Grayslake community, certain select members of our community have gone on to do truly incredible things.


Daniel Laubhan

Clockwise, Life Fitness teacher Tom Wittum, Science teacher Michael Patrick, and former student Sam Loeffler. Patrick and Wittum were two former GCHS teachers who made a particularly strong impression on a young Loeffler.

Daniel Laubhan, Sports and Design Editor

Every year, around 350 students graduate from Grayslake Central High School and move onto the next phase of their careers. While every single Central Alumnus and Alumna remain valued members of the Grayslake community, certain select members of our community have gone on to do truly incredible things.

A prime example of someone who has done just that is Central alumnus Sam Loeffler, who graduated from Grayslake in 1993. Sam Loeffler, along with his brother Pete Loeffler, went on to form the famous rock band Chevelle, and have since seen massive amounts of success. The band has garnered three Billboard Music Award nominations, two GMA Dove awards, and multiple Loudwire Music Award nominations. The band has acquired sponsorships from prominent brands such as Monster Energy, Fender, and Shure, and even performed at Lollapalooza in 2019.

“It’s been a really good career, I’m grateful for it… We’ve sold about 6 million records and we’ve had 15 number-one songs I think at this point,” Loeffler explained. “All you can hope for is to be able to do this thing you want to and not have anybody tell you to do anything else, right?”

Loeffler spent his freshman year at Grayslake Community High School before testing out and attending CLC for the remainder of his high school career. That one year, however, proved to be a valuable experience for him, as he got the opportunity to make friends, and learn important life lessons that would stick with him throughout his life.

“When I was a freshman I was a skateboarder… My friends were all skateboarders and they were mostly seniors in the school,” Loeffler mentioned. “And so our days kind of revolved around that kind of stuff as they do, but I did have a couple of good teachers that made an impact.”

One such teacher was former head football coach Tom Wittum. “We called him the ‘T-Wittum Workout Program’… He was nice to me even though I wasn’t exactly [a football player,] I was a skateboarder… but he was very encouraging, and I have a lot of good experiences weirdly in gym class.”

Another teacher that made a profound impact on Loeffler’s high school career was science teacher Michael Patrick. “I had a study hall with Mr. Patrick.. and we basically spent the whole study hall every day talking about life and he was literally teaching me how to live,” Loeffler recounted. “Those memories, I think, of sitting there talking to him and having him take a special interest in me definitely made a difference in my life, and it was that ‘somebody’ that was an adult, somebody that had a choice every day as to what they put their time into, [it was special] that they chose me.”

Loeffler also reflected on his friends in high school, the vast majority of which were seniors. “They were able to give me perspective when stuff wasn’t really working out during the day… knowing that they had just been through that for four years and now they were staring down the barrel of ‘what do I do next?’”

In addition to reflecting on his own experience at Central, he also gave insight into lessons others can apply in their own experiences, both in high school and beyond.

“The most important thing [I learned] was, ‘Don’t sweat the small stuff,’ you have no idea how little the things that happen to you during the day matter, and how much the choices that you make for the rest of your life matter,” Loeffler explained. “Look at [your decisions] thirty years down the road and say, ‘Is this going to make a difference? Can this make a difference in my life?’”

Loeffler’s experiences, both as a teenager, and then as an adult, are representative of someone with lots of varied experiences in their life. Growing up in a then-small town and going on to traveling the world as he got older, Loeffler described in detail how lucky he was to carry the life lessons he learned in high school into adulthood.

“I grew up in Grayslake skateboarding and being part of all that community, and now I’ve traveled the entire world… I’ve been to a lot of places, and I can tell you that no place is really better than anywhere else, it’s just what you put into it, and what you’re able to deal with.”