#1StudentNWI: Honoring La Lu students’ accomplishments

#1StudentNWI: Honoring La Lu students’ accomplishments

What’s recently happened? 

The month of February was eventful for the Lakers!  

Spirit week ran from February 6 to February 10 with a range of themed days including Wear Your Pajama Pants Day, Dress Like Your Favorite Teacher Day, and a Pink Out! All of these days were suggestions from students that are involved in the Activities Council.

On February 15, La Lumiere School (La Lu)  had its annual Sahi Strong Basketball Game. This night is dedicated to a La Lu alum, Aameer Sahi, who had neurofibromatosis. Sahi was incredibly involved with the La Lu community, playing both Junior Varsity (JV) and Varsity Blue Basketball. Sahi passed away on August 12, 2019, but during his battle, he recalled how La Lu was the light that kept him hopeful. 

“Amir was truly a light in this school. He always had the best energy and never failed to put a smile on everyone’s faces,” said Girls Varsity Basketball Coach Matthew Marvin.

The Aameer Sahi Foundation raises money in order to research young adults and their fights with rare sarcoma cancers. The Sahi family comes to the school in full support of cheering on La Lu and raising money with raffle tickets and shirts. The student body came out and cheered both the Varsity Blue and White Teams as they were victorious against the International Sport Academy and were able to raise proceeds to go to the foundation. 

La Lu’s very own Ashlynn Shade is one of this year’s McDonald's All American! This is an incredible accomplishment for this University of Connecticut commit. The team of All Americans consists of some of the top players in the country. You can catch Shade playing on March 28 in Houston at the Toyota Center. 

Lila Sirko and Chet Morariu have been named finalists for the 2023 National Merit Scholarship Program. This program is based on students' PSAT scores. Only the top 15,000 students out of the whole country are finalists. 

“We are extremely proud of Lila and Chet. It is great to see their hard work and dedication is being recognized,” said Interim Head of the School Dr. Andrew Hoyt. 

The La Lu Players premiered its winter production, “Triangle,” last Saturday. The actors have been working on the play since the start of the winter season, in mid-October. The play is based on the events of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire and includes all the elements for a classic La Lu play: amazing sets, dedicated actors, and a plot filled with drama, love, and you name it. They are continuing to have shows until Thursday, February 23. 

What’s coming up? 

La Lu is holding a chess tournament in the following weeks leading up to Spring Break. Anyone can sign up, but there can only be one winner as each day, the elimination rounds continue.

The annual blood drive is also happening on March 1. This is another fantastic way to give back to the community and help out those in need. 

“There has been a shortage of blood ever since the pandemic, and I strongly encourage that many of you sign up to donate blood as it is one of the few items that no one can make,” said Mike Heffron, director of residential life.

It is important to expose people to the opportunity of donating blood when they are young, in hopes that they will see the impact they can make and continue to help the community by taking the time out of their day to donate blood. Especially since the Red Cross knows that there will be a number of high schoolers donating, it is sure to carefully walk everyone through the process in case anyone is squirmish, making it the perfect opportunity for first-time donors. 

Spring Break is a few weeks away. This year, La Lu is taking a group of students to France. This trip is meant to be a learning experience for students about art, architecture, life in Europe, and allows the French students to test their skills. 

The trip includes going to Paris, Lille, and Bruges in Belgium. Bridget Sendziak, the French teacher at La Lu, is elated to take her students to where she lived for several years during her time of working in France. 

Staff spotlight

Teacher Scott Berry began working at La Lu in 2020, following the semester that was held online. He moved onto campus with his wife, who became a dorm parent, and his three daughters. He previously worked in grant writing and development at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. He earned his master's degree in English from Wake Forest University and a bachelor's degree in English from the University of Notre Dame. 

Berry loves to share his passion for English with his students. He teaches writing classes like Writing About Film where he shows students his favorite movies and teaches them the components of a film review. He also teaches literature classes like Hyphenated America where he selected a variety of books written by African American, Asian American, and Native American authors. It is a great opportunity for students to be exposed to underrepresented authors. 

One of Berry’s favorite parts about working at La Lu is the smaller class sizes that enable him to have more of a discussion based class where each student has the opportunity to be heard. 

"I love hearing different ideas and interpretations from students. Sometimes, they teach me something about the text or challenge me to see it in a different way. It is one of my favorite things about being a teacher: always learning from students,” Barry said.

Student spotlight

Ellie Diaz is a senior at La Lu, and it is safe to say that she was quick to get involved with the school and see what activities she enjoyed most. 

She has dipped her toes into just about every opportunity La Lu has given her both academically and beyond. Whether it was participating in the regatta as a crew member, being editor of the yearbook, participating in academic decathlon, or playing tennis in the spring, Diaz truly has taken every opportunity and put her best foot forward. 

Reflecting on her time at La Lu, Diaz values the relationships she has formed whether it is with her friends, underclassmen, or her favorite teacher. Diaz loves the community she has made and loves to help and rely on others. 

“It is so reassuring to know that everyone at La Lu wants you to succeed. I can go to any of my teachers and know that my concerns and questions are being heard. The same goes for my peers. Everyone in the La Lu community is truly supportive,” Diaz said.