Tribute to the Class of 2019

If you aren’t already aware, the Roycemore School Class of 2019 is a remarkable group of individuals.  They are characterized both by their areas of commonality and their areas of individuality.  They are one of our larger graduating classes and yet they are a pretty close-knit group of students.  As close as they are, they didn’t let that influence their college choices too much.  This class of 27 students will be attending 24 different colleges in 15 different states from Maine to Oregon, and from North Carolina to Michigan.  They will be attending large public institutions, small private colleges, art schools, tech schools and Ivy League institutions. They’ll be pursuing everything from art and design to engineering, medicine to meteorology.  And on the side they will likely continue some of the activities they participated in in high school, from theater to martial arts, to tutoring young children, to pursuing photography.  This diverse group of individuals–indeed ORIGINALS– has found beauty in their diversity and strength and joy in their uniqueness.

This class has students with incredible and unique talents and interests:
Hahrim: a world-champion Korean drummer/ Illinois State Champion in Taekwondo
Zoe: a top-notch rock climber 
Aaron:  a black-belt in Akido
Charlie: a race car enthusiast who, for several years, has biked across Iowa with his mom in the summer
Gabriel S: served as a U.S. youth ambassador to Brazil last summer; and 
Iman: managed to find a way to surmount incredible obstacles and leave his war-torn country of Afghanistan to join Roycemore last year and now graduate with the Class of 2019 and receive an American high school diploma.

This class has students with great talent in and passion technology:
Andrew, Isaac, Mark, and Riley have been designing a video game as part of an independent study class and their JST, creating the story, the graphics, and even researching the legal aspects to launch the game. Robin produced a video on video making. Bryce has taught himself several computer coding languages, as has Mark.

Our seniors are incredibly artistic.
Dan, who had never taken an art class before two years ago, discovered hidden artistic talents. After taking TWO years of AP art classes, he will be heading off to one of the top art and design schools in the United States- Parsons. Gabriel S., Alex C, and Iman are all talented photographers.
Mark lent his artistic talent using Adobe software to create the cover and the layout for the yearbook and had great support with Olivia on the staff.
Daria is an award-winning violinist and pianist. Thomas plays the jazz guitar. Vivian plays the violin. And we have a rock band with Bubble on piano, guitar and drums; Coco on bass guitar, piano and drums, and Tony and Leihao on guitar.

Among our 27 seniors, they are fluent speakers in at least 10 different languages, including  Korean, Mandarin, English, Russian, Persian, French, Pashto, Spanish, German and Sign Language.

Our seniors give back, whether it is through their volunteer service on National Honor Society- which Thomas, Olivia, Mark, Coco, Vivian, Tony, Kati, Riley, Hahrim, Daria, Leihao and Zoe are all members; or in other ways, such as Kati’s service in an animal shelter, Olivia’s participation in a young readers literacy program, Tony’s volunteer service in EDP, or Coco’s work with the elderly or young students learning Mandarin.  Many of them have helped as admissions ambassadors, worked on Carnival, helped with our Scholarship fundraiser or other events to support their school.

Roycemore theatre performances have benefitted from the deep talent in this class with: Kati, Olivia, Leihao, Thomas, Zak, Ben, Coco, Riley and Vivian participating in Les Mis; Ben, Zak, Thomas, Charlie and Riley in the Three Musketeers; Kati, Olivia, Charlie, Thomas, Zak, Ben, and Coco in The Little Mermaid, and then Ben, Zak, Thomas, Charlie, Riley, Iman, Kati, and Alex C. this spring in Slaughterhouse Five. 

Roycemore will be losing a lot of athletic talent with the graduation of this class.  

9 of the 17 members of the soccer team are seniors:  Bubble, Iman, Aaron, Dan, Gabriel P., Robin, Riley, Isaac, and Alex Y.

11 of the 18 boys basketball team are seniors:  Leihao, Bubble, Alex C, Thomas, Tony, Aaron, Gabriel P., Isaac, Zak, Robin and Alex Y.  

12 of the 16 boys volleyball team members are seniors:  Bubble, Iman, Aaron, Riley, Alex C., Thomas, Leihao, Zak, Ben, Robin, Alex Y, and Tony

Earlier this year Robin, Bubble, Thomas, Zak and Riley raced their last cross country meet with Alex C. keeping the stats!

Our girls sports teams are a little more balanced:  Kati is the only senior on the volleyball team and Hahrim the only senior on the girls basketball team– we have some greater hope for the future with only losing two seniors, but we will miss the leadership that these two young ladies brought to their younger teammates.

And Mrs. Wunder is WONDERing how she is going to do without Thomas, Alex C., Kati, Hahrim, Aaron, Zoe, Bubble, Robin, Alex Y., Iman, Leihao, Dan and Zak next year in our tumbling program.  We have literally watched some of these young people “grow up” on the tumbling stage and their progression from somersaults and cartwheels to aerials and flips!  We will all certainly miss you!

This is a class that has some deep friendships that go back a long time.  In a class of 27, FIVE of them-  Mark, Kati, Thomas, Alex C, and Hahrim are “lifers” having been a student at Roycemore since Kindergarten or earlier.  They have had some unique experiences that have made them even closer as a class, including some JST experiences. This year Aaron and Alex C. traveled together to Japan.  And last year Riley, Mark, Alex Y, Alex C., Thomas, Zak and Ben went on the international JST trip to Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands.  

And the Class of 2019 is a class of scholars with Riley, Daria, Kati, Zoe and Ben leading the Scholastic Bowl team to second place in the Metro North Conference this year; Gabriel S. participating in Model UN; Daria earning 4th place in the state in the nationally recognized Math Kangaroo competition; and Thomas being named a National Merit Commended Scholar.  A number of them took advantage of our partnership with Northwestern University taking classes at NU while in high school, including:  Hahrim, Zoe, Leihao, Vivian, Tony, Daria, Thomas and Kati. And our 23 seniors have been offered over $2.3M in scholarships to college in the years ahead.

While we certainly have incredible scholars among this senior class, it doesn’t necessarily come at the expense of having fun.  This group KNOWS how to have fun, whether it is the video game club, which Andrew, Bryce, Leihao and Robin all participated in…, or the D&D Club ably led by Andrew and Bryce, or KPop club with Kati and Hahrim this year. They even have playful relationships with their administrators– such as the post-it bombing and saran wrapping of Mrs. Rivera’s office just two days ago!  A senior prank that was loving!  When faced with how to honor Mr. Fogarty as he retired, knowing that he LOVES to play bridge members of the class studied up how to play bridge and then surprised Mr. Fogarty by hosting a “Bridge to Retirement” Bridge Tournament in the physics lab one morning when Mr. Fogarty arrived to school.

Members of the Class of 2019, were also responsible for naming a space in our building that had not previously had an identity.  Now forever to be known as The Alcove, Aaron, Thomas, Alex, Zak, Mark, Ben, Isaac, Charlie and Riley created a lore around this space.   For our annual Ethnic Food Fair, the “Alcove Boys” wanted to contribute something special.  They created an “Alcovian sandwich” — a large submarine sandwich that was filled with ingredients- one ingredient each supplied by each student.  Goodness knows what was in that sandwich, but I heard it was “interesting” and included clams!

There are MANY more stories to tell about the class of 2019 at Roycemore.  Leave it to say, this class has left its mark.  We are forever changed by you, and you by each other.  We are excited for you as you take the next steps in your educational career and in your lives.  And we TRULY hope you come back to visit often and stay connected to your Griffin family!!

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