Springfield HS

Sharing Meals

Feb 26, 2013
Elaina Conley-Keck - Springfield High School
Randy Eccles / WUIS/Illinois Issues



Feb 22, 2013
Vlada Gudzenko
WUIS/Illinois Issues


Create Your Future

Feb 25, 2012
Mariah Pattie - Springfield High School
Randy Eccles / WUIS/Illinois Issues


Always an American

Feb 24, 2012
Amena Tayyab - Springfield High School
Randy Eccles / WUIS/Illinois Issues


I was born and raised in Springfield, IL and categorize myself as an American Muslim; always have, always will. Some, however, forget I have the same basic rights, memories and needs as every American. We have all experienced the aftermath of 9/11, but as an American Muslim living in a post 9/11 world, my experiences have differed greatly.

The Trouble with "Troubled"

Feb 21, 2012
Olivia Rosen - Springfield High School
Randy Eccles / WUIS/Illinois Issues


"Wakaru" - To Understand

Feb 20, 2012
Maggie Cornelius - Springfield High School
Randy Eccles / WUIS/Illinois Issues


“We’re going to drive to the football game at nine tonight,” I said to Ayumi, explaining our plans for the evening.

She cocked her head and gave me a quizzical look.

I tried again. “At nine o’clock, we will drive to the football game.”

She shook her head. Wakarimasen. I don’t understand.

I paused, rephrasing the sentence in my mind. “Tonight, at nine o’clock, we will go to the football game.”

Wakarimasu! She understood. “Oh! Okay,” Ayumi said. “I am happy!”

Anything Boys Can Do

Feb 19, 2012
Mackenzie McDermott headshot
Randy Eccles / WUIS - Illinois Issues

THIS I BELIEVE - I was only five when I came home from kindergarten with an American Youth Football League flyer, begging my parents to sign me up. They didn’t hesitate. There were never “boy” things or “girl” things in my house. There were just things. This was how it worked in my family where my father was in the kitchen cooking while my mother was in the living room screaming at the football game. Plopping down next to my mom on the couch with my over-sized Packer’s jersey seemed like the most natural thing in the world.

On the Death of My Father

Feb 17, 2012
Ally M Perko - Springfield High School
Randy Eccles / WUIS/Illinois Issues


"Breaking Barriers"

Feb 25, 2011
Molly Ducker - Springfield High School
Randy Eccles / WUIS/Illinois Issues

There are walls among us. Walls can protect us by surrounding or discourage us by dividing. There is a wall among us that not only discourages but also destroys human beings with the sole intention of division. This infamous wall runs through Texas, California, and Arizona along the Mexican border. I do not believe in this sort of division. I have been in the midst of discrimination at its worst and witnessed firsthand how beautiful it is when people come together. Therefore, I believe in walls to encompass people of every ethnicity, heritage, and culture; walls to bring outsiders in. 

More Moores

Feb 23, 2011
Virginia Moore - Springfield High School
WUIS/Illinois Issues

For the longest time we were known to everyone as the Brady Bunch. That all changed when John Paul came along. He threw the whole thing off! Ever since I can remember, my family has been growing, and yes, I’m talking about my immediate family: the Moore family. My earliest memories of a small, normal-sized family are when it was only me, Mom, Dad, Cordelia and Jimmy, moving to Springfield from Virginia and the five of us waiting on Joey to enter our lives. It has been fourteen years since then, with Joey being followed by Josh, Maria and, lastly John Paul.

Question Everything

Feb 21, 2011
Hannah Kolkmeier - Springfield High School
WUIS/Illinois Issues

 My 17 years of life have taught me that the world is a complicated place. The cultures that exist across the globe are vastly diverse and it seems people are quicker to disagree than agree with each other. In a world littered with conflict, I believe in the power of debate as a tool to bring about change. I believe that the world cannot advance without constant questioning of our actions.  And isn’t that what we all want? To leave the world in a better state than when we entered it? I know I do. I desire a better world, one without genocide and poverty, corruption and war.

I Believe in Beatlemania

Feb 18, 2011
Callie Smith - Springfield High School
WUIS/Illinois Issues

It all started innocently enough when I spotted in the newspaper that Paul McCartney was seen at a local Circle K gas station. It was then that my mom first showed me her old Beatles’ albums in honor of Paul’s bathroom stop in little Nowheresville, Illinois. I was really wondering what the big deal was with some old washed up rock star, but I tried to act interested anyways. My mom gave me an Abbey Road CD shortly afterward. It sat in my room for about two months before I bothered to even give it a listen. When I did, it changed my life.

Making Waves

Feb 16, 2011
Farah Tamizuddin - Springfield High School
WUIS/Illinois Issues

I never text and drive. I assiduously abstain from all Chapstick-checking, hair-fixing, last-minute primping as soon as I get behind the wheel. Friends and family have informed me that I am the slowest driver in Springfield; the slowpoke crawling down Lawrence at 28 mph. 


Feb 14, 2011
Bennett Stephens - Springfield High School
WUIS/Illinois Issues

Many teenagers strive to be normal.  The question is what does it mean to live a normal life?  Is it being on a sports team? Doing well in your classes? Having a big group of friends?  Whether it is any of these, as long as you are happy and enjoy yourself, I consider it a normal life.  Life has a tendency of making this goal difficult; for me life threw Type 1 Diabetes my way.  Every individual deals with problems differently, but I believe they can be dealt with accordingly to lead a normal life.

But Mostly Hearts

Feb 26, 2010
Maddie Fetter - Springfield High School
WUIS/Illinois Issues

As the traditional Christmas day festivities come to a close, my family gears up for a unique tradition. With drinks and holiday cookies in hand, we squish around the oval hardwood table to play card games. Through the years, card games like Pan Tan and Between the Sheets have become a staple of the Fetter Family holiday activities.

Written Sentiments

Feb 23, 2010
Carolyn McMenamin - Springfield High School
WUIS/Illinois Issues

Better than a text, better than a phone call and, yes, even better than a Facebook update: a letter.


Feb 16, 2010
Elly Schoenburg - Springfield High School
WUIS/Illinois Issues

I believe in community. When people think of the word community, they generally think of their neighborhoods, towns, or school districts. When further analyzed, the word community can have a massive array of meanings. Communities form for several different reasons and serve several purposes. I believe that without community, life would be simply too much to bear. Some communities form in response to disasters, such as the recent earthquake in Haiti, which devastated the entire country. It is somewhat astonishing to see Americans join together to support this cause.

The Environment

Mar 18, 2009
Nick Zyznieuski - Springfield High School
WUIS/Illinois Issues

Throughout my life, I have always liked nature. Whether I was hiking with my family in southern Illinois, riding bikes with friends through neighborhoods, or swimming in the Pacific Ocean, I have seen the importance of the environment. I have always loved that the environment had been there for us, and I always thought it would be. Until recently, my views have shifted about the environment’s survival. Accordingly, I have done my part to save the environment.


Mar 11, 2009
Elly Gates - Springfield High School
WUIS/Illinois Issues

For some reason I cannot explain, the first thing I notice when I open a book is its smell. This may be because I've always gotten my books from the public library, and they therefore tend to have very distinctive smells. To some, these smells that sometimes bleed from the pages of a particularly oft-read novel might serve as a deterrent from reading. But for me, it only adds to the pleasure I receive from books. I not only got to read the story in the book, but I got to imagine the people who had enjoyed it before I did. 

To be Lazy is to be Happy

Feb 24, 2008

Hard work makes the world go round. I, however, prefer not to. A glazed look and drool at the corners of my mouth is how you will find me most of the time. While others are completing homework, projects, and other forms of labor, I, instead, will be lying on my bed and staring at the ceiling. To be lazy is to be happy.

The American Dream

Feb 23, 2008
Nancy Lin - Springfield High School
WUIS/Illinois Issues

Americans have become so self-absorbed with their own troubles that they have forgotten the ideals that have helped shape this nation. One ideal that has been taken for granted by today's generation is the American Dream. It is a dream commonly held by those who just arrived in America and those who long for an opportunity to come to America. To go from rags to riches is the universal definition of the American Dream. However, the true definition of the American Dream will have to depend on its pursuer. I believe in the American dream because it defines my life.

The Therapeutic Value of Laughter

Feb 21, 2008
Samira Hussein - Springfield High School
WUIS/Illinois Issues

Laughter is an amazing thing. It can bring down barriers between people. Laughter can make almost any situation a little lighter and happier. Laughter is one thing that can tie all people together.

Embracing my Culture

Feb 20, 2008
Sharon Kim - Springfield High School
WUIS/Illinois Issues

Whenever I would complain about how un-American my family traditions are, my mom would always say, "even though you were born in America, you are Korean." And I would roll my eyes, completely disregarding what she said. However, it was not until recently that I opened my eyes and truly understood what my mom was trying to say - no matter which country I was born in and no matter how hard I tried to be American, I would still be Korean raised by Korean parents. I believe in embracing my culture and traditions.

Best Buddies

Feb 19, 2008
Melanie Cornell - Springfield High School
WUIS/Illinois Issues

When I was a freshman, I met my buddy. By buddy, I don't mean someone I randomly met and befriended, even though that is pretty much close to the truth. I mean a person with intellectual disabilities that was assigned to me through a program at my school called Best Buddies. The purpose of the program is to encourage friendship between students and their peers with intellectual disabilities. My buddy was nineteen years old and a junior. His name was Daniel, and he helped me believe in the power of friendship.

The Power of Women

Feb 18, 2008
Elizabeth Ketchum - Springfield High School
WUIS/Illinois Issues

In my family we have an anecdote, "I can push my own tire!" I started using this phrase even before I knew the story behind it, which involves my mother stubbornly pushing a spare tire down the road and refusing to allow my laughing father to help her. No other phrase could possibly sum up my upbringing and the valuable lessons I have learned from it. I believe in the power of women.


Feb 17, 2008
Claudio Borges-Neto - Springfield High School
WUIS/Illinois Issues

Blank...Blank...I'm drawing a huge blank. I've been sitting here for at least half an hour trying to start this thing. I have written and erased this introduction at least twice. Perhaps what I'm lacking is inspiration. Or perhaps I've overused it. After writing college essay after college essay, scholarship essay after scholarship essay, school paper after school paper, it may be that my inspiration is worn out. I'm tired of describing my life story through words. I'm tired of conveying emotions through words. I'm just tired of essays.

A Caterpillar Named Bob

Feb 16, 2008
Julia Christensen - Springfield High School
WUIS/Illinois Issues

A caterpillar has sixteen legs, is separated into thirteen segments and has twelve eyes. They are common insects that are usually ignored, but could be considered one of the most comforting things to the right person. I believe in Bob the Caterpillar.