Springfield Southeast High School

The Springfield Mayor's Youth Council will hold a Youth Town Hall on Wednesday February 24 to get insight from Springfield Youth. Participation is limited to middle and high school students while adults may only observe the meeting. Secretary of the Youth Council, Natalie McLaughlin discusses this and more with Community Voices' Bea Bonner.

Imagine this: you’re in the 9th grade, and when the bell rings, you’ve got five minutes to get from Language Arts to algebra. That gives you just enough time to visit the ladies room. And surprise! Your menstrual period has arrived a few days early. 

With no supplies in your purse, you panic. But wait. There, on the wall, you see a dispenser. Problem solved, right?

At Lahne Romaker’s school, you’d be out of luck.

This I Believe: Peel Off Labels

Feb 20, 2019
Tamarra Newbern / NPR Illinois 91.9 UIS

From the day you’re born, labels are put on you such as girl, poor, Mexican, and it wasn’t until those labels were used to hurt me that I knew the world wasn’t so simple.

This I Believe: The Cathartic Power of Crying

Feb 23, 2018

I am a cry baby and I am unashamed. Despite the stigma that those who cry a lot are weak or emotionally unstable, I am neither of those things. If anything, I feel all the stronger because I completely accept the fact that sometimes my eyeballs are just gonna have to look like leaky faucets.

This I Believe: Pens and Paper

Feb 21, 2018

"You've sure changed a lot since freshman year, huh?" This is a question I get asked a fair amount. I usually reply with something along the lines of a polite smile or a laugh. The truth is, I have changed a lot. I've never really told anyone about this except the select few, but I'm almost 18 now, so it's time to come clean and leave this behind me. It's finally time for me to face my fears and embrace who I was ­ no matter how much I didn't like her. Have you ever met a drama queen? You know, that one person who always has to have all the attention on them? A few years ago, I was one of the worst ones out there. And I hated her just as much as everyone else did. 

This I Believe: Home is Abstract

Feb 20, 2018

Growing up, I learned that the words “home” and “house” were synonymous. While the words are similar, I believe that “home” has a more personal, positive connotation. As I grew older, I began to experiment with out­-of-­the-­box concepts and realized that home is not just a location, but rather the people I love and hold near and dear to my heart.

A couple of years ago, two people in Urbana were hit by darts fired from a blow-dart gun. They weren't seriously injured. That’s not what this story is about.  

The attacks were so random, and frankly so weird, that most people found them humorous. One of those happened to be a middle-school teacher, who posted a comment on Facebook.

This I Believe: A Daily Realization

Feb 27, 2015
Rachel Lattimore / NPR Illinois

I recently stumbled upon a neat little web series entitled “The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows” by John Koenig. Every short video consists of a newly invented word he explains in depth. One word in particular jumped out at me: sonder.  “sonder,” n. the realization that each random passerby is living a life as vivid and complex as yours. This feeling has always been something I have taken note of. 

This I Believe: In Confusion

Feb 19, 2015
Larissa Mulch in studio
Rachel Lattimore / NPR Illinois

People have often asked me why I’m not straight, and I like to tell them the following: When I was four years old I sneezed and no one said “bless you” and at that moment the devil entered my soul. 

District 186

An unloaded gun was discovered at Southeast High School today.   District officials say the gun was not found on a person, but suspects have been detained.   An investigation is continuing.  

The district also says the discovery came after a tip was given to the school.  That prompted what's known as a soft lock down as a precaution.  

Increased security is planned for tonight.  Southeast hosts Chatham Glenwood in a football game this evening.
It was just over two weeks ago that a Lanphier student was arrested for bringing a loaded gun to school.

This I Believe: The Most Powerful Element

Feb 27, 2014
Kelsey Hubble headshot
Randy Eccles / NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS

During my freshman year of high school, my circle of friends was fairly limited.  I had three friends who I associated with daily, and I was perfectly content with this.  In place of expanding my social standing and friend group, I spent a good number of my days walking home after school and doing nothing besides laying in my room listening to music.  This might sound lonely to some, but I was happy doing it, so I felt no need to change.  Music was and is one of the greatest companions I’ve had, and one of the best tools I feel people can use to connect with themselves, and even others.

This I Believe: Snow Cones

Feb 26, 2014
Alex Brosseau headshot
courtesy of subject

I used to live right on the busiest street in the world. Maybe, I’m exaggerating a little bit, but it seemed pretty busy to me. Cars zoomed up and down the street, traveling around the world, and I wasn’t allowed to go past my block on my own, which now seems to be very logical, but at the time it seemed like the most ridiculous rule. On hot summer weeks when I was cooped up to my huge lawn and vast house, my sole escape was Snow Cone Tuesday.

This I Believe: The Sneetches

Feb 25, 2014
Gabrielle Gardner headshot
Dan LoGrasso / NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS

I believe that Sneetches are Sneetches. This probably sounds ridiculous to most people, but it is a belief that has greatly affected my outlook on life. In the children’s story “The Sneetches” by Dr. Seuss there is a very important lesson about people and their differences. In this story, there are Sneetches that live on the beach (or the beaches, as Dr. Seuss would say).  Some of these Sneetches were born with big stars on their bellies while others hadn’t anything on theirs.

This I Believe: In Dirt

Feb 21, 2014
Abagail Perrero headshot
Randy Eccles / NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS

I believe in Saturday mornings with my mother. Waking up in the morning, the sun just barely peeking in through my curtains. Struggling into last night’s jeans, eyes still glued shut with sleep. 

Out of the ten student authors selected for the 2014 This I Believe program, five attend Southeast High School in Springfield. Congrats to them and all the authors!

This I Believe: The Real Me

Feb 18, 2014
Katherine Bowman
Dan LoGrasso / NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS

I don’t choose to wear makeup. Some people may look at me with disdain, and others wonder why I opt out of such a common practice. I see girls around me with perfect faces, unable to tell that they are covered with the cloudy foundation, and with their eyes painted just right so that I find it easy to look and hard to look away. But I myself find no yearning to be “beautiful,” or to look “flawless” simply so that others may be more visually attracted to me.

Leaping into Action

Feb 20, 2013
Callista Suarez – Southeast High School
Randy Eccles / WUIS/Illinois Issues


When I was younger, someone told me a story. Once there were three frogs sitting on lily pads. One day, one of them made a decision to jump off. How many frogs were left? Three. I thought this story was really stupid and obnoxious at the time, but now I understand its true meaning. I believe in the power of doing. It sounds like a very simple concept, but it is much more powerful than most people realize. Like the story of the frogs, making a decision means nothing if nothing is done to act upon it.

I Am History

Feb 26, 2012
Joshua Cleaver - Southeast High School
Randy Eccles / WUIS/Illinois Issues


I believe in History. Not the kind you read about in books, or learn in class, but pure History, no interpretations, just facts. You see, I am History; we are all History.  Each of us has a story to tell and the past is the key to the future.

Stroke Me a Key or Two

Feb 22, 2012
Terea Tran - Southeast High School
Randy Eccles / WUIS/Illinois Issues


They say that what does not kill us makes us stronger.  I have learned this is true, but a keyboard and a passion for music certainly don’t hurt either.  Making music is what makes me feel entirely unique and special.  When I sit in front of a piano I no longer feel helpless.  Unlike the rest of my often-hectic life, I can dictate what happens and what is played.  I have found that music is the greatest way to release my emotions.  In the hardest period of my life I found great beauty.  I believe in music. I believe in what music can do for a soul.

True Love Takes Effort

Feb 24, 2011
Rachel Pasko - Southeast High School
WUIS/Illinois Issues

My grandmother was a fairy. One look at the wispy silver-grey hair that held various clips to make a crown would banish all doubts of this fact from her mythical domain. I remember listening to her vibrant stories while sitting in the over-grown and wild garden that was the back yard. She would throw her hands this way and that while changing the tone and tempo of the tale accordingly. Yes, she was certainly a fantastic creature who seemed to pop out from a child’s book. 

"The Fear of Ourselves"

Feb 15, 2011
Luke Buscher - Southeast High School
Randy Eccles / WUIS/Illinois Issues

I believe that fear hinders our ability to be completely open and honest with one another. It drives us mad, forcing us to contain ourselves, to hold back. The fear of judgment and embarrassment silences our expressions, even when what we most want is for someone to understand us on the most fundamental level.


Mar 20, 2009
Angie Martin - Southeast High School
WUIS/Illinois Issues

I believe in miracles. Miracles are happening around us each and every day. Miracles come in all sizes. There are the small trivial ones, like getting an A on the vocabulary quiz you forgot to study for, but then there are the big ones, like the times when life gives you a second chance. I believe when you wish upon a star, your wish might just come true.


Mar 19, 2009
Jarrod Hill - Southeast High School
WUIS/Illinois Issues

I believe jazz music can be called the "music of America." America was founded on the principles of freedom, liberty and happiness. Also, America is a democracy. It is a place where you have the right to choose what you do, where you go and who you go with. The same privileges are given to each American no matter who you are or how much money you make. As I continue to learn and explore the theories of jazz music, it is obvious to me that the structure of jazz music is like America, free and full of possibilities.

Beauty is Found in Unexpected Places

Mar 17, 2009
Caitlin Kienzler - Southeast High School
WUIS/Illinois Issues

Beneath the circular stained glass window of the First Presbyterian Church sits a pipe organ not only of enormous size, but enormous renown. I would know nothing of it if not for my grandma. She spoke of it many times, but it was not until she died that I finally got to see it. I first laid my eyes on it at her funeral. Before then, I had been dreading the deep, depressing sounds of the slow, sad tunes. Then I met the organist. He was an old friend of my grandma's, seeing her every Sunday when she would come before church just to hear the organ while he practiced.

This I Believe: In Childhood

Mar 16, 2009
Anthony Cohen headshot
NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS

Perhaps you have heard the saying “everything I need to know, I learned in Kindergarten”.  I believe that that is true. All of the traits that can make us better, more worthwhile people can be rediscovered by following the examples of children. In short, I believe in the simple purity and boundlessness of childhood, where tolerance, hope and excitement for life come naturally.