The Rockford Register Star ran a series in the mid-90s, “Hearing Our Future,” in which we interviewed hundreds of area teenagers to get their take on issues. We’ve been away too long.
That’s why we started the blog, “Raising Our Voices.” The young people who post to this blog range from high school sophomores to college juniors. Their descriptions of their hometowns range from “uneventful” to “hidden” to “frustrating.”
Three years ago, Rockford paid a consultant $50,000 for advice about attracting young professionals to this community. The advice by members of “Raising Our Voices” is from experts, too — and it’s free.
From time to time, we might add new contributors. Do you know a young person aged 15 to 21 who has a passion for the community and its issues, good writing skills and a commitment to keeping the blog fresh and topical? We’d like to hear from them.
Email Mary Kaull, assistant editorial page editor, at email@example.com, with name, hometown, year in high school or college, phone number and reason for participating. If they are under 18, we will need parent permission.
Evelyn Behling is a native of the Rockford area, although she also grew up in such intriguing locales as Ames, Iowa and West Lafayette, Indiana, homes of Iowa State and Purdue universities. Currently, she is a junior at Rockford Lutheran, where she plays golf and softball, although she must admit that her dearest time of year is scholastic bowl (or as they call it at LHS, A-Team) season. She also is active in Allies, a Christian discussion group that meets every Wednesday, and in student government, serving as class secretary. Outside of school, Evelyn is the vice president of Girl Scout Ship 100, which has given her loads of positive experiences, and is helping to form a youth group at St. Bridget’s, where she goes to church. She would like to eventually go into the fields of journalism, science, or even law and she hopes that writing on this blog will help her to begin to discern which. She also hopes that writing online while balancing a crazy schedule will cure her of her procrastination habit, although it might take her a while to get around to that.
Claudia Brokish is a 16-year-old junior at Boylan Catholic High School. After graduating, Claudia hopes to go to college and double major in history and archeology and then do something completely unrelated to those fields, such as go to law school! Claudia likes to spend her free time volunteering, reading or hanging out with friends. Born and raised in Rockford, she hopes to some day study abroad and see the world. Claudia takes school very seriously and overloads her schedule as much as possible, to the point of sleep deprivation, but in the end, all that hard work is completely worth it. She hopes that you fine people enjoy her blog, because she certainly will love writing it!
Zahed Haseeb graduated from Auburn High School in 2010, he’s a second-year (undeclared) Economics and Philosophy double-major at the University of Chicago. The oldest of four siblings, he is originally from Northeast Ohio, but he has lived in Rockford since 2001. His interests, according to Facebook, are religion, philosophy, politics, history, science and sports. When it comes to recreation, he is an avid sports fan (Indians, Cavaliers, Bears), and he likes playing basketball, football, soccer, and table tennis. He plans to enjoy writing this blog, which will be informed by the fact that he’s a practicing Muslim, an indignant centrist, and a jaded youth. He reads a lot of things online that might make him feel smart, get mad, laugh, or as questions. If his blog does any of those things for its readers, he’ll consider his mission accomplished.
Lindsay Masterson graduated from Guilford High School in 2009. She has lived in Rockford since she was very young and is now living in Champaign during the school year. Lindsay is a junior in advertising at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. In high school, she was on the softball team and was part of the Guilford Valkyries synchronized swim team (the only one in Rockford). She has four brothers, a mom, a dad, a step-dad, two cats and a dog. This fall, Lindsay will be in charge of coordinating the half-time card stunts for Block-I (the student section for Illini football). She enjoys writing, but is new to the blogging world and is looking forward to the opportunity to blog for the Rockford Register Star.
Ryan Moran will be a senior at Hononegah Community High School this year. He is currently in the midst of searching for the right college and plans on pursuing a degree in an engineering or writing field. He appreciates the unexpected opportunity to write for the rrstar and plans to post several times a week. A self professed sports nut, Ryan will often post after key victories – and losses – by his favorite Chicago sports teams. Ryan has several AP classes coming up his senior year, but he hopes to continue tutoring during his lunch period as well as being an active member of key club. When he isn’t dedicating time to academic pursuits, Ryan spends his time coaching a youth baseball team, working two part time jobs, hanging out with family and friends and playing sports.
Nicolas Stewart writes, plays hard and listens. His interests include girls, comic books, movies, good conversation, fast driving, righteous anger and forever trying to figure out if he’s crossed “the line” yet. Nic was born in Rockford and raised in Byron, he graduated from Byron High School in May 2010. Currently enrolled in Rock Valley College, Nic is unsure of where he’ll graduate and what he’ll study. He’s written both fiction and non-fiction for the online magazine “LIT.” One day he hopes to be paid more than he deserves.
Shauna Ubersox is an avid reader, writer and sleeper (though the last gets done far less than she’d like). Shauna graduated from Thomas Jefferson High School in Rockford in June 2010, and is attending Illinois State University to pursue a major in journalism in fall 2010. Her hobbies include hanging out with friends, reading, writing, art, driving around, sleeping and the Internet. If she were better at math, she would probably be a scientist, but alas, that is very, very far from the truth.Shauna worked on staff for the Jefferson student newspaper for three years, two of them spent as editor-in-chief. She also participated in the AP art studio program and various other courses and activities. Shauna has lived in Rockford her whole life with her parents, younger brother, three cats and a dog, all of whom are slightly insane. The same can be said for her friends. (She is joking.)In the future, Shauna hopes to pursue both journalism and art in various forms, hopefully ending up at a point where she can do both. For the present, however, she attends college, reads Harry Potter and writes for this blog.