Getting involved at school gets Mokena teen’s vote
BY CHERYL DANGEL BARTOLINI Correspondent November 2, 2012 1:00PM
Serena Shoff, 17, a senior at Lincoln-Way North High School, has been president of the student council for the past four years and was one of two students to paint a Phoenix (background) in the cafeteria. | Matthew Grotto~Sun-Times Media
Updated: December 6, 2012 6:01AM
Serena Shoff was like many other freshmen when she started high school at Lincoln-Way North in Frankfort.
She was both nervous and excited, but she knew the key to success there would be becoming involved.
Her next choice ended up changing her entire high school career: She joined student council.
“I knew a few sophomores who were in it. They told us that student council was looking for people to join and I went for it,” said Shoff, 17.
Next, she took an even bigger step. She decided to run for freshman class president.
“I did a lot of campaigning, made posters and handed out sheets of paper that said, ‘Vote for Me.’ Six other students were running, too, so it was pretty tough but I won,” she said.
Each year since, Shoff has run for president of her class and won. As senior class president, she now looks back on her high school years with fondness and school pride.
“Student council gets students involved and everyone loves it. It is a great place for people to come and get involved in school,” said Shoff, who enjoys her daily duties as president so much so that she went to school over the summer to decorate the windows and halls to make the school look inviting on the first day for incoming students.
“I like the responsibilities of student council and being able to meet with the principal, Dr. Michael Gardner, a lot,” she said. “That was a big thing as a freshman and now I’ve gotten to know him better. Plus, as a senior, I give a speech at graduation and I do a lot of fundraising for the school.”
The daughter of Regina and Chris Shoff, of Mokena, said her three older sisters, Stephanie, 24, Sarah, 22, and Stacey 20, are her mentors.
“They push me to become a better person and a better student. They are always there for me,” she said.
Shoff also is active in the science club, National Honor Society, Spanish National Honor Society, Pi Sigma Pi (a history honor society), Mu Alpha Theta (a math honor society), and Science Honor Society.
“I’m trying to get my own club started called ‘Peer Pals,’ based off the national organization called ‘Best Buddies.’ It would create activities for students to socialize with special-needs kids in our school,” Shoff said. “The club was approved last year. Now we are just waiting to have our first meeting.”
In college, Shoff plans to pursue a degree in nursing and is hoping she’ll attend St. Mary’s of Notre Dame.
“We’ll see if I end up going there,” she said. “I’ve had a calling for nursing. I initially wanted to be a doctor but it involves a little too much schooling. If I become a nurse, I can be around people and still help them.”
On top of all her other activities, Shoff works as a waitress several days a week at Parmesans Wood Stone Pizza in Frankfort. She credits her work schedule and her need to succeed for her ability to stay on top of it all.
“Work keeps me focused. If I know I have work, I know what things I have to get done before then,” she said. “Having a routine keeps me focused, as do my parents, who help me keep up with all my responsibilities.”