Art, adventures, even Australia: Orland Park teen likes ‘discovering new things’
“I like everything to be just right,” said Jacquelyn Schirmacher, who just graduated from Sandburg High School in Orland Park.
That’s her motto in virtually everything she does.
“She is a great student and pushes herself to excel in all she does and is an incredibly hard worker,” said Kristin Spooner, of Sandburg’s English department. “She’s also extremely well-rounded.”
The term “well-rounded” encompasses a lot.
Last summer, Schirmacher, 18, ran a road race in Australia as part of Down Under Sports, where contestants from the United States, Australia and New Zealand compete. She was overseas for 10 days.
“It definitely taught me to be more independent and communicate with others better. It was scary at first because you don’t have your parents and you try to figure out how to get through the airport and currency exchange,” she said.
Then there is her musical and artistic talent. Schirmacher has played the violin since she was in fourth grade and most recently played in the high school orchestra. She also plays the piano.
In addition, she is a talented artist.
“I like doing fun things with art,” said Schirmacher, who took a drawing class this year and enjoys working with pencils and charcoal. “I just doodle a lot. I just do it for fun or whenever I have time.”
As a senior, she especially enjoyed taking Challenge Ed, a class that included rock climbing, kayaking and other activities geared to encourage team-building.
“I really liked that. I fell in love with it. It is challenging but also stress-relieving,” she said.
Come next school year, Schirmacher will be attending Illinois Wesleyan University. She is contemplating majoring in science or psychology.
“I like always learning something new and constantly discovering new things,” she said.
Schirmacher said her mother, Jane Schirmacher, of Orland Park, is her mentor.
“She raised me and my three little sisters on her own and she always says the right things,” Schirmacher said. “You would think being a single parent would be hard, but I think she’s way better than most parents.”
She keeps on track by focusing on her grades.
“I always try to keep my grades up and do my sports,” Schirmacher said. “If you don’t have a good race, you know that there’s always another one and you learn from the last one. That’s how I approach school and music.
“I try to learn from my past mistakes. When people say, ‘You can’t do something,’ I like to prove them wrong.”