April Senior Spotlight


Abby Hoffman , Columnist

The spotlight is on Claire Kenwood this month as we learn more about this hard working, well-rounded Glenbard West student!

Abby: This month I wanted to focus on a senior who seems to juggle so many activities so successfully and I thought of you! I know that you are a State cross country and track runner, but also manage to participate in Forensics and Model UN. Can you tell us how you do this?

Claire: I always wanted to make the most out of my high school experience and so I’ve definitely gotten myself involved in a lot of things. They’re all activities that I’m very passionate about for different reasons and so, while the schedule can be difficult at times, the time and effort become less of a struggle and more of something to look forward to. Another big thing is communication with my coaches who’ve helped me so much in making sure I can pursue so many different things.

Abby: We learned a little bit about Forensics last month, but would love to learn more about Model UN. Can you explain what Model UN is to those who may not know?

Claire:  Model UN is a club where students participate in a conference and get to represent a country’s position in a certain mock united nations committee. You spend a lot of time researching your country and its position and then get to use that knowledge to help create solutions presented in your committee. It’s super fun and a great way to learn more about other countries and worldwide issues.

Abby: How did you become involved in Model UN?

Claire:  I first learned about Model UN from my brother who did it throughout high school so it was always on my radar, however, I decided to join because I’m passionate about politics and learning more about other cultures. I think it’s really cool to put yourself in another country’s point of view and try to look at problems from different angles.

Abby: I understand the application process can be difficult, especially freshman year. Do you have any advice for those looking to apply?

Claire: Because Model UN takes a lot of research and dedication, I would recommend sharing any experiences or passions you have that demonstrate why you want to be a part of Model UN. It can be a very selective process so don’t get discouraged if you don’t make it the first time, you’ll still have a chance in the upcoming years. I’d also say it’s never a bad idea to introduce yourself to the sponsor Mr. Kotrba if you have any questions about the club and to see what you can do to better your chances.

Abby: Does this busy schedule of yours allow room for any other activities at West?

Claire: I do find time to get involved in a few more things like tutoring at the Write Place, National Honors Society, and French Honors Society. I’ve also been involved in a few before school clubs throughout my four years such as Eco-Club and West Students Making a Difference.

Abby: Congratulations on your acceptance to Cornell University! That is quite an accomplishment. What advice would you give to younger students who have an Ivy League school in mind?

Claire: I’d say the biggest piece of advice about applying to an Ivy League, or any school for that matter, is not to sell yourself short. The college application process is a great time to put yourself out there and have confidence in your abilities. My second piece of advice would be to make sure to do your research on the school and plan a visit if possible. There are so many schools to choose from and it can be easy to become caught up in rankings and names instead of finding a school that’s right for you.

Abby: What do you plan on studying at Cornell?

Claire: I’m hoping to study civil and environmental engineering which I would like to use in working with water sustainability and climate resistant infrastructure. With our changing world, I think civil engineering is going to become more and more important and I can’t wait to see what challenges arise.

Abby: I know you’ve had a rigorous schedule throughout your time at West. What has been your favorite class and who has been your favorite teacher?  

Claire: I don’t know that I could just pick one class and teacher, but I always really enjoyed Mr. Neiss’ AP Language and Composition class last year. I never really liked writing very much before his class, but I found myself interested in the topics that we were talking about and loved some of the open-ended discussions we had. He also gave some pretty good book and podcast recommendations, although I’m not sure many people took him up on those.  

Abby: Do you have a favorite memory at West?

Claire: I’ve made a lot of really good memories at West, but one of my favorites has got to be when we won state for track. We weren’t really expecting it, so when Mr. Kim told us that we were in first we didn’t really know what to say about it, we just got really excited to watch our teammates in the last race of the meet secure our championship.

Abby: What will you miss the most?

Claire: I think I’ll miss all the friends I’ve made here at west. From cross country to Forensics to track to Model UN, I’ve met so many of my best friends. I love going to all the dances with them and even just hanging out at practices, so it’ll be really hard to leave them behind next year.

Thank you so much for taking the time to share your Glenbard West experiences with us. You’ve been such an inspiration and continue to amaze me, as well as many other students, in all you do. Best of luck in all your future endeavors. I know you’ll do great things!