#1StudentNWI: John Adam’s Eagles soar into the second semester

#1StudentNWI: John Adam’s Eagles soar into the second semester

What’s recently happened?

On January 8, the second semester started for the Eagles at John Adams High School, which for seniors, marks their final semester before graduation in June. There have been a lot of preparations in order to make sure all credits are received, applications for colleges have been submitted, and scholarships are being worked on. In less than five months, the Class of 2024 will leave a chapter of their lives behind to start a new one, whether it be college, trade school, joining the military, or taking a job. 

“I will forever be grateful for how much I’ve grown over the last four years and even more grateful for all the people and experiences that influenced me,” said Sara Tabakovic, full International Baccalaureate (IB) senior. 

For many seniors, these last few months are some of the most meaningful times in their high school career, for it is one of the last times that all their peers will be together before they take their own path. While it is bittersweet, the Class of 2024 has much to look forward to, including Spring Break, prom, and graduation, as well as a chance to reflect on the memories made in the first semester.  

“That’s the thing that I’m dreading the most – knowing that there are a lot of people I really enjoy seeing who I most likely will lose contact with as we all move on in life,” said David Nagy, partial IB senior. “I’m hoping that I will be able to hold onto relationships after graduation.”

What’s coming up?

On January 25, the IB World Religions class will take a field trip to visit the Kadampa Meditation Center and the Holocaust Museum in Skokie, Illinois. The classes have been most recently studying Taoism but have also learned about the Jewish faith. The field trip will be an opportunity for the students to learn more about how each religion impacts the community around them. 

Michelle Beatty and Emily Dean, John Adam’s World Religion teachers, collaborated with the monks of the Kadampa Meditation Center as well as with the curators at the Holocaust Museum to provide an atmosphere of meditation and learning for their students.

“I am very excited for this upcoming field trip,” said Grace Kelly, full IB senior. “Not only will it be a chance to spend time with my peers, but I am also very interested in the material that we have learned and would like to immerse myself in the culture of Taoism.”

The class focuses on religions around the world, diving deeper into cultural aspects, leaders of each, and ways to practice and upkeep within each belief. The main religions covered are Buddhism, Islam, Judaism, Christianity, and Taoism, and the students are able to research and learn from many sources and discussions about the inner workings of each one. 

“I think that World Religions is such an informative and exciting class, and I feel excited to learn each religion,” said Mabel Ferdig, partial IB senior. “Mrs. Beatty is such a wonderful teacher and really takes the time to allow her students to fully grasp the concept of each.”

Staff spotlight:

Jacob Timmons was born and raised in South Bend and really appreciates all that the community has to offer. A favorite community event that Timmons enjoys is Art Beat due to the creativity that is offered every year. Timmons attended John Adams for high school and continued onto higher education at Lewis University in Illinois where he studied biology and chemistry. 

Jacob Timmons (far left) returns to his alma mater to teach biology courses.

“The community raised me and gave me the foundations to be where I am today, and I am set on giving back to that community,” said Timmons. 

Teaching has always been Timmons’ goal due to the amount of influence many of his teachers had on him throughout his education career, such as his fourth grade teacher John Hensler. During his time in high school, some of his favorite teachers included Cecilia Stanton-Verduzco and Beckie Hernandez. Timmons found his love for biology through Nevin Longenecker and Lynn Pantea. 

“My favorite thing about working with students is illustrating all the amazing aspects of living things and how they work,” said Timmons. “It is a grand learning experience of how many things had to happen just for someone to be sitting there and reading this today.”

During Timmons’ time working at John Adams, many of his previous teachers became mentors and helped to provide ideas and answers to many questions during the start of his career. 

“I enjoy working with the students and staff at John Adams because I have never met a group of educators more driven to help bring success to their students,” said Timmons. 

Student spotlight:

Olivia Purcell is a senior at John Adams and is working towards obtaining the full IB diploma. Purcell commits to a rigorous schedule by taking five IB classes, one advanced placement (AP) class while serving as a teacher’s aid for Stanton-Verduzco, as well as being involved in numerous clubs, sports, and her community. 

“The full IB program has been challenging, but it has taught me skills that I will take with me as I enter college, such as how to draft research papers and make connections in the real world,” said Purcell. “All of my teachers are very supportive, and I would not want to go about my high school career any other way.”

Purcell was a member of the John Adams Cross Country team for the past four years and held the position of captain during her junior and senior year. Joining cross country gave Purcell the opportunity to meet new students at John Adams, which helped her transition from middle school and quarantine for COVID-19 to high school. 

“Before my freshman year, I was debating playing soccer or running cross country, but due to multiple concussions from playing soccer, I decided to run instead,” said Purcell. “I knew I wanted to be a part of a community that gave me an outlet from school while challenging me physically and mentally.”

Purcell is also the co-president, along with Eavan Kelly, for Eagles Going Green (EGG), Adams’ environmental club. Purcell has been a member of Mock Trial for four years, an officer for National Honor Society and student government, and is a part of the Spanish Club. 

A couple of her favorite memories include a sleepover team bonding with the Girls Cross Country team, as well as participating on Homecoming Court. Many of her teachers, including Stanton-Verduzco and Beatty, make her time at Adams very memorable and help to initiate engaging discussions and lessons within the classrooms. 

“My education at Adams has broadened my curiosities and allowed me to find areas that really interest me,” said Purcell. “My experience, especially with the IB program, has allowed me to think more critically and globally about complex issues that our generation faces.”

Purcell will continue higher education next year at the University of Notre Dame, going in undecided but with an interest in pursuing biology. While being a second-semester senior is a bittersweet feeling due to coming to an end of an era, she is excited for what the future and the next chapter of life will bring her. 

“If I could give my freshman self any advice it would be to get involved and work hard, but be gentle with yourself and learn for the sake of learning,” said Purcell.