STUDENTS | April 27, 2022
Ashleen, Ellis, and Zak won’t be attending Peterson Elementary School after they graduate in a few months, but they won’t have to travel far to attend high school in the fall. Ellis will be headed around the corner to Northside College Prep, and Ashleen and Zak will be walking a few blocks south to Von Steuben Metropolitan Science Center.
Even though their commute won’t be much longer, entering high school will still be an adjustment, especially for Ashleen and Ellis, who have attended Peterson for nearly a decade. Zak, on the other hand, joined the school in seventh grade after emigrating from Algeria and was immediately welcomed into the Peterson community, even though students were learning from home.
These three students have left their mark on Peterson through their commitment to excellence in everything they do—get to know them more below.
What are your interests both inside and outside of the classroom?
Zak: I like playing soccer outside of school. I’ve been watching a lot of soccer matches since I was born, and now I’m playing it. I really enjoy gym class and reading because I like reading books. We’re currently reading To Kill a Mockingbird in class.
Ashleen: Inside of school, I really enjoyed our chemistry unit because I thought it was a lot of fun. I also like volleyball because it’s a fun sport to play either competitively or just for fun.
Ellis: I like social studies and civics right now. We’re currently learning about the Little Rock Nine and integrating schools. Outside of school, I like to take walks around nature and go bird watching to learn more about the world around me.
How are you feeling about graduating and starting high school?
Ellis: It’s a little bittersweet because I’m excited to move on and seek new opportunities. At the same time, it’s also a little sad because this is the place I’ve been for nine years and it’s a little hard to move on.
Zak: I feel sad because I am going to miss this school, especially the teachers because they were really nice to me. Ms. MacWilliams, my seventh-grade science teacher, stands out because she’s so nice and awesome, and she really supported me when I came to Chicago even though I didn’t know the language very well.
Ashleen: I’m excited to leave, but it will be unusual since I’ve never really experienced another school. However, since a lot of my friends are going to the same high school that I am going to, I think I’ll be comfortable.
What are you going to remember about elementary school?
Ashleen: Making the right friends has been a big part of my time at Peterson. This year, I feel like I found a solid group of friends who I trust. I also think that I’ve found the confidence to speak up more over the years.
Ellis: I think I’m always going to remember science fair because I really enjoyed it. Last year, I worked on a project about math confidence and how it changes. Each grade has brought something new and has shaped who I’ve become.
Zak: I’m definitely going to miss my friends, especially how we bonded when we were learning online. I’ll also remember how being at Peterson prepared me for high school.
If you had to sum up your time at Peterson in one word, what would it be and why?
Zak: Perfect. Everything was great, and I know I will remember this school and having the best teachers ever. I will have so many great memories from Peterson.
Ashleen: I think I would say that elementary school has been a roller coaster. Some days are positive, and some days just don’t go your way, but you have to keep going and not be too hard on yourself.
Ellis: My word is home. There are ups and downs in any home, but it’s ultimately the place that you feel like you belong to.
Keep your eye on these three students in the years to come! Ashleen is interested in becoming either an actor or a doctor, or maybe even pursuing music. Ellis wants to become a wildlife researcher with a specific focus on studying birds. And you may see Zak on the soccer field as he works toward his goal of becoming a professional soccer player.