Senior Spotlight Q&A Interview: Elizabeth Klimek
Get to know Elizabeth Klimek
May 29, 2020
Elizabeth Klimek, also known as Lizzie among her family and friends, is a senior at John F. Kennedy Memorial High School. She is the captain of the girl’s varsity soccer team and is in the marching band drumline. She was born on March 10th, 2002, and is currently 18 years old. I sat down with Lizzie to ask her some questions.
What are some things that describe you?
Elizabeth Klimek: I would describe myself as empathetic, open-minded, and adventurous. I’m always curious and I am not afraid to go to places I have never been to before. In addition, I am very emotionally intelligent which helps me empathize with those around me as I imagine myself in their position. Keeping an open-mind helps me learn and understand that my opinion is not always correct.
What are some of your favorite things or things you like?
Ever since I was young, I have been exposed to music. My dad taught me how to play the drums and I have been trying out different styles [of music] including joining the marching band as a snare player and performing in school plays/concerts. I also love to play soccer. The competition, skill, and teamwork is something that I could never turn down.
What is your favorite subject?
Science has always been my favorite subject. But specifically, I enjoy forensics. The mystery and critical thinking it requires is what keeps me interested.
What has been your inspiration?/ Who Inspires you?
No one specifically inspired me but many people I have met in my life created an impact on my life one way or another. I aspire to be the best version of myself and influence others to do the same. My family and friends always believed in me whether it be interviewing for a job or simply acing my final exams each year.
What are some of your accomplishments?
Some of my accomplishments include awards but also mental accomplishments. During my high school career, I tried out for the girl’s varsity soccer team and auditioned for the marching band drumline, both of which I was not sure I would make, but being accepted into those programs shaped me in many ways. I learned time management and how to be a leader. In my sophomore year, I earned the sportsmanship award for soccer and earned the spot as captain of the team for the next season. During my junior year, I suffered an ACL injury and successfully returned to the field after 7 months of rehab which was a huge accomplishment in my book. Senior year I received the Mustang Award for marching band for my commitment and dedication to the band along with a captain’s award for soccer. Overall, I was also able to balance all my school work even as a student-athlete.
What are your plans after high school?
After high school, I want to continue my education. I will go to college and earn a bachelor’s degree in Biology. Not only will I have a deeper insight into different subjects, but I will get the chance to create life-long friends, and discover my purpose.
What college are you going to?
Cabrini University located in Pennsylvania
What led you to finally choose the college that you picked?
Even though I was not able to visit the campus, the pictures they had of the school were beautiful which included lots of trees and flowers. The institution was a small one which was one of the things I looked for because of the close-knit communities, and the connections I could have with teachers would be perfect for when I need help in my classes. Not only did this university provide me with the scholarships I thought I deserved based on my dedication to succeed in school, but the atmosphere of the school was very welcoming which I knew would make my transition into college smooth.
What are you majoring in?
I will be majoring in biology on a pre-med track.
What is the best thing you look forward to in college?
I look forward to meeting new people outside of New Jersey and joining clubs. Although I chose not to continue my soccer career due to my injury, I plan to try new sports out like track and develop a passion for it. In addition, I will soon be away from family for the first time so it is something that will certainly be an experience.
What are your career goals?
I have always enjoyed helping others and understanding how the human body works. My career goal is to become a forensic pathologist. This job is very important to identify the cause of death of someone who died unexpectedly or to understand a crime scene. Death is something that everyone will experience at some time, but for family members, an autopsy can provide a sense of closure and answers to their longing questions. Even though the path to becoming a forensic pathologist is rigorous, I am determined to reach my goal.
How has the Coronavirus affected you?
The coronavirus had affected me greatly. As a student of the class of 2020, we all did not see this coming and we definitely did not think we will not be enjoying the best months of our lives with the people we have been growing up with for the past 4 years. Not being able to enjoy prom, spring sport senior nights, and especially graduation is hard to accept because these are the times we reflect on our achievements and create lasting memories before everyone goes their separate ways. Mentally, the coronavirus has taken a toll on my mental health even as a person who enjoys her time in her room. Going to school was a way for me to get my daily dose of communication and laughs from others, but now I’m constantly stuck behind screens: computers, TVs, and phones. Without human interaction and the fear of the coronavirus, I feel like I am alone most days and the days feel longer.
How would you describe your senior year with the challenges of coronavirus and distance learning?
In the beginning, virtual learning was easy and a lot of fun because we did not have to leave our beds. As days turned into weeks, it became incredibly hard to stay motivated when video games, phones, and Netflix were within reach. I feel as though I am not receiving the same quality of education I would have received in school especially in my science course. My senior year would be described as a roller coaster. With happy memories of the school play and enjoying my last season as a soccer player and marching band member, I did not get to experience the other events only seniors get to experience. As a freshman, many have imagined what color dress they would wear for prom or how it will feel like after 4 years to walk across the field in our gowns. The Class of 2020 has lost the chance to make memories all other classes had the privilege to endure.
How did you spend your time at Kennedy?
I spent most of my time on the JFK football field. From learning drills at band camp, playing soccer games, and being the pep band for the football team, I was constantly on the field. Despite the activities I was involved in, I spent my time learning from great teachers and making many friends along the way.
How were you involved in school?
I was a member of the girl’s soccer team, played snare for the marching mustangs and indoor drumline, and participated in spring track my sophomore year.
What year has been your favorite? Why?
My favorite year had to be my sophomore year. Surprisingly it was the only year I was completely healthy without any injuries. Not many can say they used crutches as their means of transportation every other year of high school. Our soccer team won multiple games and it was our best season out of the four years. The marching band executed an outstanding yet difficult field show called Mandala. Lastly, sophomore year has to be the least stressful year of high school as we are not stressing over college applications, SATs, or finding our way around the school.
What are some of your favorite memories of JFK?
Dressing up, taking pictures, and having a great time with all of my closest friends for the cotillion was a night I will never forget. It will be the closest thing to prom. Another memory was volunteering to play percussion for our school play: Footloose. The cast members and the band did an amazing job that week.
How has JFK prepared you for life after high school?
JFK taught me that nothing will ever be handed to you. You have to work hard for it but if you don’t understand something, there are always people willing to help you. You are not alone during this process but the future is in your hands whether you want to work hard and study to be your best or get involved with the wrong crowd.
How do you feel you’ve changed from freshman to senior year?
As a freshman, I was always scared to raise my hand for help and was shy around many people. Over the years I became more confident and expressed my personality more to people. Each year I even gained more discipline and determination to achieve good grades in my classes by understanding my main priorities.
What is some advice you would like to give to underclassmen or incoming freshmen?
Live every day of school like it is going to be your last. Anything can happen so join that club your friends think is too nerdy and take that harder track class if you need a challenge. Hard work comes with good things and before you know it, that hard work will pay off when you are going to start applying to college. But even if you do not plan to continue your education, at least you will know, you did the very best you can. It is something you have complete control over.
Anything else you would like to add?
As they say, high school goes by fast and I never knew exactly how fast it would go until I was a senior preparing for graduation. Spend less time stressing over that boyfriend or girlfriend or the disagreement you had with your best friend and start making memories at school sporting events, dances, and fundraisers early. The Class of 2020 hopes no other class has to go through what we had to go through, so enjoy the insanely fast 4 years as much as you can so you can look back at those memories.