The Illinois sunlight streamed into the living room as a slight smile crept up her face. She was wearing a dark green sweater which matched the out of the ordinary earth-hued ladder that sat daintily in the background. An aura of light seriousness seemed to surround her. Ladies and gentlemen, meet Alexandria Thomas.
Alexandria, now in her last year of high school, grew up in a community that she adored in Louisiana. When she moved to Illinois at the age of nine, it is safe to say she was devastated. “I felt like the community that I moved into wasn’t really accepting. Like I really really felt a longing for my friends, extracurriculars, etc that were all back there,” said Alexandria. “I basically live in the middle of a cornfield,” she chuckled. Through adversity, she found support from her family and eventually OHS. “I love my family, I feel like I can talk to my parents about anything and I’m very close to my little brother, John,” said Alexandria. As a homeschooler for most of her younger years, she found OHS a huge transition from her previous learning format. She adds, “A lot of people from the public and private schools are like ‘Oh this is just normal,’ but for me it was a whole different experience. It gave me opportunities and friendships that I couldn’t have found elsewhere.”
Alexandria has been at OHS ever since her sophomore year. She leads the UNICEF club and is the student government president. Outside of academics, she enjoys serving her community and pursuing her passions in whatever way possible. Playing the piano, theatre, and singing are just some of her hobbies. Additionally, she understands the importance of community service and invests much of her time into others. “I’m one of those people,” Alexandria said, “who truly believes that the children are the future of this world.” From helping out at a local food pantry to volunteering with a toddler reading program, Alexandria lives what she believes. “Community service is like my hobby now,” Alexandria said with a touch of humor.
“Some people are so focused on success, but sometimes you just have to focus on learning. It’s important to find happiness in the things around you,” says Alexandria. Her character screamed positivity and she seemed to not only take joy in the accomplishments but also in the rigours of her life, whether they be academic or personal. Furthermore, this attitude towards life doesn’t just stop with her, it creates a domino effect which is shown to be true by her friends. Rachel Hu, the co-leader of the UNICEF club and a good friend of Alexandria’s, said, “She is such a consistent and caring person. A lot of the clubs at OHS at least used to be inactive, but Alexandria pours herself into the life of this club.”
One challenge that Alexandria relishes is her position as student government president. Comparing herself to the likes of a servant, Alexandria states that her only goal is to represent all the students at OHS and help realize their dreams. The weight that is on Alexandria from this role is no trivial joke. Along her journey, she has faced numerous challenges and pitfalls. “I used to think that a leader was just a ‘hype role,’” Alexandria said, “but now I know that a leader is present not only during the good times but also the bad.”
Inspiring her fellow peers, Alexandria will strive to use her resources, talents, and professions to further better our communities even after high school. Kee, Alexandria’s best friend, words it beautifully, “It’s easy to find a leader who can make plans, but it is rare to find a leader who genuinely cares about each individual person.”