Friday Five

Each week we highlight five people who are doing their part to make LFHS a better place
Five more Scouts worth celebrating.
Five more Scouts worth celebrating.
Taylor Ross

Lena Kopecky

Not only is science teacher Mrs. Kopecky’s love for biology infectious (pun intended), she is an amazing  teacher whose relationships with her students transcend class.  

When Mrs. Kopecky starts each class, she asks a fun and random attendance question and requires each student to answer it.  In this way she builds relationships with her students and creates a safe space for sharing of experiences.  Mrs. Kopecky listens to her students and encourages them to ask her questions both in and out of the classroom. 

She is “super understanding; she’ll always listen to students about when to schedule our tests and whether or not review guides should be extra credit. At the same time, she definitely wants her students to learn,” says senior Sadie Strong.

Mrs. Kopecky’s attitude especially helps when students are struggling, senior Kelsey Lee said. 

“She is always optimistic and supportive of everyone and never makes you feel bad about not understanding a concept or doing poorly on a test,” she said.

While Mrs. Kopecky is most known for teaching biology and AP Biology, she also is one of the teacher advisors to the Science Olympiad Team.  Through her many years of coaching, she has a deep knowledge and understanding about the events and is able to guide students about the best ways to prepare for competitions.  

Despite initially struggling after COVID, the LFHS Team “did very well overall this season!  We went to the state competition this year and placed in two events at the state level, 1st in Optics and 2nd in Forestry,” said Mr. Galla, co-advisor to the Science Olympiad Team.

Having success this year has lead to a new level of excitement for the Science Olympiad Team.  Both Strong and Lee credit Mrs. Kopecky’s positive attitude and enthusiasm for their joining and succeeding in Science Olympiad. 

“Although there are many things that make Mrs. Kopecky special, one of my favorite things about Mrs. Kopecky is that we often joke that she is the science department mom.  She is always willing to provide advice for all things inside and outside the classroom, will happily listen anytime you need to talk and most of all she is always willing to help other people out in any way she can,” said Galla.

Ella Burns

With graduation just a month away, senior Ella Burns is preparing for the next chapter of her life, but it’s one that most people wouldn’t expect nor have the guts to embark on…a gap year. While many are quick to make assumptions as to why she won’t be pursuing higher education right away, they’re also unaware of her ultimate goal: to live life to the fullest in honor of her late father. 

“Her dad was really sick a couple of years before she was born and the doctors weren’t sure if he was going to survive. He ended up surviving, and we were blessed to have another five years with him. I not only feel that he survived so that we had more time with him, but also because we were meant to have Ella in our family,” said Michelle Burns, Burns’ mother. 

Through the Adventures Rolling Cross-Country (ARCC) program, Burns will camp across the Western region of the United States, specifically traveling to Montana, Wyoming, Utah, Colorado, Arizona, and Hawaii. During this semester-long experience, Burns will study Grizzly Bears, Bison, and Grey Wolves, learn about immigration reform and social justice initiatives along the southern border, engage in sustainability principles through hands-on learning at a Permaculture farm in Hawaii, and have a myriad of other meaningful experiences. 

Apart from a desire to discover every corner of the globe, Burns is also an active member of many clubs and activities both inside and outside of school, including Camp Hope, Scout Buddies, Big to Little, Human Rights Club, Environmental Club, “VART” (Varsity Art), and so forth. For four years, LFHS has been lucky enough to have her kind presence and adventurous spirit grace the hallways. Burns strives to befriend every person she meets, a quality that is hard to come by in today’s day and age. 

“Ella and I have been friends for over ten years, and I still look forward to seeing her every single day. She is the most genuine and spontaneous person I know, and I have met few people that make me laugh as hard as she does,” senior Arison Oates said. “We have been through so much together and I am so grateful that she always pushes me to be my best self.”

Matthew Ranker

Senior Matthew Ranker, or Ranker as many of his classmates call him, is a prominent voice in the classroom.

He never fails to add some laughter in your life and he can always make a bad day seem like a good day.

“I used to be on his sailing team sophomore year, and I still remember his funny jokes,” said senior Tristan McDonald

“I have math class with Ranker and he never fails to make me laugh in the middle of class,” said senior Brady Gamrath. 

One of his most surprising qualities is his fitness journey. Ranker has a contagious and inspiring love for fitness. He has become a fitness influencer and even has multiple social media accounts that are dedicated to his fitness journey. 

 On his accounts he posts videos about health and wellness and tips that can improve your body. He also posts videos of himself training and working out. He posts the good, the bad and the ugly so he can inspire others to improve their wellness. 

Fitness is not always fun and it is a lot of hard work, but Matthew can always make it look like a good time.

Juan Alvarez Rodriguez

Though some may only recognize Juan Alvarez Rodriguez from his trademark curled mustache, some students are lucky enough to have him as a teacher for their Spanish class.  

“Señor Alvarez is the best! I look forward to seeing him and being a part of his class everyday,” said junior Max Weninger. 

Señor Alvarez, as his students call him, has created an exciting class environment where students feel comfortable and want to be a part of. 

“Señor Alvarez makes Spanish class somewhere I want to be every day. He is able to connect with every student in class and makes the class fun and entertaining,” said junior Matthew Chabraja. 

Alvarez has a unique background. He immigrated to the United States 13 years ago from Spain knowing zero English. His own struggles to learn a new language help him be a stronger teacher. 

Many students have been very happy with how comfortable they have felt in his class. This is because of the respect he has for his students and his understanding of the difficulties of learning a new language from his own experience. 

“The way Señor Alvarez teaches has taken away so much of the stress from speaking Spanish out loud in the classroom. He has shared how difficult it is to learn a new language from his own experiences learning English, and has made us feel confident when learning Spanish,” junior Charlotte Arvia said.

Rob Parry

Robert Parry does a fantastic job both both behind the scenes and in the spotlight.

If you visit the tech help desk, Mr. Parry is likely the person helping you with your technology. From Macbooks to cell phones, Mr. Parry he is often more than happy to help. This year’s switch to Macbooks led to more tech problems than usual. Despite the headaches, Mr. Parry used his witty and sarcastic humor to make students and staff laugh.

Physics teacher Mr. Matt Wilen said he was a frequent visitor to the help desk when he first received his Mac.  “Despite any stupid issues I have he has always been happy to help despite how busy he is,” Wilen said.

English teacher Meaghan Cook, who coaches girls varsity soccer with Mr. Parry, said she admires his ability to be “approachable yet commanding.”

“His dedication to his athletes is admirable and endearing. His sense of humor is appreciated and beloved by athletes and fellow coaches,” she said.

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