Take Five with Christina Lokai

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This week we Take Five with Christina Lokai, a standout on the West Milford girls varsity basketball team. Christina has a great love for her sport and deep admiration for a teacher who has impacted her greatly. She also loves the mouse. Be sure to go to our Web site, westmilfordmessenger.com, and read our bonus five with Christina.

Name: Christina Lokai
Age: 17
School/Grade: Senior at West Milford

Activity: Basketball

1) How did you get involved with basketball?

I have been playing basketball ever since I was four years old. My older sister did it, and my admiration of her pushed me to follow in her footsteps. I participated in camps and recreational teams for the majority of my childhood. However, as I grew I came to personally just love the sport, and I built strong bonds with other girls on my team. Basketball was always a positive outlet for me, which caused me to stay involved with it for more than 10 years.

2) Who is your biggest inspiration?

My biggest inspiration, without a doubt, is Steve Irwin. I watched his show every day before school, and absorbed his passion for wildlife. My dream is to internship at his zoo while I am at college. He left such an amazing legacy dedicated to education, wildlife, and conservation that I can't help but idolize him.

3) Who is your favorite teacher of all time and why?

I have had the pleasure of getting to know so many of my teachers. But, my favorite teacher would have to be Mrs. Weiss-Magasic. I have had her for three different classes for the last three years. Not only is she a great person, but the material she has presented to me has only furthered my interest of the natural world. In her Biology, AP Environmental Science, and AP Biology classes, I was able to learn through interesting labs and memorable field trips. We have also been able to connect on a personal level since she has had me for so long, and we have really come to understand each other as people rather than just as a teacher and a student.

4) What do you do with your time when you are not playing basketball?

When I am not playing basketball, I am rehabilitating wildlife. I have been doing this ever since I was young, and I have such a passion for it. I have rescued everything from baby birds, to mice, squirrels, opossums, and more. It is very time-consuming, especially if the animal is a baby. I once had a baby bird that required me to wake up every 20 minutes to feed him. But, I never become frustrated or annoyed with an animal if it needs extra care. I just enjoy being able to help injured animals eventually return to the wild.

5) Share something no one knows about you.

I would shock most people if they ever stepped into my room. Friends know I love Disney and Superheroes, but few know how far my obsession goes. The walls of my bedroom are covered so thickly with posters, magazine clippings, and pictures that I would challenge someone to guess the color of the paint underneath. Now that no space remains on my walls, I have started to cover my ceiling and windows. My collectible superhero figurines line my desk beside my collection of Disney DVDs and Mickey Mouse ears. All of this is jammed into my small, 16x20 bedroom.

Now, just imagine moving all of that into a dorm room, Christina! You may have to make some tough choices. We admire your school spirt and your dedication to wildlife. There are great things ahead for you!

Do you know someone who should be featured here at Take Five? Let us know! Email us at njoffice@strausnews.com. Tell us who and why. And give us an email address to contact the student. We want to feature all of the wonderful kids of our township.

Bonus Five

6) What would most people be surprised to know about basketball?

Most people would be surprised to know how close everyone in the girls basketball program is. I am a three sport athlete, and none of my seasons compare to how much fun I have in basketball. The coaches are dedicated to the team, and push us every day in practice. But, we are also always telling jokes and laughing. There is a lot of love in the basketball program, and I am going to miss it so much.

7) Name three things you would bring with you if you were on a deserted island.

If I were on a deserted island I would have to bring scuba diving goggles and some kind of large container. These items would allow me to investigate the whole island, and catch and admire all its wildlife. My third item would definitely be some kind of television that played Disney movies because I watch them all the time, and would not survive without them.

8) Share a favorite moment with your team.

My favorite moment of all time with my basketball team was during my junior year. We were at practice and there was a lot of tension in the air because everyone was upset about our tough loss the night before. But, our captain tried to lighten the mood with a joke and within a few minutes everyone was laughing and joking. Even our coach had joined in, and kept us entertained. We reenacted our game from the night before, poking fun at obvious mistakes we had made. I don't remember who we had lost to or what the final score was, but I do remember how we changed the entire atmosphere of the room with our good humor.

9) What does being a Highlander mean to you?

To me, being a Highlander means having pride. When I hear "West Milford Highlanders," I instantly think about the deafening cheers at a pep rally or the catchy chants at a football game. Highlanders at West Milford who attend sporting events are the key to this meaning because we join together and cheer for one common goal. We believe that our team will win. The endless cheering and shouting for classmates as they challenge a rival school is something that I will never forget because it the true meaning of being a Highlander.

10) What is your favorite movie, book or character and why?

My favorite movie is Brave. It is a recent movie that was released by Disney's Pixar last summer. The main character is named Merida, and I idolize her. Her independent heart, cleverness, and sensational Scottish accent establishes the base for a beautiful movie. She is a courageous young girl who battles the threat of an arranged marriage, a murderous bear, and a changing fate. Merida is such an original character that I can't help but be drawn to her individuality.

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