Take Five with Katie Schiller

| 06 Mar 2012 | 03:23

This week we Take Five with Katie Schiller, a junior at West Milford High School who is a busy young woman. In addition to music, church and athletics activities, Katie is the chairman of the high school's 50th Anniversary Committee. She's learned a lot while researching the beginnings of the high school and she'll share that with the school community and the entire West Milford community later in the school year. Be sure to go to our Web site, westmilfordmessenger.com, and read our bonus five with Katie.

1. How did you get involved with the 50th Anniversary Committee?

One day in November during my AP Government and Politics class, my teacher, Mr. Matlosz shared with the class that it was the 50th anniversary of West Milford opening its own secondary school and our mascot becoming the Highlander. I thought this was really interesting, as I had never before questioned why we were the Highlanders or knew much about WMHS history at all. Mr. Matlosz suggested we do something to celebrate the 50th anniversary and interested students stayed after school to get more information. I was very enthusiastic about the cause and had many ideas and was elected chairman of the committee.

2. What would most people be surprised to know about the 50th Anniversary Committee?

I think most people would be surprised to know how much cool stuff is at the West Milford Museum. Although I’ve passed it on the road hundreds of times, I had never stepped in there until I started doing research regarding the 50th anniversary and it is a pretty neat place. There are old West Milford High School yearbooks dating back to 1965, tons of old newspapers, retired road signs, and much more. The volunteers are very knowledgeable and enthusiastic about their work.

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

I have had a lot of great teachers making it tough to pick a favorite, but I would have to say Mr. (Greg) Matlosz. Mr. Matlosz is extremely dedicated to teaching and has so much energy that his love for history and politics is contagious. He does so much for his students on top of being a fairly new father and a student at Drew University in the process of achieving his doctorate. I find it extremely admirable that he is able to balance both his personal life and ambitions with being a great teacher, putting forth the same energy and enthusiasm into all that he does. I also like how much potential Mr. Matlosz sees in his students. In terms of the 50th Anniversary Committee, he basically gave us an idea and then let us run with it. He is a strong believer in student-run projects, which I think really helps students develop a sense of leadership and responsibility. I love having Mr. Matlosz two periods a day for both AP Government and Politics and AP United States History. He makes both courses a lot of fun as he incorporates a lot of debates and simulations to help us explore time periods and concepts in an innovative way.

4. What do you do with your time when you are not working on the anniversary committee?

I am involved with the T.V. Science program at school and I love to make short films in my free time. Often times my friends help me and we have a lot of fun with it.

5. Share something no one knows about you.

Something no one knows about me was when I was 9 years old I set the record for the 200 yard butterfly on my swim team and the record still stands today.

Way to go, Katie, on the swimming, film making and especially on the anniversary project. We can't wait to see the terrific documentary you and the volunteers are putting together. You are an impressive young woman! Do you know a young person who should be featured here in a Take Five? Send us an email to njoffice@strausnews.com, telling us who and why.

Bonus Five 6. Who is your biggest inspiration?

My biggest inspiration is a close family friend of mine name Harry Raupp. He was a former resident of West Milford and passed away a year and a half ago after a long battle with cancer. Harry is my biggest inspiration because he was quite the “Renaissance man” delving into all of his varied interests while keeping a very positive and optimistic view on life even when it would have been easier not to.

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 bring a fully charged video camera, a tape, and a waterproof case. I would record my final days and then dramatically throw the tape into the sea for people to hopefully one day discover.

8. Share a favorite moment with your 50th Anniversary Committee.

One of my favorite moments with the 50th Anniversary Committee was when a few members and I were at the West Milford Museum looking through the 1965 WMHS yearbook. It was crazy to see how much things have changed in terms of how people dress, the clubs and activities offered, and the presence of popular culture.

9. What does being a Highlander mean to you?

Being a Highlander has become a lot more meaningful to me as I have done more research regarding the 50th Anniversary. Being a Highlander is very important to me as it represents the goals and ambitions of the WMHS student body as a whole.

10. What is your favorite movie/book/character and why?

My favorite fictional character would have to be Holden Caulfield from The Catcher in the Rye. I feel he is a character everyone can relate to in one way or another. Throughout the novel his stream of consciousness serves to discuss many different topics and ideas that many people must consider at certain points in their lives. Hearing them from a fictional character that takes on a very real place in the reader's heart and mind can almost be reassuring at times.