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SHARE YOUR STORY

INSPIRE the Next Generation of Titans

The Lorain City School District is seeking stories from those who have attended our schools to share with our students, staff, and community. We want to know what you're up to now, how your experiences in our schools and community have influenced your life, and what advice you'd give to your younger self if you could today.

These stories will be collected here on the district website and shared out through social media, our weekly email, and beyond. Most importantly, your tales will be shared with our current students to open their minds and inspire them along their own journeys right here in the Lorain City Schools. Get started at this link

Class of 2020

MEET SAVON CHAVIS

Photo of graduate Savon Chavis
SAVON CHAVIS, 2020 LORAIN HIGH
Savon is a member of the U.S. Navy.

How has your experience in Lorain City Schools influenced your life?

"My experience in Lorain City Schools influenced me to go to college, especially to be an influencer and motivator to younger students in Lorain. It showed me that there was more of the world that I needed to explore. It also introduced me to a wide variety of diversity among people of all colors, races, and gender which helped me to become comfortable communicating with new people."


What piece of advice would you tell your younger self?

"I would tell my younger self to read more books"

Class of 2019

MEET RICO MERCADO

Photo of graduate Rico Mercado
RICO MERCADO, 2019 EARLY COLLEGE
Rico is now a realtor 


How has your experience in Lorain City Schools influenced your life?

"My experience throughout Lorain City Schools/Early College has taught me a lot, but one thing I have learned is that things can get hard and challenging but you don't ever want to give up, just keep moving forward and get better each and every day. I definitely use that today in my Real Estate career and in my everyday life. Lorain City Schools/Early College has helped me grow and shaped me into who I am today."


What piece of advice would you tell your younger self?

"Save your money early to invest into your future!"

MEET HANNAH HILKO

Photo of graduate Hannah HilkoHANNAH HILKO 2019 LORAIN HIGH SCHOOL
Hannah is currently a student at the University of Toledo studying exercise science. 

How has your experience in Lorain City Schools influenced your life?

"Lorain City Schools taught me that things get hard and you deal with a lot of different people but that doesn’t mean you give up. It means to keep pushing and you will succeed .

What piece of advice would you tell your younger self?

"Never give up"

Class of 2018

MEET JUSTIN STRUGILL

Photo of graduate Justin Sturgill
JUSTIN STURGILL, 2018 LORAIN HIGH
Justin currently attends Mount Union University.  He strives to be a Doctor in Physical Therapy post graduation. He is involved with a handful of organizations and teams. He is a student coach and  involved in doing service for Raiders Cove as a Student Resource Center Coordinator. He serves as the President of the Exercise Science Club and a brother of the Phi Kappa Tau Fraternity as well as a member of the Executive board. He is currently the Health and Safety Chairmen on the IFC (Interfraternity Council) for Mount Union. Lastly, Justin is conducting research on our soccer team using high tech GPS units that look at energy expenditures, heart rate, and intensity of play. 

How has your experience in Lorain City Schools influenced your life?

"It led me to who I am today. It showed me how to prepare for what college was like and get my mind right for the experiences I was able to take in. There’s more to college than just being in a classroom. Being involved in organizations and having positions have helped me tremendously. My experience led to great work ethics and determination of goal setting in order to succeed. It made me a great leader. It has taught me grit and having a focus or drive for what I plan to accomplish in the future."

What piece of advice would you tell your younger self?

"Be more involved. Work harder. Focus on Work ethics because having that passion and wanting to put the work in has made my life better and prepared me for what I am doing now. I would say do more with the time you have because time is valuable."

MEET PAUL GREER

Photo of graduate Paul Greer
PAUL GREER, 2018 LORAIN HIGH
After graduating from Lorain High, Paul ended up attending Lorain County Community College. He is currently pursuing an Associate's degree in Mircoelectromechanical Systems (MEMS) and potentially a Bachelor's degree in the field as well. Lately, he has been devoting all of my time to getting better at it, as it is something that really sparked his interest. It is my second year in the program and I am completing the last few classes needed to graduate within the next year. 

How has your experience in Lorain City Schools influenced your life?

"I felt that my experience in Lorain City Schools helped to prepare me for the real world. Not only has it showed me how much I am capable of if I work hard, but it taught me something even more important. No matter how smart, gifted or hard-working we are, we can't do everything alone. We all need guidance and a push in the right direction every now and then, and I felt I got just that during my time there."

What piece of advice would you tell your younger self?

"If i could, I would tell my younger self to slow down, because life isn't a race. It's not about how long it takes, but more-so the experiences that shape who you are along the way. Whether it takes 5 years or 30 to graduate and settle down, success is never a missed opportunity unless you give up."

Class of 2017

MEET SLY WORTHY JR

Photo of graduate of Sly Worthy Jr.
SLY WORTHY JR., 2017 LORAIN HIGH
Sly is a recent graduate of The Ohio State University with his Bachelors of Social Work, and is also a Licensed Social Worker. He will be attending graduate school at The Ohio State University to receive his MSW.  During his undergraduate career at Ohio State he was honored to start his own student organization to support first-generation college students (Buckeyes First Student Organization), be apart of our 2020 Homecoming Court, engage in research, study abroad (Dominican Republic), and be nominated and named as a Martin Luther King Jr. Scholar. 

How has your experience in Lorain City Schools influenced your life?

"I would not be who I am today if I had not grown up in Lorain and attended Lorain City Schools. Growing up in Lorain was not always the easiest as often you are surrounded by a lot of distractions, but it simultaneously taught me so much. Lorain taught me how to make the most out of what I had. Resources were limited so often you had to learn how to maximize the most out of resources to still reach your desired outcomes. Lorain also provided me with grit and pride. I was an athlete and our coaches always reminded us what it meant to be from Lorain the type of grit that it would take to persevere. The last thing Lorain provided me was love. I could not agree with the saying “it takes a village to raise a child” enough. At a young age, I was misguided and was not always shown the love a kid like I needed which caused me to get into a lot of trouble. People in the community, my coaches, and some teachers saw that dimmed light inside of me and took it upon themselves to do whatever they had to do to make sure that my light would shine. This support did not end once I graduated high school. The most recent display of this support was displayed when I had the opportunity to raise funds as a member of the Ohio State Homecoming Court and about 50 of the 71 donors were from Lorain. Everyone believes that Lorain and schools like Lorain do not prepare their students for higher education, but I would argue differently. Once I came to college, I was exposed to an abundance of resources which I was able to maximize. I had a sense of pride in who I was, the identities I held, and where I came from which allowed me to stay true to myself. When things were difficult in college, I had the grit instilled in me which allowed me to stay persistent and get through it. Lastly, things are a little easier when you see the continuous support and love that Lorain provides me. College was not easy by any means, but I was able to utilize what Lorain instilled in me to persist at a high level during my undergraduate career."

What piece of advice would you tell your younger self?

"I would tell my younger self that life does get hard but situations are temporary so keep my eyes on the prize. I would also tell myself that everything happens for a reason even if we do not know why. We learn a lot from our experiences and sometimes we have to go through things in order to prepare us for our future."

MEET NAZ BOHANNON

Photo of graduate Naz Bohannon
NAZ BOHANNON, 2017 EARLY COLLEGE
Naz is a recent graduate of Youngstown State University. He will graduate with a Bachelors of Science in Business Administration with a minor in Marketing. He has been a four year starter and captain for the basketball team at Youngstown State, and has just moved to Clemson University he will continue his basketball career. In addition to school Naz started his own small business in the fall of 2019. He has a 6 month old son that he loves with everything in me. His son gives him the extra motivation to push through each day and conquer whatever lies in front of him. 

How has your experience in Lorain City Schools influenced your life?

"My experience through the school system molded me in numerous different ways. To be brief I will just state 1. The single thing that I am grateful that the Lorain city schools system has is a great sense of diversity. In times like today i am glad that I was raised through a city and school system that can very well be an example for the world of how it’s supposed to look and work when you blend individuals of almost every race or ethnicity."

What piece of advice would you tell your younger self?

"I would tell my younger self that routine, maturity, and discipline are three words that he needs to apply to his everyday life. Those 3 words alone can determine how successful  he will be at whatever he pursues. I would also tell myself to slow down and enjoy being a teenager because you’ll never get those years back."

MEET LINDSEY WILLIAMS

Photo of graduate Lindsey WilliamsLINDSEY WILLIAMS, 2017 LORAIN HIGH
Lindsey is a recent graduate of Ball State University where she received her degree in public relations. She also works for LCS Communications Department as the Communications Coordinator.

How has your experience in Lorain City Schools influenced your life?

"LCS taught me never to settle for less. Everyone I encountered saw potential in me and pushed me to be the best version of myself... I will always attribute my success to where I came from and the lessons I learned while there.

What piece of advice would you tell your younger self?

"Allow some grace for yourself! You don't have to be perfect or have it all together. The beauty is in the journey."

MEET ASHLEY BARAGA

Photo of graduate Ashley Baraga ASHLEY BARAGA, 2017 EARLY COLLEGE HIGH SCHOOL
Ashley currently attends Kent State University and will be graduating Fall 2021 with a bachelors of science.

How has your experience in Lorain City Schools influenced your life?

"Growing up in Lorain and attending Lorain City Schools shaped me into the person I am today. I was very shy but I was learning who I was. Lorain City School teachers spoke highly of us branching out and following our dreams. I am very happy now because of branching out. " 


What piece of advice would you tell your younger self?

"I would tell my younger self to stop being afraid of herself. I was very shy in school and kept to myself. Being shy I believe I lost opportunities that I could have had. Fortunately I am able to make up for the lost opportunities now."

MEET JEM GARCIA

Photo of graduate Jem GarciaJEM GARCIA, 2017 LORAIN HIGH 
Jem has graduated from Ohio University with a degree in plant biology and marketing with a minor in business administration. She also creates and sells her acrylic paintings.

How has your experience in Lorain City Schools influenced your life?

"Everything about lorain has shaped me into who I am. The people have taught me to be kind and accepting. The culture taught me to be smart, and real. The teachers educated me and always pushed me in the right direction.


What piece of advice would you tell your younger self?

"Everything figures itself out. There is no need to stress."

MEET SARAH LEIGHLITER

Photo of graduate Sarah Leighliter
SARAH LEIGHLITER, 2017 LORAIN HIGH
Sarah is enrolled as a full time student at Cleveland State and is a nursing assistant at O'Neill Healthcare.

How has your experience in Lorain City Schools influenced your life?

"It was a big part in my life, I played sports all throughout my time there and I can honestly say that was the best part of my life. I met so many amazing different types of people there."

What piece of advice would you tell your younger self?

"Focus! Work hard and play later."

Class of 2016

MEET JENNA RUIZ

Photo of graduate Jenna Ruiz
JENNA RUIZ, 2016 LORAIN HIGH
Jenna is a Hispanic Outreach Prevention Educator at The LCADA Way. She recently graduated with her Bachelor's in Public Health at Kent State University.

How has your experience in Lorain City Schools influenced your life?

"The teachers were always the best part I had amazing teachers while in LCS and because of them never giving up on me and for holding me accountable and pushing me, I am where I am today."


What piece of advice would you tell your younger self?

"Never give up on yourself, shoot for the stars and everything will work out in your favor."

Class of 2012

MEET MARK BALLARD II

Photo of graduate Mark Ballard
MARK BALLARD, 2012 EARLY COLLEGE
Mark works for the Mayor of Elyria.

How has your experience in Lorain City Schools influenced your life?

[Lorain] has been a huge influence and one of the reasoning I choose to come back to the Lorain County area."

What piece of advice would you tell your younger self?

"Never doubt yourself. No one knows you better than you know yourself. "

Class of 2009

MEET LISETTE SANTIAGO

Photo of graduate Lisette Santiago

LISETTE SANTIAGO, 2009 ADMIRAL KING

Lisette currently works as an Area Supervisor for McDonald's.


How has your experience in Lorain City Schools influenced your life?

[When I] made it to middle school, I met the teachers who changed my life DRASTICALLY!! Special shout out [to the teachers] for following me all throughout high school, helping me with scholarships and a full ride to Kent State University! At the time, my current home life wasn’t the greatest but they made sure I had everything I needed to succeed and pushed me towards the right direction! With out them, I don’t think I’d be here today working on my Masters degree. Thank you for all that you do! 

What piece of advice would you tell your younger self?

"I wouldn’t change a thing! Every triumph led me to the direction I needed to be in to be where I’m at today!"

Class of 2008

MEET JOEL TAYLOR

Photo of graduate Joel TaylorJOEL TAYLOR, 2008 SOUTHVIEW
Joel is a supervisor at Lorain County Community Action and has started his own management company. In addition, Joel hosts his own radio show called "The Bridge" on Power 89.1 FM WNZN. 

How has your experience in Lorain City Schools influenced your life?

"My experience in Lorain City Schools influenced my life by showing me a sense of family with others. The teachers were always very helpful and made the learning experience fun when they could. The students became family and there are still people I am friends with now that I went to school with." 


What piece of advice would you tell your younger self?

"You are stronger than you think and keep going. I am so proud of you in-spite of all you’ve been through."

Class of 2007

MEET JASMINE WOOLFORK

Photo of graduate Jasmine WoolforkJASMINE WOOLFORK, 2007 SOUTHVIEW 
Jasmine is an entrepreneur working as a wardrobe stylist specializing in advertising and commercial work. 

How has your experience in Lorain City Schools influenced your life?

"Being a student of Lorain city schools taught me how to have tenacity and to work hard. Our city is small and often overlooked so hard work is a great way to stand out.  Nothing worth having comes easy and I learned to give 100% at everything I do through many influential educators." 

What piece of advice would you tell your younger self?

"I would tell my younger self there is no dream that’s too big and never to give up.  Dare to walk the lonely path because it sets you apart from the crowd."

MEET DOMINIC PRICE

Photo of graduate Dominic Price
DOMINIC PRICE, 2007 ADMIRAL KING
Dominic is now a business owner of FirstXXIV Media Group

How has your experience in Lorain City Schools influenced your life?

"I personally feel LCS prepared me with a mindset of adapting with whatever obstacle(s) ahead of me.


What piece of advice would you tell your younger self?

"Be influenced by what you’re passionate about and make each day better than yesterday."

MEET ASHLEY BREWER

Photo of graduate Ashley Brewer
ASHLEY BREWER, 2007 ADMIRAL KING
Ashley is a paraprofessional at Toni Morrison Elementary and a youth development professional at Boys & Girls Club of Northeast Ohio.

How has your experience in Lorain City Schools influenced your life?

"I've always loved being a product of Lorain City Schools. I was able to experience field trips, assemblies and programs that not all school districts were able to experience. By the time I graduated high school, I knew that I wanted to have a career where I could give back to my city when I became an adult. " 


What piece of advice would you tell your younger self?

"I would tell my younger self that you are not a failure for wanting to stay at home. Not everyone is built for the big cities with all of the hustle and bustle. Home is what you make it."

MEET ELIZABETH BENDLAK

Photo of graduate Elizabeth BendlakELIZABETH BENDLAK, 2007 SOUTHVIEW
Elizabeth is a 10th grade English teacher at Sandusky High School.

How has your experience in Lorain City Schools influenced your life?

"My experience in Lorain City Schools influenced me to go to college, especially to be an influencer and motivator to younger students in Lorain. It showed me that there was more of the world that I needed to explore. It also introduced me to a wide variety of diversity among people of all colors, races, and gender which helped me to become comfortable communicating with new people."


What piece of advice would you tell your younger self?

"Try harder. High school was easy compared to college and life after college. Paying bills, having kids, and trying to maintain a relationship with your spouse is hard. Apply yourself and try harder in school. Really challenge yourself. Have confidence."

Class of 2006

MEET AMBER ROBINSON


Photo of graduate Amber Robinson
AMBER ROBINSON, 2006 ADMIRAL KING
Amber is now a licensed cosmetologist in Lorain County. 

How has your experience in Lorain City Schools influenced your life? 
"The teachers that were in the school impacted my life. They cared about me emotionally and mentally and not just scholastically. " 

What piece of advice would you tell your younger self?
"I would tell my [younger] self, “Don’t get too comfortable.“

Class of 2005

MEET JACLYN APONTE HUNTER

Photo of graduate Jaclyn Aponte HunterJACLYN APONTE HUNTER, 2005 ADMIRAL KING
Jaclyn is a full time IT Business Analyst at NASA Glenn Research Center.

How has your experience in Lorain City Schools influenced your life?

"Nothing compares to the diversity I was able to experience growing up in Lorain, and attending a Lorain City School strengthens that experience tremendously. Learning and developing friendships in such a welcoming and inclusive environment prepared me for my college experience, joining the workforce and everyday life as an adult." 


What piece of advice would you tell your younger self?

"Read a new book as often as you can. Learn the study methods that work best for you and practice them, often! Understand basic life lessons, such as building credit and the consequences of taking out student loans for college. Enjoy high school because it will go by faster than you think!"

Class of 2002

MEET STACEY CRUTCHER

STACEY CRUTCHER, 2002 ADMIRAL KING
Stacey is a professional in the hospitality industry.

How has your experience in Lorain City Schools influenced your life?

"My experience attending Lorain City Schools has had quite a profound impact over my life. Since moving to Lorain over 20 years ago I use to struggle alot in school particularly with reading and math. Nothing seemed to make sense to me, I always felt lost in the shuffle. The schools I previously attended, I never gotten the extra help I needed. I felt the teachers didn't care for their students. Well that was until I started attending Lorain City Schools where I've encountered a few teachers throughout my educational journey who showed me otherwise. Once I got the help that I needed everything begin to make sense and the rest was history."


What piece of advice would you tell your younger self?

"Keep going, and don't give up."

Class of 1996

MEET MIRIAM ENGLE

Photo of graduate Miriam Engle
MIRIAM ENGLE, 1996 SOUTHVIEW
Miriam is a teacher in Lorain City Schools.

How has your experience in Lorain City Schools influenced your life?

"Lorain is filled with diversity but I did not have many Hispanic teachers while I was a student in LCS.  I knew that I wanted to be a teacher and I knew that I wanted to stay here in Lorain.  Representing the Hispanic community was and still is extremely important to me."


What piece of advice would you tell your younger self?

"I would tell my younger self to take wood shop or an auto body class. They both teach things you can apply in the future and they aren't just for the boys."

Class of 1993

MEET NOMAR PEREZ

Photo of graduate Nomar Perez
NOMAR PEREZ, 1993 LORAIN HIGH
Nomar has been a Senior Designer Illustrator working in the Creative Studios at American Greetings for 18 years. He has also been able to illustrate multiple children's book and recently published his own book Coqui in the City as author and illustrator through Penguin Publishing. This book is also available in Spanish and it represents my Puerto Rican heritage and some of his memories growing up in Puerto Rico. 

How has your experience in Lorain City Schools influenced your life?

"Coming from Puerto Rico when I was 10 years old was a big transition of culture and language for me. I didn't want to come live in Ohio, I didn't know how to speak or read English and my parents didn't know the language either. The support from the school and the teachers from the English as a Second language program was crucial in my transition and made a huge difference. The Lorain City Schools were a big part of my youth and it help develop me in who I am today."

What piece of advice would you tell your younger self?

"I would tell [my younger self] to not be so shy and to be be brave in communicating my ideas and connecting with others."

Class of 1980

MEET MARY THERESA ZVOSECZ

Photo of graduate Mary Theresa Zvosecz
MARY THERESA ZVOSECZ, 1980 LORAIN HIGH
Mary is preparing to retire after 37 years of teaching in Lorain City Schools. 

How has your experience in Lorain City Schools influenced your life?

"During my time as a Lorain student, the city's wide range of diversity in ethnicities, socioeconomics, academia, and life experiences created an environment where people were accepted and respected. That medley of people was one of the reasons I returned to the city to educate. There were many positive role models in my youth and the expectation to succeed was strong.  LCS was an excellent school system and I was proud to be part of the institution for so many years during my teaching career."

What piece of advice would you tell your younger self?

"Strive to be more authentic and attentive instead of aiming for perfection. Also, I'd remind myself that the process is more important than the goal."
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