Chloe Schanuel was thrilled to be named valedictorian of her class at Smithton School. However, she was less excited about having to give a speech at graduation, but she pulled it off.
“It was just about our relationships and how they grew over time and our good memories we had throughout the eighth grade,” Chloe said of her speech.
Smithton fifth-grade teacher Erica Brueggemann helped Chloe with her speech. Chloe considers Brueggemann one of her mentors.
“She’s always there to talk to and if I ever needed help with something, and she helped me through the tough times,” Chloe said.
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She was proud to be named the top of her class of 57 eighth-graders. “I worked really hard throughout the school year. I wasn’t aiming for that. I was just trying to get good grades,” Chloe said.
Chloe, 14, not only excelled academically at Smithton School. She also was a role model to younger students, and she volunteers to help out when she can.
She recently helped the school with its Camp Invention, a summer camp focused on science, mathematics, technology, and engineering. Chloe said she worked closely with first- and second-graders in the camp and encouraged them to work as a team.
“It was really fun,” she said.
During the school year, Chloe helped the younger students as well. She said she would help physical education teacher Courtney Hammel teach students how to jump rope.
Smithton Principal Vicki Norton said the school won’t be the same without Chloe. “We are going to miss her so much,” Norton said.
Chloe is spending her summer dog-sitting and babysitting three boys — ages 8, 5 and 2 — with her sister, Madison, 16.
Their father, Mark Schanuel, had high praise for his daughters. “They are both wonderful kids,” he said.
He described Chloe as “very sensitive. She thinks of others before herself.”
Q: What are you going to miss the most about Smithton School?
A: “The teachers. We were all really close to them.”
Q: Why did you decide to raise and lower the flag at Smithton School everyday?
A: “I always thought it would be fun to learn how to do a flag. Our seventh-grade year the two people who were doing it asked me and my friend Lexie (Smith) if we would do the flag. It was challenging at first. We didn’t really know what we were doing, but it was a great time taking it down and putting it up.”
Q: How did you pick two students to take your place?
A: “We asked one of the seventh-grade teachers who was the most responsible. I think we chose good people for next year.”
Q: What are you most looking forward to at Freeburg High School?
A: “Meeting new people and taking different classes that I didn’t get to take in grade school. And being with my sister (Madison) again.”
Q: What do you want to do after high school?
A: “I’d like to go to college, a four-year-college, just to experience it. I want to be a physical therapist.”
Q: What got you interested in physical therapy?
A: “I’ve had quite a few injuries. Just getting people to get back to normal like walking and doing different activities they couldn’t do.”
Q: Were you injured playing sports?
A: “In basketball, I had a hurt knee. Then I had two concussions.”
Q: Do you plan to play sports in high school?
A: “Definitely volleyball and softball. I’m still debating about basketball. I’m not really sure yet.”
Q: How are you spending your summer when you’re not babysitting or dog sitting?
A: “Hanging with my friends and going swimming.” The family also has a vacation to Walt Disney World in Florida planned for later this month.
Meet Chloe Schanuel
- Age: 14
- Family: Parents Mark and Connie Schanuel; older sister Madison, 16
- School: graduate of Smithton School, attending Freeburg High in the fall
- Accomplishments: valedictorian of eighth-grade class of 57 students
- Sports: Basketball, softball and volleyball. She plays on the 14U select team — Southern Illinois Sluggers, based out of Sparta
- School activities: secretary of National Junior Honor Society and a member of student council
- Favorite subject: Science. “I like the experiments you get to do and all the cool things you get to learn,” she said.
- Least favorite subject: Literature. “I’m not really a fan of reading. It was kind of challenging,” she said.
- Favorite TV show: “The Fosters”
- Favorite movie: “The Best of Me”
- Favorite food: Macaroni and cheese
- Favorite restaurant: Applebee’s
- Pets: Two dogs, Maggie and Cody. If Maggie has puppies, she would like to donate them to the Wounded Warriors organization or the Make-A-Wish Foundation.