Stories from intrepid reporters attending the Illinois Press Foundation Journalism Workshop at Eastern Illinois University
By Sydney Edwards
Mattoon High School
As a lacrosse player, Sara Dust has scored five goals in a single game.
That spectacular feat isn’t her most memorable moment playing a game.
That is only part of who she is.
The Chicago native and co-captain of her high school lacrosse team remembers how a little luck can score a goal even if you don’t expect it.
“I was trying to pass the ball to a teammate, and it went over her head. It did a super-weird bounce and went into the goal,” Dust said, smiling, as she recalled her top moment on the lacrosse field. “It was one of those moments when everybody asked themselves, ‘What just happened?’”
Dust started playing lacrosse her freshman year, where she served as co-captain for the team, and she said she is proud of the accomplishments she has earned over the past two years.
“I basically start every game. My highest amount of goals I have scored is around five goals in a game,” Dust said.
Before Dust started playing lacrosse, she had planned to be on the basketball team, but her mom suggested lacrosse and thought that she’d do well in it.
“Both tryouts where on the same day, so I had to make a decision. I listened to my mom and it was a great a decision,” Dust said.
Dust developed a passion for the sport because it’s a challenge.
“It takes a lot of practice to catch and throw a ball from a stick. It’s just another object to learn how to control,” Dust said. “I am very energetic so running gets my energy out.”
But her on-the-field accomplishments at Mother McAuley High School on the city’s south side give only a partial glimpse of what sets Dust apart from her peers. She tries not to take her family for granted and enjoys spending time on and off the field with her friends.
“I have a lot of interests, like sports and journalism. I can be girly, but then I’m not,” she said. “My friends would say I’m an extrovert, but I’m really an introvert. When I get uncomfortable, I can be quiet and shy. Over all, my friends would just flat out call me crazy.”
On weekends, she likes hanging out with her best friends on the lacrosse team, Brenna and Maggie, doing typical teenage stuff like going to a movie, having a sleepover or even sharing thoughts on what they’re reading together.
“My good friend, Brenna, and I had three classes together my freshman year, and we never talked. But, one day her and Maggie were talking about a book I really wanted to read, and we basically bonded over the book,” she said, describing what brought her best friends together.
When Dust is not on the lacrosse field, she is reading and writing for Inscape, her high school newspaper and yearbook.
“I love to read, so I like to write. When you read, you listen to stories. So when I write, I want to be the one telling the stories,” said Dust.
Dust became fond of writing after her seventh- and eighth-grade teacher, Daniel Gargano, taught her writing could be fun.
“He’s phenomenal teacher,” she said. “He used to have poetry slams.”
Dust looked up to Gargano as a role model, but she said her mom and brother, Patrick, are others whom she admires.
“My mom is a major role model. She works hard; I really don’t tell her enough that I love her,” Dust said. “She worked hard to put me and my three brothers through Catholic school.”