Stories from intrepid reporters attending the Illinois Press Foundation Journalism Workshop at Eastern Illinois University
By Andrea Davenport
While transitioning from a private co-ed Catholic school to Mother McAuley’s all-girls high school, Olivia Homel talked herself into an endless supply of friendships, running full speed toward a successful career in television and communications.
An all-girls high school, although different in atmosphere, teaches its students the same content as a co-ed school. Considering the similar educations and the contrasting environments, Homel couldn’t be happier at Mother McAuley Liberal Arts High School.
“It has given me a better perspective on how I should be more confident in myself instead of sitting on the sidelines,” Homel said.
Homel has always been an expressive person but her mother, Elia Homel, describes it best on the day of Homel’s eighth-grade graduation party.
Before the school year concluded, Homel went out and met students from all different suburbs and invited them to her graduation celebration. When the day arrived, Homel’s parents couldn’t have been more shocked to find that 200 students, many of whom they had never met, had arrived to celebrate her accomplishment.
In the eyes of Elia, her daughter had made more friendships than ever expected within a small amount of time, all the while using the stress of changing schools to build her relationships.
Abby Amado, Homel’s best friend, has known her since eighth grade and could not fully put into words the impact of such a change in environment.
Amado said a co-ed school will always be different than an all-girls school. It remains to be less intimidating; it allows Homel to be herself without being afraid of judgment.
According to Amado as well as Elia, Homel continues to follow her own path, allowing her to come closer to achieving her dream career of television anchor for E! News.
“Olivia is always talking about everything and is always talking to everybody,” Amado said.
Elia couldn’t agree more.
“Olivia is a free spirit,” Elia said. “She has it in her to succeed and I can see her doing that [television anchor].”
Although she considers herself to be less than perfect for the job, Homel knows that being herself remains to be the only thing that will truly help her succeed.
“I like to do my own thing, rather than follow what others are doing,” Homel said. “I could literally care less what they think because their opinion shouldn’t matter… anyone’s opinion shouldn’t matter about you because you are your own person.”