The Chomp

The Student News Site of Gateway Regional High School

The Chomp

The Student News Site of Gateway Regional High School

The Chomp

The Student News Site of Gateway Regional High School

Who Makes You The Best You?

The positive influences in our lives
Katherine Leeds and Ms. Byrne, a senior and a staff member at Gateway
McKenna Spositi and Cassidy Hagmaier
Katherine Leeds and Ms. Byrne, a senior and a staff member at Gateway

Who do you believe makes you the best version of yourself? A lot of us are still trying to figure out who we truly are, and that’s okay. Sometimes we don’t even know until later on down the line who has shaped our lives the most.

Having good influences throughout your life helps shape you into the person you become. Sometimes we tend to follow our friends around us because we feel as though it is right, but friends aren’t our only positive influences. We interviewed a few people who had stuck with their influencer’s words.

A few teachers and staff members in the school had offered to speak with us and share the greatest influences in their lives. We spoke with Ms. Byrne who teaches seventh and eighth grade math. First, we asked her who the biggest role model in her life has been thus far.

She responded, “I am very fortunate to have had many people who have positively impacted my life, and the person who has been the largest influence on my life is my father. He instilled the belief in me that no matter what path I chose in life, I should strive to do my best, and he provided me with endless opportunities to try new activities. He came to every game and concert, and he always told me how well it went and how much he enjoyed being there.”

After that, we asked her how her father shaped her into who she is today.

She replied, “My father taught me that, in addition to working hard, you should also treat those who are important to you well. I carry this belief with me when managing my relationships with friends, family, and students. I believe that this allows me to quickly build positive relationships with my students where they feel encouraged to try their best, and many of these relationships have lasted long after I have had that student in class.” 

Her statement shows that the relationship she had with her father strongly impacts how she talks and interacts with people to this day. Our final question that we had for Mrs. Byrne was more generally, “What do you believe makes you, the best you?”

She responded, “I believe that there is something to be learned from everyone who passes through our lives at any point in time. Along with many other valuable life lessons, people teach us how to give and accept kindness, how to persist when things do not go our way, how to prioritize the things that are important to us, and how to value the things that we have. So, I believe that the lessons I’ve learned from people in my life and the way I’ve continued to grow as a person makes me the most me.” 

After interviewing Mrs. Byrne, we got together with one of Gateway’s basketball coaches and Mental Health Instructor, Mr. Durand. He has helped our school in so many different ways ranging from mental health services to how we can be the best versions of ourselves. First, we asked him who in his life has made him who he is today.

He responded, “I have been really lucky to have been influenced by two great teachers when I was in school. My fifth grade ELA teacher was such a positive person who took the time to encourage all students to use their gifts and talents.  I was also really influenced by my College Advisor who was not only very smart but also very eager to help me to work on getting better in areas I struggled in. When I think of how I now work in education, I am grateful for these two people.”

After that, we inquired about what made him want to become a coach as well as an educator.

He replied, “Once again, I have been able to look back and see that at a young age, I was influenced by very positive coaches and mentors who helped me to see that coaching was a goal that I had. I was able to start at a young age (in high school) as a coach and referee when not playing.  As a parent, I also became very active and involved in coaching all of my kids in various sports, but also loved Basketball the most.”

Finally, we asked, “What makes you the happiest out of everything you do?” 

He responded, “Something that makes me the happiest out of everything I do is when I see those around me being better off because of the time we have spent together.  That could be a player or a friend that is achieving their goals or benefitting from help in some way.” 

After speaking with some of our teachers and staff in our school we got together with two different students to also see what their beliefs are regarding positive role models in life. We first interviewed Leanna McKnight. We first asked her what motivates her the most.

She responded, “My mom. She motivates me the most because she’s the person who will be by my side when I cry. She was there for me when none of my old friends were and she helps me with school work and problems I have. She lets me rant to her about how my day has been and I can easily explain to her things that others wouldn’t understand.”

Leanna also shared that she has numerous friends who stick by her side and help her to be her best self as well.

Finally, we got together with Katherine Leeds, grade 12, and asked her a few questions as well. We started by asking her who keeps her going in life when the going gets tough.

Her response was very interesting and impressive, “My younger self. She pushes me the most because she doesn’t want to be disappointed. I wanted to be working with animals ever since I was younger, so I’m going to college to be a Vet technician. Hopefully, it’ll make my younger self proud.”

Besides herself, Katherine shared that her boyfriend and her family both push her to be better and stand by her when she isn’t at her best. 

Everyone should always push themselves to do the absolute best they can in life. However, not everyone may have the same outlet as others when it comes to good influences in life. Yet, we believe everyone should strive to do what makes them happy.

Although it may be hard some days, you have to remember that you have people surrounding you every day trying to get to the same point in life that you are. Never let someone else’s opinion on what makes you happy change your perspective on life. Always strive to be the best version of yourself, even when it feels as though it’s impossible.

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About the Contributors
McKenna Spositi, Staff Writer
My name is Kenna, and I am a senior at Gateway. I like cooking, organizing, playing the keyboard, styling, and designing.
Cassidy Hagmaier, Staff Writer
My name is Cassidy Hagmaier. I am a senior and part of Gateway's new Journalism course. I enjoy writing poetry and short stories. In my free time, I like to spend time with friends and family. When I’m not with them, I’m working at Claire’s.    
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