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Momence Freshman Chloe Petkunas strikes me as someone who’s on a quest to try everything at least once. From cheerleading to AP math, from honor guard to science, her schedule is jammed with endless possibilities. In speaking with her, it’s clear that she wants to know as much as possible about the world around her.

An honors student who loves learning facts by day and a self-described performing arts kid who also loves to perform, this quest for knowledge can take many forms. As Chloe and I talk, more and more layers continue to peel back, each one as intriguing and diverse as the one before.

I really want to know a lot of things.
By Barry Engelhardt

Chloe just finished her theater season as a member of the ensemble cast of Annie. Chloe played both a maid and an orphan, a pair of roles that would have kept her on the stage throughout most of the musical. When asked about participating in the musical, she shares that it’s just something she recently took up. As a self-described introvert, Chloe admits this was a challenge, but she enjoyed diving into it.


“I liked all the people there and performing in front of people. It’s an opportunity for my introvert to come out and be an extrovert for an evening,” shares Chloe.


“I have major stage fright. So, for theater, I try not to think about it and jump right into it. It makes other things I’m scared to do a little easier and more manageable because I’ve had experience and know what to do.”


After graduating from Momence, Chloe wants to attend college but is still deciding what she wants to major in. When looking toward college, she says that she wants to continue to further her education, as she finds learning new things enjoyable.


Her favorite class is math, which she says she’s always loved. She’s enrolled in Algebra I and plans to simultaneously take Algebra II and Honors Geometry next year as a sophomore. While calculus is the goal, she is unsure whether she’ll have to take pre-calculus as a junior.


Chloe is also currently enrolled in biology, which she describes as ‘super fun.’ As someone drawn to math and science, she shares that she’s no stranger to using index cards to reinforce knowledge and plans to transition from biology to chemistry and likely physics.


Chloe suggests that her friends would likely describe her as energetic and a little crazy, but I get the impression she means crazy in a playful way. She considers her friends, especially the cast and crew of the high school theater department, as ‘sweet, supportive, and amazing.’


When not studying or acting, she is a cheerleader on the sidelines of Momence basketball and football games. While this is only her second year as a cheerleader, she loves gymnastics and tumbling and has been in gymnastics on and off for several years. She also plays the flute and has recently joined the honor guard, where she’s learning how to perform during memorial services for veterans.


Toward the end of our conversation, Chloe sums it up nicely, saying, “I really want to know a lot of things.” And from her teachers to the community at large, it’s obvious she lives in a nurturing community that allows her the space and freedom to do just that. This support is exactly what a girl like Chloe needs to continue down a path of self-discovery and a quest for knowledge.

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