After the bell: Hobbies showcase students’ passions


Jonathan Hodgson

The pursuit of a pilots license is just one of the many interesting activities students participate in after school.

Lauren Miranda, Features Editor

From 8:20 a.m. to 3:20 p.m. the students of DGS seem almost identical. They all work towards the same objectives during the school day: attending classes, taking notes, completing coursework and taking tests. However, it is what some students do after the dismissal bell that makes them so unique. By crafting their niche activities, these DGS students make the most of their after-school time.

Senior Abbey Rosko turns to a creative outlet after-school: fashion. Rosko’s interest in the craft began after taking a fashion course at school, and she has since learned how to sew and crochet.

“I started sewing with a machine after signing up for fashion construction my freshman year at DGS. I took three years of fashion construction and learned a lot about sewing. I taught myself how to crochet this past summer in June; it was something I always had wanted to learn, so one day I just found a video online and taught myself,” Rosko said.

Rosko continues to hone her skills by making clothes, with her crochet tops being her favorite creative accomplishment.

Rosko wears her favorite crochet top made out of granny squares. (Abbey Rosko)

“[The tops] are a lot better quality than my sewing work because I have had more experience with sewing pieces together by now. My favorite is my most recent shirt I made, and it was made out of a bunch of granny squares,” Rosko said.

Along with sewing and crocheting, Rosko styles outfits. She enjoys styling because it gives her an avenue to freely express herself through her clothing choices, and her motivation comes from two specific influences.

“I take a lot of inspiration from the world around me when styling and also am very interested in fashion history. I also don’t really tie myself to one aesthetic and just wear what I like. I kind of will just throw different things on until I find something I like,” Rosko said.

Although Rosko is currently undecided on her future, she is interested in pursuing a career in fashion. She even has some advice for those interested in learning to sew or crochet.

“Learning how to sew and how to crochet both take a lot of patience; it can take a long time to perfect your skill. Especially with sewing, you have to be very precise. And you’re going to mess up; I have messed up so many times and have had to redo projects and that’s OK because you have to make mistakes in order to learn and become better at it,” Rosko said.

Another student bettering her after-school craft is junior Ariana Huenefeld. While most athletes are still training under coaches during high school, Huenefeld has taken her involvement in her sport to the next level: she is a coach. Huenefeld coaches gymnastics at BIG Gymnastics, where she previously trained for six years.

Huenefeld teaches many classes, including a ninja and beginners class, at BIG Gymnastics in Burr Ridge. (Lauren Miranda )

Although the fundamentals of the sport haven’t changed since her time as a gymnast, coaching is much different than training.

“Coaching is much less stressful, especially because I coach mainly younger kids. Training puts a lot of stress on an athlete, and I’m glad I don’t have to endure that stress anymore,” Huenefeld said.

Huenefeld teaches many classes while coaching, and ensures her athletes are enjoying the sport while improving their skills.

“I teach four classes, all different levels and ages in each class. The most important thing to remember when coaching is making sure the athletes have fun while pursuing their passion,” Huenefeld said.

She also enjoys watching kids challenge themselves, which she often observes in her ninja class taught to young children.

“The best part of ninja class was getting to see the kids push past their comfort zones and learn how to creatively use flips while on an obstacle course,” Huenefeld said.

Meeting young, impressionable athletes and helping them achieve their goals in gymnastics is Huenefeld’s favorite part of coaching, and she plans to continue well into her future.

For senior Jonathan Hodgson, his after-school time is spent 7,000 feet in the air soaring through the clouds. Hodgson is actively pursuing his private pilots license, finding inspiration in his family members and love for travel.

“What sparked my interest [in flying] was my love to travel and I know pilots travel a lot. I enjoy the change of scenery and the freedom to travel where I want. Also, there are a lot of pilots in my family,” Hodgson said.

To get his commercial license and work as a pilot, Hodgson must complete a series of steps.

“First, I get my private pilots license. I will next need to complete a bunch of other small licenses. After I complete all of those I can start my commercial pilots license to which I can try and get a job with a regional airline,” Hodgson said.

Hodgson flies smaller airplanes to train for his private pilots license. (Jonathan Hodgson)

Currently, he has logged 22 hours of flight time. According to the Federal Aviation Administration, he needs a minimum of 40 hours in order to obtain his license. Hodgson’s ambition is to be a commercial pilot, and he points out two facts he believes are essential to realizing his goal.

“Saving your money and time management is key,” Hodgson said.

While Hodgson’s aspirations will be achieved in the air, senior Casey Muzykansky cultivates her passion with two feet on the ground. Muzykansky trains in the field of martial arts. Her interest sparked at a young age after watching a karate-themed Disney Channel show.

“I was obsessed with the show ‘Kickin’ It’ when I was little. Watching the martial arts and gymnastics on that show really caught my attention. Ask me any question about ‘Kickin’ It’ and I can probably answer it,” Muzykansky said.

She began training in October of 2012 and has since become a black belt. She currently trains at True Balance Karate which is a Tang Soo Do school; Tang Soo Do is a Korean-based martial arts. Muzykansky’s practices are multifaceted.

“A typical practice is about an hour and 15 minutes and it consists of a warm up with three minutes of jump rope, 80 sit ups and 35 push ups, which is what we have to do at our black belt test. Then we usually split into our levels- my class consists of bluebelts and first and second degree black belts. We go through marching, forms, one-steps, falling and on occasion end our class with some sparring,” Muzykansky said.

Muzykansky consistently trains and attends many competitions throughout the year. (Casey Muzykansky)

Forms are different footwork patterns, blocking movements, stances and striking and kicking techniques according to Clearwater Kung Fu. Sparring is defined by Omega Martial Arts as martial artists aiming to kick or punch the body and the head of their opposers. Both forms and sparring are common in martial arts competitions, where Muzykansky goes to show off her skills and competitive side.

“I compete multiple times a year; competitions are usually a three day event with the first day being the black belt test for those testing, the second day being the competition day with black belts in the morning and gups (colored belts) competing in the evening. The competition is usually three rounds: a forms, a weapons forms and a sparring round with the forms and weapons being on a number point system and the sparring on a bracket. The person with the most points for forms or wins the sparring match gets first (gold) with the next following in second (silver) then two bronze, one third and one co-third,” Muzykansky said.

In addition to competing, Muzykansky is certified to officiate or judge the evening rounds of competition with her black belt status. Her next tournament is the 2023 US National Championship in July, which will be held in the Chicagoland area. Along with the discipline and respect the sport has provided her, Muzykansky loves martial arts for its family environment.

Pullquote Photo

…although we are competitors who beat each other up all the time we really are friends and family.

— Casey Muzykansky

“I love that as I have gotten older and higher in rank I have gotten a more family dynamic with my competitors and fellow martial artists. We usually have some sort of party at night after competitions and it really shows that although we are competitors who beat each other up all the time we really are friends and family,” Muzykansky said.

So the next time students are waiting to hear the dismissal bell ring, they should take a quick look at the classmates around them. They may see a black belt, pilot logbook, crochet needles or a ninja headband peeking out of their backpack. And who knows, maybe they could even tag along with one of them and try something new.