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The student news site of Downers Grove South High School


The student news site of Downers Grove South High School


More than just a teammate: Sports and activities foster lifelong relationships

Kasey Ganger
Senior Gianna Caponigro and Sophomore Kasey Ganger met through their mutual love for speech and theater, and have been best friends ever since.

One of the main parts of high school is the extracurricular activities and athletics that are offered. At DGS, athletics and activities are encouraged for many reasons, but one of them is that students can find friends and build relationships through their sports and activities. As the school year is wrapping up, seniors in activities are reminiscing on their experiences throughout high school, as it is now time to part with their experiences and the friends they have made along the way.

Senior Gianna Caponigro is involved with the fine arts at DGS. She is part of the speech team and drama, and she is a vice president of masque and gavel. Caponigro recently placed first in humorous interpretation at IHSA State Speech and starred in the musical– “Little Shop of Horrors.”

However, for Caponigro, it’s not about being the lead or winning first place – it’s about the relationships she has built throughout her time in speech and drama.

“I mean, the people that I’ve met through speech and theater are my closest friends… It’s also just cool to be with people who do the things that you love, and you can form connections over that and get to know them outside of those activities,” Caponigro said.

Another aspect of participating in activities is the friendships built throughout different grade levels. Sophomore Kasey Ganger also participates in speech and theater and has grown very close with Caponigro.

Ganger has found that the connections she has made with upperclassmen in her past two years are some of the most important to her.

“I think I’ve made a lot of my closest friends through what I do, and the upperclassmen that have surrounded me have really influenced my decisions… It really gives me a mentor in a way, and some people I can look up to and I know will be there for me no matter what,” Ganger said.

On the sports side, senior Hannah Fedinec has played soccer at DGS all four years. Fedinec is going to continue playing in college at Loras University, but she mentioned that she will still miss all the relationships she has built throughout her years on the varsity soccer team.

“I think the connections I’ve made through my sport are some of the most special ones because it gives you that common ground and then you get to learn more about people, so it’s an easy way to get comfortable and start really getting to know people quickly, which is something that was important to me… So yeah, my two best friends I’ve made through sports: one of them I met through basketball, the other I met through soccer. Those are the people that I consider the closest in my life, so it’s definitely a very important thing to me,” Fedinec said.

Fedinec also explained the role sports have played in allowing her to connect with people in other grades, which is easier to do through sports and activities, seeing that many classes are by grade level.

“One of my best friends is a sophomore. I’ve known her since middle school, but we got really, really close last year as a freshman and a junior. I think it’s really important because you get to see things from their perspective, and you can be that person that they go to for advice – it’s a good relationship,” Fedinec said.

Fedinec’s best friend that she met through sports, sophomore Megan Ganschow, elaborated on the relationships she has made in her time with DGS sports.

“Sports have always given me a place to belong. I always know that I have people who understand my experiences and are always there for me… Being an underclassman, I’ve gained a lot of knowledge and advice from upperclassmen that I’ve met through sports,” Ganschow said.

Many students involved in sports and activities believe that it is an important part of the high school experience. Relationships built through sports and activities, especially between different grades, can become lifelong friendships. Not only does a relationship between upperclassmen and underclassmen leave a lasting impression on both students, it also creates an impact on the activity that one is a part of.

“I’ve gotten really close with a lot of the underclassmen, and I think that’s really important because you’re kind of setting an example for them. When you graduate they’re gonna be left to continue the legacy and the support system that you want for everyone else and the support system that you built for them. It’s really cool to have that impact on others,” Caponigro said.

So, although it is time for seniors to depart from the various communities that have formed and thrived at DGS, the connections that they have built will remain forever.

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