Hear This: Li Shares A Message Of Hope And Inspiration
Sometimes, Zion Li is worried about using his voice.
“I can get pretty loud in my classes, and sometimes I can shout out things when I get excited,” Li said. “But I’m working on that and I think I’m getting better.”
Some things, though, are still worth shouting from the rooftop: such as Li’s message about “special abilities.”
A 15-year-old sophomore at Stevenson who is on the spectrum, Li says that he doesn’t consider his unique challenges a disability.
“I found out that it’s not a disability at all. It’s a special ability,” Li said of being on the spectrum. “That’s what I want (other kids to know). I think God wants to make us all different, and that’s OK. Everyone is different and that’s what makes us special.”
Li certainly has a special story….a “Stories Of Stevenson” kind of story.
When he was 3 years old, he was stumbling and suddenly had a hard time walking. That’s when his parents, Zach and Hong, were first given the diagnosis that he is on the spectrum.
“It was like the end of the world, not being able to walk. I remember that,” Li said. “But I didn’t give up. I didn’t lose hope, and basically, I got to where I am now.”
And now, at Stevenson, Li is thriving.
There were times last year as a freshman that Li says that he felt like people were picking on him for being different. But he sought support and comfort from his parents, trusted adults such as his favorite teacher Ms. Cabarello, and his friends.
And he got involved in multiple clubs, such as Badminton, Chess, Green Team, Best Buddies and Archery, which created an even bigger friend circle for him.
His learning curve in archery was nothing short of amazing.
“My mom told me that I needed to be in more clubs, so I just showed up to archery as a freshman,” Li said. “I wasn’t sure if I liked it or not. So now, I tell other kids, ‘just try some new things, maybe you’ll be kind of good.’”
Li is more than good at archery. In his very first tournament last year, never having even tried archery before he got to Stevenson, Li snagged a second place, shooting a 283.
He went on that season to win two tournament titles in the freshmen boys division, and also got one perfect score.
“Some people say that I just have a special talent for it,” Li said while smiling shyly at Ms. Caballero, who joined him for this interview and, at times, couldn’t hold back tears.
Caballero, the sponsor for archery and pictured left, is also Li’s physical welfare teacher and leans on him to help her set up for their first-period class each day. He also helps lead the warm-ups, and was intent on making sure at a recent class that everyone was doing their prescribed number of pushups.
“Zion is just so kind and fun and loving and supportive and curious, and there is a lesson to learn from him,” Caballero said. “You can achieve anything you want if you try hard enough. Nothing should ever stop you.
“Like with archery…all it took was just working on his focus a little bit and he was getting bullseyes every time. It was amazing because when he started doing that…I saw so much hope in his eyes.”
Caballero quickly made Li an integral part of the archery team. He was the only freshman on varsity last year.
“He stood out because he came into archery wanting to know everything about it,” Caballero said. “And now he’s very, very good. He grew so much in one year.”
Li has grown immeasurably since that diagnosis more than a decade ago.
He says that he is proud. He hopes that others read his story with hope.
“If you can believe in yourself, you can push through,” Li said. “Just don’t give up because you are different. If you keep doing the right thing, things will come out right for you.”
It’s “DeStress Days” This Week…With Kindness Cards Today!
Ahead of next week’s Final Experience, DeStress Days, sponsored by Peer Helpers, has been taking place all week!
Today, KINDNESS CARDS were distributed at all entrances before school. We hope they brightened your day!!
DeStress Days wraps up tomorrow:
Glass Commons and Wood Commons
All Lunch Periods
Choir Concert To Dazzle With Numbers From Different Genres!
Stevenson’s curricular and co-curricular vocal ensembles will perform a variety of songs from all different styles and genres TONIGHT in the December Choir Concert.
The event, slated for a 7 p.m. start in the Performing Arts Center, features the curricular choirs including the Stevenson Choir, the Advanced Choir and the Patriot Singers as well as the co-curricular groups including Low Frequency, Nothing But Treble and Polyphonics.
The concert can also be viewed via Vimeo.
In conjunction with tonight’s December Choir Concert, there is a fundraiser at the Lincolnshire Culver’s all day TODAY that will benefit Stevenson’s Choir Programs.
Please be sure to mention the fundraiser when you place your order.
Stevenson’s Jazz Students Jazzed Up For Jazz Cafe!
There may not be coffee at this cafe, but there will be JAZZ!
Students from Stevenson’s jazz programs, Jazz Ensemble, Concert Jazz Band, Lab Band, Combo 1, Combo 2 and Combo 3 will be featured in both small and large group performances in the Jazz Cafe TOMORROW.
The show is slated for a 7 p.m. start in the West Auditorium and can also be viewed via Vimeo.
Check Out IGC For Pokemon And Magic Events
The Interactive Gamers Club will be hosting a Pokemon event with the newest set, Silver Tempest, TODAY after school in Room 7116!
Each player will receive six packs to make a deck and must be able to stay until 5:30 p.m. to participate. The cost is $5 to attend. Please contact Mr. Fedewa with any questions!
Also TODAY, IGC will host a Magic event with the newest set, JumpStart 2022. Each player will receive packs to make a deck and also must be able to stay until 5:30 p.m. to participate. The cost is $5 to attend.
Hey Freshmen! You Are Appreciated!
It’s Your Night At TONIGHT’s “Fan Appreciation” Hoops Game!
It’s “Freshmen Fan Appreciation Night” at TONIGHT’S varsity boys basketball game against Lake Forest, which will tip off at 7 p.m. in the Sportscenter.
Freshmen will get free entry and those who bring two canned items (pantry staples such as pasta, canned vegetables, mac and cheese, etc.) will receive a FREE Loyalty T-shirt!
It is also a “BLACK OUT,” so all fans are encouraged to wear black.
Freshmen who show exceptional sportsmanship and pep will get Culver’s Free Scoop Tokens to be redeemed at the Lincolnshire Culver’s on Milwaukee Ave.!
NOTE: Be on the lookout for senior Christina Mo (pictured right), who will be taking over Stevenson’s main Instagram account, TONIGHT to capture all things FRESHMEN FAN APPRECIATION NIGHT!
Mo, Director of Communications of the Freshmen Mentor Program (FMP) has been involved with this group for two years. She is one of nine Executive Board members.
We are excited to see all the fun memories you will post tonight! Thank you, Christina!
Get Ready For Treat Day Tomorrow: Breakfast Goodies!!
You’re going to have a great start to your day TOMORROW!
The Patriot Parent Association is hosting a FREE TREAT DAY on the way into school! As a way to celebrate the end of the semester, breakfast treats will be distributed at the Point, Fieldhouse and Sportscenter entrances from 7 a.m. to 8:20 a.m.
Students can choose from a blueberry muffin or a chocolate chip bagel bite (while supplies last).
Grab A Snack And Catch A Movie (After School Tomorrow!)
The National Chinese Honor Society will have “Movie Night” from 3:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. TOMORROW in Room 2812.
There will be snacks, and ALL STUDENTS are invited!
Seniors: Time To Order Your Grad Gear; Deadline Is SUNDAY!
Graduation may still seem far away, but planning for it is already getting underway!
Seniors can place orders now for graduation packages, graduation announcements, senior gear, class rings, caps and gowns and more with Jostens.
The Jostens group order deadline for Stevenson is SUNDAY. After Sunday, individual order pricing and handling charges will apply and orders will be subject to availability.
For questions, please call or text Jostens at (847) 818-8419 or e-mail:
New Patriot Dollars System Coming Soon!
Hey Patriots! This is your heads up that a new Patriot Dollars system is headed your way starting Second Semester!
The experience will be virtually the same: Students will still use their ID to make food and beverage or Patriot Superstore purchases at school. The only thing that will change is the platform families will use to add funds to their accounts.
Please be assured that all funds will remain in students’ accounts during this transition. Additionally, while the experience is intuitive, we will also be providing more information at the beginning of Second Semester about how to transition to the new platform.
Stay tuned for more!
Join The Fun…Mentor Stevenson’s Freshmen!
Interested in being a Freshman Mentor? The Freshman Mentor Program is accepting applications…so join the FMPhamily!
Applications are due Friday, Dec. 23 by 11:59 p.m.
Please visit the FMP page on the Stevenson website for more information about the application process and follow @shsfmp on Instagram for updates.
Girls Basketball: Toys For Tots is coming to Stevenson! TOMORROW NIGHT, the girls basketball program is hosting a Toys For Tots Campaign. Be sure to bring a new, wrapped toy to the game to support our Patriots! Tip off is at 7 p.m. against Mundelein in the Sportscenter.
Boys Basketball: Stevenson will be participating in the highly competitive Hinsdale Central Holiday Classic. The Patriots open up first-round action against Glenbard East at 9:30 a.m. next Friday, Dec. 23. Single-game tickets or tournament passes can be purchased via GoFan.
Girls Basketball: The Patriots (6-5, 3-2) hosted Zion-Benton and rolled to a 58-15 victory. Sydney Rosland led the way with 13 points. Nisha Musunuri finished with 11 points, while Mandy Meliker and Emory Klatt both added 8 points apiece. Kate Arne and Niki Musunuri had 7 points apiece. Next up for Stevenson is Mundelein at home at 7 p.m. tomorrow for Jr. Patriot Night and the Toys For Tots campaign! (See Sports Notes above.)
Girls Bowling: Stevenson (2-5) traveled to Round Lake to take on the Panthers in a dual match and won 2107 to 2009. Anna Reyes had a 600 series, with a high game of 227. Alexis Alanis contributed with a high game of 167. Next up for the Patriots is the Vernon Hills sNOw Invite at the Bowlero, starting at 9 a.m. on Saturday.
Mark your calendars for these events and see the Stevenson Calendar for details on these and future programs.
Dec. 15: Chorus Fundraiser
Dec. 15:December Choir Concert
Dec. 15:Freshmen Fan Appreciation Night ~ Boys Basketball Game
Dec. 16:PPA Treat Day
Dec. 16:Jazz Cafe
Dec. 16:Toys For Tots ~ Girls Basketball Game
Dec. 19:Winter Orchestra Concert
Dec. 19:District 125 Board Of Education Meeting
Dec. 21-22: Final Experience
Dec. 23, 26-28:Hinsdale Central Holiday Classic ~ Boys Basketball Tournament
Dec. 23-Jan. 6:WINTER BREAK!!
Jan. 9: No School ~ Teacher Institute Day
Jan. 10: Second Semester Begins