Senior letters reveal personal growth

Senior letters reveal personal growth

Walking into his brand new HWOC class freshman year, Alex Chengary was already riddled with anxiety about his high school life. Coming into Prospect from a private school and only knowing five people felt like a lot for him to overcome, and he had not yet found a community to attach to. When given the opportunity to write a letter to himself as a senior, Chengary used it to voice these hopes of friendship and a passion at the school.

Now a graduated senior attending University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, Chengary looks back on who he was as a freshman.

“Coming in, I was a completely different person,” Chengary said. “It was like actually talking to a younger version of myself. That was Alex Chengary, not Chem.”

As a freshman, one goal Chengary had was to one day be an animator. This was in part spurred on by one of Chengary’s favorite shows, The Amazing World of Gumball, an animated show on Cartoon Network about a 12-year-old anthropomorphic blue cat and his family. 

“That helped me out so much,” Chengary said. “Being able to have that little TV show [that] I could go home, watch and make myself feel better about myself. I wanted to do that to someone else similar to me.”

As Chengary grew older and started exploring Prospect, he found a home and community in the fine and performing arts. Making his mark as comedic characters in shows like The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, singing for Prospect’s a capella group You’ve Got Male and creating award-winning pieces of art grew Chengary’s horizons in the relationships he was able to build and the activities he found he enjoyed.

It also helped him readjust his thinking as to where he wanted to take his life after high school. 

“My goals totally changed when I learned about how hard getting a job in [animation] is and how much work [it is],” Chengary said.

Pivoting his personal desires throughout high school allows for some reflection from Chengary, as well as appreciation of what he has and will be achieving. He notes that his freshman year self wanted him to be a pro at Photoshop and be attending a good art school.

“I’m not a pro at either of those,” Chengary said. “I’m not going to art school, I’m going to U of I to study advertising. So I still have that creative aspect that I wanted in animation with advertising.”

Besides desperately wanting to “not have chicken arms”, which according to him never ended up materializing, Chengary’s biggest takeaway from high school was the person he was able to become and the friends he was able to make, as well as what they taught him along the way.

“Coming through Prospect and theater, [and] just in my classes, it felt like I learned how to become a good friend and a good person,” Chengary said. “I really want to translate that at U of I and be that same person I am now, keep treating people with that kindness”


Caption: Senior Alex Chengary reflects on his high school career through his senior letter, which he wrote at the start of his freshman year.

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