Spotlight: Valene McInerney

Edie Patterson

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In the Art room sixth hour, maybe half the freshmen in the class are gathered around one girl’s desk while we are supposed to be finishing shaded, proportional first sketches of our own faces in a mirror, amazed at the drawing on her paper. Most of the class took turns staring at ninth grader Valene McInerney’s first self-portrait for the class, the original done before taking photos for our actual, full-size charcoal portraits, and hers is detailed, shaded and as lifelike as a black-and-white photo.

Although she might come off as fairly shy and quiet, Valene’s interests are varied and brave: most people wouldn’t know that she has recently begun beekeeping and she says if she had a day off she’d spend it scuba diving. In addition to that, she likes Dungeons and Dragons, Harry Potter and spending time with her family and friends. Like many new students, Valene might come off as just another new freshman, but when you get to know her, there’s a lot more about her that might seem unexpected. In reality, she’s an intriguing, talented and daring person with a myriad of unseen skills.

Valene, one of three new freshman girls in a class where the boys outnumber the eleven girls more than two to one, has been going to Seabury for just the first month of ninth grade, which some students claim to be the hardest grade at the school for many reasons. She says that she expected the students to be nicer here than students at her old school in Basehor, but she was surprised when “pretty much everyone would be [nice]”. She also enjoys the classes at Seabury more than the ones at her middle school, saying that the teachers and the activities are more entertaining and fun, and her favorite classes so far are Mr. Bryan’s Biology class, which she says is “a lot more adventurous and fascinating” than at her old school where the curriculum consisted of just textbook readings and worksheets with a few labs, and English with Mr. Pulsinelli, which Valene thinks is “much more engaging” and “far more thought-provoking” than any previous language arts class she’s been in.

Underneath her shy exterior, Valene has a colorful personality and aforementioned interests that might surprise her classmates. Her advisor and classmates mention her artistic talent and sense of humor when talking about her. Although she’s only been at Seabury for about a month, she has lived in this area for her whole life: she lived in Kansas City, Missouri until she was two years old, Basehor up until this school year and then Lawrence, but if she could live anywhere else in the world, it would be Hogwarts.

When you get to know freshman Valene McInerney, her quiet exterior gives way to a very different personality with aptitudes for hobbies like beekeeping and scuba diving as well as an ability to draw an incredibly realistic self portrait with just a mirror and a #2 pencil in art class.