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More than a smile

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Student council sponsor Benjamin Stroud and senior class president Loren Querickiol, along with other student council officers, cruise down the road on a hot summer day in a Suburban with the windows rolled down. “Good For You” by Selena Gomez blasts on the radio and they sing along on their way to Schlitterbahn.

Anyone who knows Querickiol knows that she’s a bubbly, sweet and overall social person. Although it seems odd to imagine her as anything but outgoing, there was a time when that wasn’t the case.

“I was very shy,” Querickiol said. “In elementary school I was the fat kid. I think I’ve always been friendly but I was outright friendly starting in seventh grade.”

Middle school is an awkward phase for the average pre-teen, a time to try new things and figure out who they really are which is easier said than done.

“In seventh grade I was in that dark stage and I told myself ‘tomorrow I’m just going to be more,’” Querickiol said. “I’m going to smile more, laugh at jokes that aren’t even funny, and be that excessively outgoing person.”

Before she became a social butterfly, Querickiol turned to books for entertainment. Leaving that behind and pushing herself out of her comfort zone was hard.

“In the beginning it was forced but then it’s just like that mentality where you fake it until you make it,” Querickiol said. “When I started being outright friendly, it was just to make friends but then it started becoming my natural personality.”

Currently, Querickiol is senior class president, a student council officer and is involved in five other organizations at the school. Due to her popularity, she is viewed in many perspectives.

“I think people probably view me as someone they can talk to or at least that’s what I hope they view me as,” Querickiol said. “As president I think it’s weird that some people put me on a pedestal even before they know me but I really like to get off that pedestal and be on their level.”

Through her own eyes, Querickiol sees something different than her peers.

“I view myself as someone very stressed, very scattered just because there’s so many things going on in my mind all the time,” Querickiol said. “I know everything that’s going on in my mind so it’s separate from the outward perception of people who think ‘Oh she’s so put together.” and I’m like ‘No, I’m not, I need to work on other things.’”

Through it all she maintains a positive attitude that inspires the people around her.

“Loren is one of my absolute best friends and she has definitely gotten me where I am today,” senior Mackenzie Dennison said. “I am now and have been on a path to success since she entered my life and I couldn’t be any more thankful to have found someone to get me on this path. I think just by having such a supportive friend throughout the two years that I’ve known her, it’s really helped me stay positive no matter what obstacle is thrown at me and by having this mindset she’s completely changed the way I look at life.”

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Dennison transferred to Hebron in the middle of her sophomore year and has been best friends with Querickiol ever since.

“We had broadcast together and she was instantly really bubbly and happy to meet me,” Dennison said. “I remember we just sat there and talked and she asked me so many questions about where I moved from and what I was interested in.”

Stroud has known Querickiol for three years as a student council member, officer and student in his AP English 3 class. He has witnessed her work ethic and her glowing personality firsthand.

“She is a hard worker,” Stroud said. “It could be very scary at times or it could be amazing. She never says anything negative about a person even if she doesn’t like that person. She will always see the silver lining in everything.”

A feat in and of itself, Querickiol has found a way to get work done without having to sacrifice sleep: an iced salted caramel mocha with soy milk.

“My formula for getting through high school is Starbucks every morning,” Querickiol said. “I really like sleeping so my formula is sleep when you’re tired and get work done while you’re awake and while you’re alert because that’s when you get the best quality out of yourself.”

Not only focusing on school, Querickiol has a healthy social life too.

“I basically make school my social life and I think that’s the best way to get through it,” Querickiol said. “I really rely on my friends and my teachers to guide me in the right direction with academics and social life. I do really hold value to that balance so I think keeping myself sane and busy is very important.”

Being a student body official has put Querickiol in the spotlight. The summer after her sophomore year, she got her first high school officer position: junior representative. But 20 minutes after tweeting on her personal Twitter account, Stroud received an email from a parent who was unhappy with her tweet. After school started, Querickiol was put on probation from her officer position because she was not allowed to have certain pictures or tweets on her account.

“Knowing that there’s always people watching, knowing that teachers are always going through my stuff too, I really need to be mindful of what I post and how I act,” Querickiol said. “That public pressure really keeps me guided, centered and down to earth.”

Although Querickiol said she has developed her true personality and has accomplished many feats, she is still waiting for a defining moment.

“I really don’t know where I’m intended to be, I haven’t even done my college applications yet,” Querickiol said. “My defining moment will be when I give my graduation speech. I think when I’m really at ease and at peace with all the work and it has come together at one point, it’ll be at my graduation speech where I’m standing on that stage and I’m saying, ‘This is my class. We did it.’ I get like two minutes so my defining moment is going to be a two-minute speech.”

But Querickiol does plenty of work that the general public doesn’t get to see.

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“She is a behind-the-scenes kind of girl,” Stroud said. “She does like the limelight and being in the front but she a does a lot behind the scenes and no one really gets that.”

Overall, she proves it’s possible to work hard, get good grades and stay so happy that people are motivated by her vibes.

“The world is a negative place,” Stroud said. “Smiles can change the world and she has that smile.”

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Hebron High School News Online
More than a smile