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Lukas Werner

“I feel like senior year has really shown me how much I’ve grown since freshman year,” valedictorian Nyah Torbert said. “I think that as a freshman, I was really worried about what other people thought of me. And now, I’m a lot more confident in who I am, and I feel like it shows, you know — people are gonna say things, people are going to do things, but at the end of the day, it doesn’t really matter.”

Valedictorian Nyah Torbert

June 1, 2022

Ever since valedictorian Nyah Torbert was little, she has had a full schedule. 

“I just enjoy having a lot of tasks to do,” Torbert said. “I’m pretty self-driven, so I’ve figured out a system that works for me, and I’m able to work efficiently, but also plan my time in a way that I am able to get everything done and work around my schedule.” 

Torbert is taking five AP courses this year, and in addition to that, she models, dances, is a part of the student council, and leads the Communicare and Black Student Union clubs at La Salle. 

However, between all of her activities, dance is what Torbert said she would remember most about La Salle because of the community she helped create. “We started the team my freshman year, and we hadn’t had a team in over 10 years,” Torbert said. “And I think that I have had a unique privilege as opposed to other people who just join a sport, I got to create this team.”

The team started with about six people during Torbert’s freshman year, and this year, there are over 20 members. “Looking back to freshman year, I didn’t think that we could have done that in such a short amount of time,” Torbert said. 

Torbert said that her dance coach, Ms. Nikki Meyer, has especially made an impact on her. “She has the brightest personality of anyone I’ve ever met,” Torbert said. “She’s made the team what it is.” 

In addition to Ms. Meyer, Torbert has fond memories of many of her teachers at La Salle, including Mr. Chris Krantz, who taught her AP English IV class this year, and her Honors English II class her sophomore year. “My favorite part of his class is that he chooses the books that we read really, really well,” Torbert said. 

In addition to Mr. Krantz, Torbert said that Ms. Adriana Noesi, who is the Director of Community & Student Leadership, has heavily influenced her time at La Salle. Ms. Noesi teaches the Leadership class that Torbert joined in the second semester of her senior year after previously being involved in student council. Through this class, members of La Salle’s student council plan La Salle’s dances, assemblies, and masses. 

“She’s been really great to work with,” Torbert said. “We’ve been able to plan a lot of really fun things, especially now that we’re back in person.”

Other than student council, another group that Torbert is involved in at La Salle is the Black Student Union, which she joined her freshman year. “It’s been a really good experience for me,” Torbert said. “I mean, first of all, connecting with people who have had a similar experience that I have, but also just getting more involved in social justice issues.” 

Junior year, Torbert was one of the students in the Black Student Union who worked with religious studies teacher Mr. Tom Mac on the Rest in Power crosses, which were labeled with the names of Black people who died due to police violence and planted in the school’s front yard. “There were over 100 crosses, and that was really powerful,” Torbert said. 

Now, she is a co-president of the club — but that is not the only club she is helping to lead. Torbert is also leading the Communicare club this year. As part of the larger organization Communicare, the club at La Salle follows a process of creating a mission statement, fundraising, and interviewing and selecting nonprofits to receive grants. 

“Communicare and BSU have really helped my passions for justice and being able to help the community,” she said. This year, La Salle’s chapter of Communicare focused on giving its grant money from fundraising and the Schnitzer Care Foundation to victims of sexual assault. 

Torbet values this sense of community and it’s ultimately what led her to the University of Notre Dame to continue her education.

“That’s what I have taken most from my experience here, is how strong of a community we have and how connected you are, not only to your peers but to your teachers and the staff,” Torbert said. “And so I’m hoping that that’s the sort of experience that I get out of Notre Dame, because, from all the people that I’ve talked to, that are currently there or are alumni, that’s the common theme, is community.” 

While attending the University of Notre Dame, Torbert plans on studying Psychology and Spanish. “I have always been interested in psychology,” Torbert said. “I’m specifically really interested in child psychology. I’ve grown up around younger kids — I’m the oldest child, oldest grandchild, oldest cousin. And so kids have always been in my life.”

If she could give one piece of advice to the younger students at La Salle, it would be that “you shouldn’t care what other people think about you, because high school is only four years of your life,” Torbert said. “And, you know, eventually you’re going to be moving on, and you shouldn’t stop your growth or stop pursuing your interests because it doesn’t fit with what the friend group that you want to be in is doing.” 

Additional reporting for this piece was contributed by Assistant Editor Megan Snyder.

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Brooklyn Chillemi, Editor in Chief

Senior Brooklyn Chillemi moved to Oregon from Colorado about five years ago, and loves the rainy weather and vibrant greenery here.

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