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#1StudentNWI: La Lu Gears Up for an Exciting Year


Paxson Wojcik: A Dreamer from the Start

Imagine this, you are 15 and have just decided to transfer to a school 900 miles away from home that is in the middle of the woods in Northwest Indiana. You left your family and all your friends behind for one reason: basketball. To most people that sounds crazy, but to Paxson Wojcik that was his life just two years ago when he decided to transfer to La Lumiere School in La Porte.

Paxson has dreamed of playing college basketball his whole life. His parents, Doug and Lael Wojcik, both played basketball at the Naval Academy and his dad went on to be a college coach. On top of his parents influence, Paxson’s younger brother Denham shared this love of the sport. As he grew up and played more and more basketball, Paxson fell in love with it.

As Paxson began to excel, he caught the attention of Shane Hireman, the head coach of La Lumiere’s Varsity White team. Hireman was coached by Doug Wojcik when he was in college and had known Paxson from a young age. Hireman began to see Paxson's evident talent for the sport and began convincing Paxson to come to La Lumiere for high school. After spending his freshman year at a high school at home, Paxson and his family decided it was best for Paxson to transfer to La Lumiere if he wanted a shot at playing college basketball. That year, Paxson, along with the rest of the Varsity White Basketball Team, went on to win the national championship title.

After the big win, colleges and universities began offering Paxson scholarships to play basketball. In June, Paxson committed to playing basketball at Loyola Chicago. The decision was far from an easy one but in Paxson’s words “I was just trying to find the best fit for me. Loyola offered the best combination of basketball, academics, and student life.”

While at Loyola, Paxson plans on studying business. He is excited for his senior year at La Lumiere and hopes it will bring many new memories and accomplishments.

An Exciting Start to an Exciting Year

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With the school year just around the corner, many La Lumiere Lakers have come to campus in order to help land La Lu Orientation Week 2018. Every year, to kick off the school year, La Lumiere has orientation week. It is a week full of athletic practices, all school activities, icebreakers, and complete chaos. Orientation week is the perfect way to acclimate new students to La Lumiere and also get returning students excited for the upcoming school year.

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Orientation Week will kick off on Sunday, August 12. Students will register for classes, move into dorms, and attend their first fall athletic practice. That evening students will participate in icebreakers. Monday will consist of two athletic practices, mini classes that are designed to get students used to their schedules, and Headmaster Cup team activities. Tuesday will also have two practices and mini classes, with all class bonding activities in the evening. Wednesday will serve as the last official day of Orientation Week and will consist of summer reading groups, athletic practices, and an all school minute to win it competition. Thursday marks the official start of classes for La Lumiere students. Friday evening the student council will host a welcome beach party for all students. Many students claim that Orientation Week is the best week of the year. As August 12 creeps closer and closer, many Lakers are bubbling over with excitement for the Orientation Week and the upcoming school year.

No Place Like Home

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There truly is no place like home, especially for Mr. Chad Perney. Perney was born in Michigan City, grew up in La Porte, and attended La Lumiere when he was in high school, graduating in 2008. Perney now lives and works at La Lumiere and he simply loves it.

Perney teaches World Religions and Biblical Literature. He also helps coach the girls’ varsity soccer team. But the most important job title Perney holds at La Lu is Director of Student Life and Activities.

“My job is to ask students what they want to do to make life fun, and then make it happen,” he said.

Perney oversees the prefect system, headmasters cup activity, helps serve as a dorm parent, and has a part to play in all the fun that is had at La Lumiere.

Perney attended college at Southeastern University and majored in theology. When he moved back to Northwest Indiana after he graduated he did not expect to end up working for his alma mater. In fact, the original reason he got into teaching as because he was tired of working in retail. But now, as Perney goes into his sixth year teaching at La Lu, he could not imagine being anywhere else.

“I love getting to know the kids on a personal level. Because we are a boarding school, we are much closer than other schools. In the dorms especially, you really get the chance to bond with students,” he said.

When perney is not spending time with his students, he can be found at a number of local restaurants, long boarding up and down Lakeshore Drive, or hanging out at the Indiana Dunes. He loves getting to know local business owners and has grown fond to many of the local business such as Cabo’s, Mucho Mas, Royale with Cheese, and Hokkaido. Perney is happy to continue to call both La Lumiere and La Porte his home.

Laker Turned Memphis Grizzlie!

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La Lumiere has become well known for its impressive and elite basketball program. Having won a national championship in 2017, La Lumiere is now known as one of the top high school basketball programs in the country. Many of the La Lumiere basketball players go on to play in college. In the June 2018 NBA Draft, La Lumiere alumni Jaren Jackson Jr. became the first La Lu alumni to reach the NBA. Jackson, who graduated in 2017, was selected as the fourth overall all pick in the draft by the Memphis Grizzlies.

Jackson attended Michigan State University. At the end of his season, the 6’11” center was named the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year and Freshman of the Year. Jackson signed a multi-year contract with the Grizzlies. Jackson has been playing in the summer league games and showing off his incredible skill and potential.

Jackson is expected to excel in his professional career. Having played on big stages before, such as Division 1 basketball at MSU and playing in a National Championship game at La Lumiere, Jackson is no stranger to the pressure. He also has plenty of La Lumiere Lakers that will cheer him on wherever he goes!

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