Christ Church Episcopal School experiences have prepared graduating seniors for whatever comes next and to make a positive difference in the world. Each week, we will put the spotlight on a graduating senior from the Class of 2021. We hope you enjoy getting to know these amazing CCES students!
For Brooke Jeray, Chicago was the last place she ever thought she would be moving to for college. She grew up visiting the windy city to see extended family, and while it was originally pretty overwhelming, she has grown to appreciate the wider scope of life experiences a big city can offer. Brooke was accepted to three other schools – Penn State, Syracuse, and Clemson – but chose Loyola-Chicago because it’s the best of both worlds, a traditional campus feel in the midst of the city! She has received her iconic scarf (shades of Harry Potter Gryffindor colors) and is hoping to meet Sister Jean (the beloved chaplain of the Loyola-Chicago basketball team and iconic figure on campus) one day. She truly cannot wait to start her new adventure!
Unlike her college decision, Brooke’s degree and career goals have been pretty clear from the beginning. She plans to major in Forensic Science at Loyola-Chicago, before pursuing med school and eventually becoming a Forensic Pathologist. Brooke shares that she has always been interested in true crime and sees her future field as an interesting combination of science and psychology.
While Brooke always knew what she wanted to pursue after high school, the journey to get here was anything but easy. Brooke starting dealing with extreme physical pain during her sophomore year which was just the beginning on a long and frustrating 10-month journey to receiving the diagnosis of fibromyalgia. While she certainly felt relief at finally knowing the issue, it took a long time to get to a place where the pain was managed well enough to enable her to be in school consistently. Despite the physical pain, the emotional stress of dealing with an illness, and missing a lot of school, she was still able to maintain Honor Roll for all four years (High Honor Roll for junior year) and never let the obstacles deter her from her goals. Brooke shares, “I still wanted to have a career and I knew how important school would be to get there.” On her toughest days, that was what kept her going – thinking of her goals of medical school and being an expert in the field of forensic pathology.
Another major help during this time was music. Brooke found a lot of comfort in listening and watching performances on YouTube. She describes her tastes as a combination of “punk, metal and noise rock,” which helped her cope during the days she was frustrated with a lack of diagnosis or her intense physical pain. She even did her senior thesis on music, titling her project: “A History of American Punk Rock and Introduction to British Punk.” In addition to the paper, she created her own website which discusses the history and legacy of the punk rock movement. She calls the website one of her achievements she is most proud of, saying “it took blood, sweat, and tears” to finish.
Brooke is a 13-year veteran of CCES, having been at student here since Primer. For her, service values are really important to how she lives, and she is thankful that CCES worked hard to “instill those values” in her from a young age. She specifically mentions the work with Meals on Wheels in the Lower School and also partnering with Harvest Hope. As she got to the Upper School, she wanted to find a way to fulfill her service hours requirement and started volunteering at the Greenville Humane Society the summer after her sophomore year. She always liked animals and so found it really easy to get involved with volunteering there. She says with a little laugh, “As cliché as it sounds, it’s really fulfilling getting to help the community and helping animals find their forever homes.” Brooke enjoyed volunteering so much that when she hit her 60-hour mark, she decided to just keep helping out!
“I so enjoy my interactions with Brooke as she is so genuine and down to earth, and she also has a playful sense of humor,” says Linda Schulz, Director of College Counseling. “She is a humble young woman who has great integrity, she is compassionate and caring, and she is both decisive and goal-oriented.”
While Brooke is serious when it comes to her focus and determination, she does have a pretty fun shoe collection of Jordan’s! She credits her dad for jumpstarting her obsession as he has a substantial collection himself. With her family being from Chicago originally, they are big Bulls fans and obviously have a lot of love for Michael Jordan. Brooke currently has six total pairs, but says her current favorites are the ones she was wearing – Women’s Air Jordan 2 Retro Rival’s. She bought them at the Jordan store in Chicago (which, fortunately, will be close by when she moves up there) during a visit, and they are brightly-colored with each shoe a different range of hues. With Brooke’s work ethic and resolve, we are confident she will meet all the goals she continues to set for herself and we can’t wait to see what awaits her – life experiences and maybe some new Jordans – in Chicago!
Just for Fun!
Favorite sport to watch? Baseball or hockey. (Go Cubs, go Blackhawks)
Current binge? The Saw movies and American Horror Story
Favorite class at CCES? Human Anatomy and Physiology with Whited
You’re driving somewhere, but only have time for one song – what is it? “The Model” by Big Black or “Horsepower” by Lightening Bolt
Where do you see yourself in 10 years? A forensic pathologist, but living on a self-sustaining farm!