November 13, 2019

Ready for New Experiences

Louie Shapiro, 18
High School: de Toledo
College: Northwestern University 

When he entered his freshman year at de Toledo High School, Louie Shapiro’s goal was to learn how to play baseball. He admits he was an awful player during his freshman and sophomore years, but he worked hard and by the time he hit 12th grade, he was a better player.

“It has benefitted me a lot to put in the hardship and the struggle and to work through it,” Shapiro told the Journal. “The way you handle yourself on the field is the way you handle yourself in life. Learning those good work habits and ethics has helped me.”

Shapiro is not one to avoid something just because it’s tough. He took AP art and physics classes, was a member of the National Honor Society and put in many hours of volunteering after school. In his volunteer work, Shapiro said he tries to “be a representative of what Jewish people can be, and uphold a strong reputation for the Jewish people.”

During his sophomore and junior years, he volunteered with School on Wheels, where he tutored a homeless kindergartener once a week, teaching her reading, writing and basic math. “I took the time to sit with her and work at her own pace,” he said. 

This year, Shapiro worked with Habitat for Humanity, building sustainable homes for veterans, and he helped construct a new home for someone whose house was destroyed in the Woolsey Fire. “Those were really special experiences,” he said.

“The way you handle yourself on the (baseball) field is the way you handle yourself in life.” 

He also was part of de Toledo’s Science Academy, where he worked on the Spirulina Project with a group of students. They learned how to grow spirulina, hoping to go to Africa and teach locals how to grow it themselves to fight hunger. For a year and a half, he said he “helped to figure out how to grow the spirulina and publicized the program to get other students involved.”

Shapiro said he has always been interested in science. As a kid, he’d build with Legos and even enjoyed putting together IKEA furniture. He plans to attend Northwestern University this fall, majoring in mechanical engineering. “Engineering seemed like a way to make a career out of my interest in science,” he said.

Shapiro is most looking forward to all the new adventures awaiting him at college. “I’ve been in Los Angeles my whole life, so I’m really looking forward to being in Chicago, which is so vastly different in terms of weather and people and experiences,” he said. “I’m really looking forward to building new experiences somewhere else. I’m very excited.”

Keep on reading about our 2019 Outstanding Seniors here.