By Jagoda Bartula
If you walk down the hallway outside the main office, you may notice several pictures of former seniors hanging on the wall. To have your picture hung on this wall is the highest honor one senior can receive because only one student is annually chosen.
One student that received this honor is former Freedom 7 editor in chief Andrei Greska. For Greska his days in newspaper class were only the beginning of his journalism ride.
After graduation Andrei continued his education at Marquette University, where he pursued a degree in Journalism. It is a pleasure to see former Astros succeed in what they love doing – and Andrei did just that.
His journalist experience began during his sophomore through senior years. Shepard. During his tenure on the Freedom 7 Greska got the chance to be a writer, sports editor and co editor in chief.
Since leaving he has accumulated a couple of impressive achievements over the years. His success continued even after high school and college – he worked at FOX Sports Wisconsin as a Digital Content Manager, and is currently running a Marquette Basketball blog which has gotten 2.7 Million views in the past eight years. He is also working for a publishing company that focuses on nursing journals.
Freedom 7 advisor, Michael Smith remembers Andrei as a great student.
“There are students that impact your life as a teacher and Andrei Greska was one such student for me,” said Smith. “He was the finest student I have ever had anywhere. He was brilliant, kind, hard working and athletic at the same time. If your son or daughter turned out like him, you would be very proud. He is the type of person makes you thankful you became a teacher.”
One of the refreshing things about Andrei is that he is not only about academics. He let us in on his memories of Shepard’s student life.
Greska reflected on his Shepard days and although things have changed since then, some things are timeless.
“I think my experience is probably ancient, even if it’s only been 12 years,” stated Greska. “We didn’t have iPhones until my junior year” ( he clarified, before going on with his advice ) “The one thing I will say is nothing beats hanging out with friends playing video games and generally doing dumb things. Those friends may not last forever, but cherish them while they do.”
Greska reminds us that no matter how hard schoolwork gets, we should also remember to have fun, because high school doesn’t last forever.
Andrei’s fondest memories of Shepard High included not one individual event, but rather an accumulation of the entire experience. He feels that it is the smaller things that gather throughout your four years that will stick with you for the rest of your life.
Aside from having fun and being a dedicated journalist in school, Greska was also the National Honor Society President, played soccer and volleyball.
Former head volleyball coach and current counselor Joan Alderden said, “Andrei was a very talented volleyball player. He worked hard and was dedicated to the team. He always had a smile on his face and was loved by all .”
His former varsity soccer head coach Dustin DeFrates recalled coaching Greska as a very fond experience.
DeFrates said “ He was a great athlete starting in goal for three years for the varsity, but he was also a phenomenal person. He was very receptive to coaching and a pleasure to be around. Andrei was a big reason the soccer team was successful and fun to coach during his tenure on our team”.
Former teammate and Freedom 7 Editor in Chief Bobby M0rrissey had high praise for Greska. Morrissey followed Greska as editor in chief.
“Andrei epitomized what it meant to be a leader,” stated Morrissey. He carried himself with character, charisma, and confidence that is expected of those entrusted with such responsibility. He always led by example in the classroom and out on the soccer field. I could not have asked for a better role model.”
Whether you’re a freshman who just started their journey with high school, or a senior deciding which school you should choose next, students like Andrei remind us that high school is what you make of it – you can be on top of your work, do what you love, and have a little fun as well, so enjoy it while it’s here, because it’s going to be gone in a blink of an eye.
Pictured below is Andrei with his high school friend Matt Bellassai, and next to a memory from prom is Andrei with his children. Bellassai who served as co editor in chief with Greska senior year is now a social media celebrity, yet another Freedom 7 Alum making noise in the journalism world.