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Naperville Central High School's award-winning newspaper.

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Naperville Central High School's award-winning newspaper.

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Homeschooler continues to build Anchored community at Central

Photo Courtesy of Caleb Coleman
Caleb Coleman (left) began homeschooling this year while still leading Anchored — Central’s Christian youth group — with the help of co-leader Junior Fiona Holba

Former Naperville Central student Caleb Coleman transitioned to homeschooling at the beginning of this school year, but that hasn’t stopped him from leading Anchored, Central’s Christian youth group.

Coleman has been a member of Anchored since his freshman year. Currently he is a would-be junior and leader. He assumed the mantle of the club a month into his sophomore year after a previous leader dropped out, and has continued to head the club since.

The interruption of the pandemic introduced Coleman to the positives of independent work, such as finishing school by 12 p.m., consequently public schooling seemed less efficient.

“I’ve wanted to be homeschooled for the past year or two now, it’s not that I don’t like public school but you’re cutting out a lunch period, passing periods and time teachers take for intros,” Coleman said. “Another appeal is getting more college credit. If you’re doing public school, College of DuPage will usually only allow students to take one college course but different situations, like mine, will allow for more.”

Coleman had one stipulation if he were to leave public school, though.

“When I was looking into being homeschooled I knew that if I wasn’t able to still lead Anchored, I would stay in public school,” Coleman said.

Since he’s no longer a student at Central, leading Anchored comes with some challenges: Coleman doesn’t see other Anchored members as frequently and has to sign in as a guest when entering the building.

“Last year, one of the coolest things was that I could go into a meeting and the next week I would see those same people in the hallway and we would have [a] connection,” Coleman said. “That’s something I wish I was still able to have.”

However, being a leader for the second year has allowed Coleman to feel more comfortable and build off his connection with last year’s members.

“I remember when it was just me and this other kid in the room and we had 30 minutes to sit and talk to each other,” Coleman said. “I’m able to have those conversations still, which is really nice.”

Anchored meets Thursday mornings at 7:05 in room 223. Meeting in the mornings allowed Coleman to stay connected to God even when the school year got busy.

“I remember a couple of times I wouldn’t go to my church Sunday night but I was able to go [Thursday] morning, so I think it’s really important to give people that same chance,” Coleman said. “Whether it’s one person who shows up or 100 people.”

Coleman works alongside his fellow junior and co-leader Fiona Holba. The pair run meetings together and plan all Anchored events and activities.

Holba believes Coleman’s biggest strength as a leader is his passion.

“Whenever we work together, it doesn’t feel like work because it’s so fun,” Holba said. “We both get so excited over what we talk about and what we’re doing. You can just tell that [Coleman] loves what he does.”

With the help of their mentor Ryan Smith from Decision Point—an organization that helps train students to share the gospel—Coleman and Holba have been working to plan an outreach event.

“We would bring in guest speakers, try to get people to hear about the club and get a taste of what it’s like,” Holba said. “We’re in the midst of finding a date, getting people to speak and then getting food and other resources. It’s a hard thing to plan out but we’re in this together—it’s a team thing.”

Communication between Coleman, Holba, club members and the club’s sponsor, social studies teacher Randy Smith has proven more difficult now that Coleman is homeschooled.

“It’s hard when you’re not seeing them every day,” Coleman said. “You can’t walk up to them, you just have to hope they’re checking their emails and texts.”

Despite this struggle, Holba believes Coleman and her work well together.

“Me and [Coleman] make a good duo,” Holba said. “He brings another perspective and he’s a lot more knowledgeable than me, it’s nice when he can pull out a random bible verse and tie it all together.

Coleman believes Anchored gives kids the opportunity to break social cliques and build a different community.

“This year I’ve noticed people coming in [to Anchored] are from all different groups of people,” Coleman said. “One of our biggest goals is to tell people about Jesus and offer a community, not just to other believers but for everyone. It’s a different feeling [than] knowing you’re hanging out with people who share the same beliefs.”

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About the Contributor
Sarah Segvich, Profiles Editor
Sarah Segvich is a junior, entering her second year on the Central Times staff. She’s excited to enter this year as the profiles editor. Sarah loves writing about the people who make Central unique. Outside of Central she enjoys listening to classical music and reading in her free time.
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Comments (2)

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  • J

    Jaden ThorntonOct 31, 2023 at 10:16 am

    Good job with the article!!!

  • V

    Virginia EnglerOct 23, 2023 at 3:54 pm

    Great article, Sarah!