Hinsdale teen earns spot on prestigious team

Hinsdale Central senior Shannon Stover is in no rush to leave the scholastic world.

"I wouldn't know what to do without school. It gives me structure," she said.

Her studiousness also recently gave her membership to Illinois High School Association's 2022-23 All-State Academic Team, the top academic honor for student-athletes. It took a classmate to let her know.

"My friend saw the (school) tweet that said, like, 'Congrats to Shannon Stover for winning,' " Stover said. "I never got an official email or anything."

The actual HCHS Athletic Department tweet read, "Congratulations Red Devil tennis and badminton athlete Shannon Stover!!!!! So proud!" And it was posted with a video of IHSA Assistant Executive Director Stacey Lambert reading off of the 13 male and 13 female honorees, chosen from a group that included hundreds of students throughout the state.

"That was pretty exciting," Stover said.

Each school could nominate one female and one male who possessed a minimum 3.50 grade point average, participated in at least two IHSA-sponsored sports or activities during each of the last two years and demonstrated outstanding citizenship.

Stover admitted that entering Central freshman year was daunting.

I didn't realizing how much work I had to put into studying," she said. "It was so hard-core."

The student body size was a bit overwhelming, as well. But she decided to embrace the opportunity to grow her network.

"It's best to put your best foot out there and meet a ton of people because connections and relationships that you make is a key factor for success," she said.

A pandemic hindered that effort her first two years, but her tennis and badminton program involvement afforded consistent communities. Winning the state tennis championship last fall felt particularly sweet after all the adversity.

"It was so great to have five out of the six at state be seniors, because it was kind of like our last hurrah," she said. "It was a huge celebration when we won. It was a lot of fun."

Stover has also been committed to the school's forensics speech time all four years.

"I wasn't sure about it at first, but I really started to like it because of the people and the competition," Stover said.

She specialized in the prose category but also competed in humorous interpretation. She joined with her team for the performance in the round event, for which they earned fourth place en route to an overall fourth-place finish at state.

School pep rallies also were Red Devil highlights.

"I got to emcee this year for Homecoming, so that was really fun," she said..

Most interesting class at Central? Psychology.

"It's kind of cool to see how people's brains work in social situations," Stover said.

The oldest of three sisters will soon select her post-secondary destination. And with plans to pursue pre-med, she will be embracing school a while longer.

"I want to be a doctor like my parents, just because I see how hard they work," Stover said. "It's been kind of inspiring."

Next month she'll be celebrated at the academic all-state banquet "as the embodiment of what it means to take advantage of the entire high school experience," according to IHSA Executive Director Craig Anderson.

She encouraged her siblings to make their own memories.

"Try your best and be proud of all you've done."

- story by Ken Knutson, photo by Jim Slonoff

Author Bio

Ken Knutson is associate editor of The Hinsdalean