HOMEWOOD | Whether on the volleyball court, softball field or classroom, Homewood-Flossmoor's Kaitlyn Shereyk has been a top performer.
She was all-SouthWest Suburban Blue Conference in softball this year and was a two-time SWSC Blue selection in volleyball. She was the most valuable player on both teams this year.
In the classroom, Shereyk graduated 17th in her class of close to 700 and had a 3.91 GPA, which included honor classes. Shereyk also was a National Honor Society member. She will attend South Carolina and be a preferred walk-on on the softball team.
She was the Jan Nolting Award winner, given to the top H-F senior female athlete. For her outstanding season, Shereyk is The Times Female Athlete of the Year.
In volleyball, Shereyk was a Times first-team pick. The outside hitter had 324 kills and 232 digs, and was the most valuable player of the Moline Invitational and made the Champaign Centennial Invitational all-tournament team.
In softball, the shortstop made The Times second team, batting .351 with four homers, 11 RBIs and four stolen bases.
Her talents go beyond what you see in a match or game. Shereyk is also a recognized artist. She has had her work shown at the Homewood Starbucks as part of its Young Artist Series.
"I love drawing, always have," Shereyk said. "For me, when I draw, I can let loose and be creative. Some people do yoga and get that feeling. I use art."
Her drawing of the Eiffel Tower hung at Starbucks. Her inspiration was a trip to France before her freshman year.
"I saw the Eiffel Tower in person, and it was just amazing," Shereyk said. "To be there and up close is almost surreal. Going to all the different places in Europe and the history was just amazing."
She also had a chance to visit Rome and Florence, Italy, and saw Michelangelo's David.
"Florence was unbelievable and so was Europe," Shereyk said. "You see it in movies and in photos, but then you are actually there."
Her passion for drawing started at an early age from coloring like most kids do.
"I just started doodling, and then liked what I was doing," Shereyk said. "I would see things and want to draw them.
"Once I got to high school, I took an art class for beginners and just fell in love with it."
One of her favorites is a self-portrait she drew last school year.
"It just shows all the pressure you have senior year," Shereyk said. "I just wanted to show the different things like college choices, volleyball and softball, and the other things that a senior goes through."
She said she is planning to major in chemistry with a pre-dental curriculum. She wants to be an orthodontist. She hopes she can have an art class or two.
"I really want to see if I can have it as an elective, because I want to continue with my passion," Shereyk said. "It might be tough with the required (pre-dental) classes, but I want to continue with my artwork."
She said it is a relief from sports and academics.
"Some people do yoga to unwind and relax," Shereyk said. "My drawing and art is my escape. My yoga."
Among her pressures was sending videos of herself to colleges and getting coaches to look at them.
"I just got a list and of schools I might want to attend and contacted the schools," Shereyk said.
She said she fell in love with South Carolina's campus and liked coach Beverly Smith's program.
"It is a beautiful campus, and they have a great softball program and new stadium," Shereyk said. "It is going to be tough to compete, but I wouldn't have it any other way."