Student Spotlight: Alancia King ’19 and Steven Lane ’19


Alancia King

Steven and Alancia hanging out at a party.

Abigail Sileo, Editor

Senior year is hectic for all of us. Extensive academic and extracurricular pursuits and thoughts about college and the stressful process that comes with it, all while maintaining a successful home and social life, can become difficult to handle very quickly. Through these obstacles, however, many friendships found here at Whitney Young have taken pride in each person’s accomplishments and hectic schedules. The friendship between Alancia King ‘19 and Steven Lane ‘19 is no exception.


Alancia is a Dance IV student who uses her Senior Experience to teach classes at Hubbard Street Dance, just a few block from Whitney Young’s campus. In addition, she is the Co-President of the Lift Moms, Lift the World Club and a committee member in Asian American Club.


Steven is a cello soloist in Whitney Young’s orchestra, the Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestra, and the DePaul University Community Music Program. He is also passionate about science; he uses his Senior Experience to work at a biology research lab at the University of Illinois at Chicago, and he has worked at labs at the University of Chicago. Within Whitney Young, he runs the Aquatic Conservation and Fashion Clubs, participates in Science Olympiad and Eco Club, and writes poetry.


Clearly, Alancia and Steven have found their niches both inside and outside the classroom. Through all that they do on a daily basis, how do they find a balance? What makes them so committed to the passions they have developed over the years? Recently, I sat down with Alancia and Steven to talk about their passions, their hectic lives, and their friendship in the midst of the madness.


Question: How did you find of your passions? Did you always have a knack for them or did you get inspired to do it from someone else?


Alancia: I took Dance I here my freshman year. I hated taking it freshman and most of sophomore year, but then, I saw one of the older dancers in the program perform, and she was amazing. She inspired me to continue dancing because I wanted to be like her as a dancer and I wanted to make others feel the way she made me feel about dance.


Steven: For music, I was inspired to play the cello when I was six years old and I saw someone perform it on Sesame Street. When I saw it, I was like, “Ooh! I want to do that!” I had to work a bit harder than most of my peers because performing music doesn’t come as easily to me compared to them. I’d say writing and science are my main passions. I hated writing until last year, when my English teacher, Ms. Wender, told me that I had a knack for word choice in my essays. She really believed in me, which no one really had in an artsy way before. Starting at an early age, I had a knack for science, and other people told me that I should become a doctor or something else that they deemed acceptable. However, Ms. Wender saw something that she thought was good and productive that I actually could do and that I liked to do.


Question: Briefly tell me about your experience at Whitney Young though the programs related to your aforementioned passions. Have these passions been shaped since you came here?


Alancia: It’s crazy to think about this, because I hated dance coming into Whitney Young. I was actually a singer in elementary school, but I dropped that altogether once I came here and picked up dancing.


Question: So you didn’t take choir at all?


Alancia: No, which is so weird. I was really big into singing. I used to get in trouble for singing in the hallways of my elementary school. Now, you couldn’t pay me to sing anything!


Steven: Oh, that is not true…


Alancia: What? I never sing around you!


Steven: So we are not going to act like you were singing your heart out at my Christmas party? You were belting the tracks that I put on!


Alancia: You are wrong!


Once the playful dust settled, Steven brought the conversation back on track.


Steven: The Orchestra program really helped me find the type of music that I enjoyed playing the most. I definitely want to specialize in baroque music. It also let me figure out that I wanted to go into composing more than performance. Because we have Senior Experience, I was able to pick up my own research project at the lab that I work with, which has been wonderful!


Question: With all of your activities, do you find it hard to find a balance between your academics, extracurriculars, social life, and home life? Have you found a way to manage your life that is easy for you?


Alancia: Because I am a senior, and I have so much on my plate, it is really hard to balance everything. Because of my Senior Experience from Mondays to Wednesdays, I don’t get home until after eight on those days. Even on Saturdays, I have to go dance, and it definitely takes time away from other things that I could be doing. My classes are really tough, too. In order to balance it, I try to do my homework when I can. For example, when there’s not a lot going on at my Senior Experience, I try to knock out my math or creative writing homework just to get it out of the way. On weekends, I do the same thing; I try to do as much as I can in my free time, or else it will never get done.


Steven: Crying. Crying is always great! No, really, crying is actually a good way to get negative energy out. Talking to someone always helps, too. I don’t get stressed easily, but when I do, I always ask myself, “Is this issue going to matter in six months? Three months? One month?” If it’s not going to be a long-term problem, then there’s nothing to worry about and you get stuff done. I feel like I have good time management, and I feel like people should figure out how, where, and when they work best. The environment that you work in needs to feel productive to you. For example, I never get stuff done at home unless it is one of my creative pursuits, like cello or poetry. I also found that I work best in the mornings, so I shifted my sleep schedule to wake up earlier to get stuff done. If you realize that you have class time or other time within school to get projects done, and if you prioritize the tasks you need to complete, it is a lot smarter.


Question: Lastly, in general, how it your guys’ friendship?


Alancia: Our friendship is great. We talk out all of our problems…


Steven: Well, she talks out all of her problems… I have none! I love her, but I can’t stand her!


Alancia: Uh, who are you talking to? Don’t play with me!


Steven: But honestly, I do like that we realized that we both have busy lives. If we don’t see or speak to each other for days on end, it’s cool. We really don’t hold anything against each other, I don’t think.

Alancia: As you have seen, none of our arguments are serious at all!