Zoe Libich finds herself in music and other clubs


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Between running the GSA (Gender-Sexuality Alliance) club, band, and ASL (American Sign Language), you would think someone would feel conflicted on what path they will venture on after high school. For junior Zoe Libich, she already has it all figured out thanks to her devoted passion for music.

Zoe decided to play the flute when she was only eight-years-old because she has always been musically inclined and knew she wanted to be involved in music. Zoe enrolled in lessons, and once she improved enough, she traded the flute for the piccolo– an instrument with the same fingerings as the flute but played an octave higher. Even though it was just the next step in her musical career, there was a lot to be considered before making the switch.

“[My parents] wanted me to weigh the risks before I put a lot of work into it,” Zoe said. “I had been wanting to do it for a few years, but my parents wouldn’t let me until I got into high school just because it is a different difficulty level. It takes up a lot of time, and it seriously can damage your hearing”

In her sophomore year, Zoe tried out and made the advanced band class: Wind Ensemble. She usually plays both the flute and piccolo, but she prefers piccolo for marching band and concert season and flute for solos.

I play both depending on what the music calls for,” Zoe said. “In an ensemble setting, I tend to prefer playing piccolo mostly because the parts that are written are a lot of fun, and I kind of like the pressure it puts on me. You can really hear me above the whole band, which I feel forces me to be a better player because of how obvious it is when I do something wrong.”

Because of her obvious dedication and love for her instrument, Zoe’s goal is to be field commander for her section next season. With that, she would lead her section, making sure everyone is staying on track and looks polished on the field. Zoe also considered, and even tried out, for the highest leadership role in band: drum major. As drum major, Zoe would trade the turf for the podium, directing the entire band.

“I’ve tried out three times now [for drum major], it hasn’t exactly worked out,” Zoe said. “As much as I’d like to be drum major, I don’t really want to give that feeling up of just being on the field. It’s such an amazing experience for me; it’s like a totally different mindset. The whole school is watching you; it’s almost euphoric.”

As for life after high school, Zoe knows exactly what she wants to do because of the great influence her sixth-grade band director, Bard Mackey, was. She found him to have all the qualities she hopes to have when she is a director herself.

“He is the reason I want to teach,” Zoe said. “He is the reason I want to be a band director. He is such an inspiration for me. He’s everything I want to become: an amazing composer and an amazing musician.”

Just as Zoe has her own influences, she hopes to be a support system or role model herself as president of the GSA club. Zoe started her journey in the GSA club freshman year, when she was the only freshman. Zoe found that experience to be a great way to meet new people with the same interests as her.

Being the only freshman at GSA was actually kind of cool,” Zoe said. “It gave me the opportunity to form some really valuable bonds with upperclassmen that I might not otherwise have.”

Now as president, Zoe makes sure that each weekly meeting is more of a social gathering where the 15 members feel welcomed and safe.

“For a lot of these kids, it’s the only place where they can be themselves,” Zoe said. “Social time is definitely a huge part of [each meeting] because we just want to make sure people have a safe space to be who they want to be.”

Zoe spends the majority of her time maintaining her presidential role, ensuring that each hour-long meeting is enjoyable. She puts a lot of thought and planning into each meeting, making sure that each activity involves the group. Each meeting starts with introductions and icebreakers, usually followed by a structured activity and time to enjoy the safe, welcoming space.

“I do a lot of planning for the meetings and a lot of research, just trying to develop things that involve the group,” Zoe said. “I really put a lot into making sure it’s “the group’s’ group. It’s a very student-run group.”

Along with GSA, Zoe found ASL to be a unique experience and a class where she made friends she never thought she would have. Zoe has been taking ASL since freshman year; she is currently in ASL 3 and plans on taking it in the future.

“It’s been a very interesting experience because you don’t think it’s as deep of a subject as it actually is,” Zoe said. “There’s so much culture behind it. It’s a lot more interesting than you think it is.”

Zoe fell in love with the language and the opportunities the class offered. Zoe found that ASL shed her shy shell and allowed her to build friendships.

As much as I’d like to be drum major, I don’t really want to give that feeling up of just being on the field. The whole school is watching you; it’s almost euphoric.”

— Zoe Libich

“I’ve met a whole bunch of great people, people that I wouldn’t normally interact with,” Zoe said. “It’s pushed me out of my comfort zone in that way. I’m a really social person, but I’m also socially awkward and anxious too, so I have a hard time talking to new people. But the people that this class has brought me closer to [are] people I would never have thought I’d be friends with.”

Even though Zoe has friends in school, she also has a little brother, Mark Libich, who is a freshman. Before she moved here in her own freshman year, Zoe’s school in Iowa was set up so they would never be in high school together. But, as life threw the Libich family one of its many curveballs, they ended up in the same school.

“It’s interesting because at my old school, our high school was 10th, 11th, 12th, and middle school was seventh, eighth, ninth,” Zoe said. “We were never supposed to be in high school together, and so it’s just one of those curveballs I was never expecting.”

Zoe’s family moved from Iowa because her dad has a degenerative disease in his back, so they wanted to be closer to their other family members for the help and support. Zoe appreciates the lessons her dad has taught her and admires how influential he is in her life.

“My dad is one of my best friends,” Zoe said. “I’ve learned so much from him just about being a person.”

Zoe finds that same fondness for her brother.

“[Mark is] a really great kid,” Zoe said. “He’s got some really great friends, and I’m really proud to see him grow up the way he’s grown up.”

One thing is apparent in Zoe’s busy life, and that is the copious amount of possibilities high school has offered her. Throughout it all, she has had influential role models in music and life that ultimately shaped her to be the person she is today. With a career path in mind, Zoe has found that high school has been more than what she dreamed of.

“Going into high school, it was totally not what I was planning on since I was, like, two,” Zoe said. “Everyone imagines high school, and it was just nothing like I was expecting and it’s been so amazing being here. [I’ve been offered a] whole new set of opportunities that I didn’t think I would ever have.”