Mackenzie Curran was Lyndi Scholl’s big sister in the Kaneland volleyball program’s big sister/little sister mentoring program.
In March 2010, Curran suffered an arteriovenous malformation in her brain, and her life was turned on its ear. She needed extensive therapy to rebuild many of the cognitive functions that once came naturally, and she had plenty of helping hands along her road to recovery.
Scholl observed the popular Curran’s challenging recovery closely, and the idea of assisting students with special needs began to carry appeal.
Now a Kaneland senior, Scholl is making her mark uplifting many of Kaneland’s special needs students with daily acts of kindness.
“I knew it was going to be an impact but I didn’t think it was going to be life-changing, but it definitely has changed my life in a big, big way,” Scholl said.
Scholl, who committed in January to play college volleyball at Kishwaukee College, is spending the final months of her Kaneland years doing all she can to make sure other Kaneland students receive the caliber of support that Curran did.
Two of the Kaneville resident’s class periods are spent working with special needs students, including a P.E. leadership class that she was supposed to take for one semester, but was asked to continue for the entire year because she was such a great fit. She also regularly eats lunch with the students.
“They’re all my best friends,” Scholl said. “You see them in the hallway and they’re always saying ‘Hey,’ they’re like the happiest people ever. You see them, and it’s just awesome. It just makes your day awesome.”
Kishwaukee women’s volleyball coach Stephanie Gooden – a former boys volleyball coach at St. Charles East – called Scholl a “role model” in addition to praising the versatile hitter’s volleyball skills.
Scholl plans to extend her community service efforts beyond the Kaneland campus. She recently took part in a Polar Plunge event with her father in Joliet to help raise money for Special Olympics.
She said she likely will go into physical therapy with an emphasis on working with the disabled.
At Kishwaukee, Scholl will reunite with former Kaneland teammate Grace Fabrizius, who will be a sophomore for the Kougars next season. Scholl said the presence of Fabrizius at the Malta school helped her select Kishwaukee over a few four-year, in-state options.
“She wasn’t sure if she want to play college volleyball and then at end of year her senior year she decided to go to Kish,” Scholl said. “I went and watched her so I knew who the girls were, who the team was, so it was always in the back of my mind. I was always thinking about that school.”
Scholl is enthused about living at University Plaza on the NIU campus.
“I get all the benefits of begin an NIU student, but I go to Kish, and it’s like a five minute drive, and there’s a bus that takes me [to campus], so I don’t even need to drive,” she said.
• Jay Schwab is sports editor of the Kane County Chronicle. He can be reached at 630-845-5382 or firstname.lastname@example.org.