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A story thanks to history

Mahoney dressed up for when she went to see “Hamilton” (courtesy of Kristina Mahoney).

She smoothed down the creases on her purple straight jacket, the jacket that delicately complimented her purple pants. She stood confident in her boots and long coat that accompanied the rest of her outfit.

But it wasn’t Oct. 31. It wasn’t for Halloween. Take a wild guess, I dare you.

It was April 13. Thomas Jefferson’s birthday.

No, it was no coincidence. Senior Kassidy Mahoney planned to come to school in a full-on costume, to celebrate the birthdate of one of our founding fathers.

This fun little quirky habit of hers did not just come from nowhere. It stems from her absolute love for history: the events that took place and the people who set foot on this earth that brought us to where we stand today.

“[History] builds everything that we experience today,” Mahoney said. “It’s the most important subject that we could study, because it is the basis for everything. And it’s something that, if we don’t understand or we don’t take the time to learn, there’s no way that we can create good history for our children, for our future. Without it, we just keep repeating the same mistakes or we make worse mistakes. I would rather be able to understand what’s happened before, so that when I leave this earth, I’ll be able to leave it in a better place than I found it.”

Mahoney’s amazement of history started in 7th grade, when her teacher taught so well that an interest just sparked. It was the first time when she really began loving history. It was a gradual interest from then on, and ever since she started high school she has taken all AP history courses.

You could say that what she gained from taking those AP history courses has fanned into flame that little spark.

It was one day freshman year when Mahoney came home and said, “I’d like to major in history.”

“You’ve got to be kidding me,” her mom said. “What are you going to do with a history degree?”

Mahoney expected that kind of response then, and she expects the same response from other people now. Not even within five seconds, can many people think of a career that one could potentially use with a history major.

In college, she plans on double-majoring. She wants to major in both history, and either political science or government. When she achieves this, her plan is to go into either foreign policy or domestic affairs as a career.

“I don’t know which school I’m going to go to, but my dream school is Georgetown in Washington DC,” Mahoney said. “For obvious reasons, I mean, it’s in Washington DC! I’m majoring in history and government, so I believe I should be there, out of every place.”

Though she does not have a clear idea whether to pursue foreign policy or domestic affairs, she believes it will be more cohesive when she starts interning in college and really look at what opportunities are out there.

If foreign policy or domestic affairs do not end up working out for her, her backup plan is to attend law school, and she can still apply all that she has learned in history to that career as well.

Mahoney has taken AP World History, AP European History, AP US History, and now she is in AP US Government and AP Comparative Government. She is also independently studying AP Human Geography.

Though each history course is very different from one another, and each focuses on one specific aspect of history, they all have contributed a great deal to her knowledge and passion for history.

“Two years ago, I would’ve told you the French Revolution is my favorite part of history,” she said. “And if I were to say what my favorite is three years ago, I would’ve said Russian history is my favorite. And both of those are still near and dear to my heart. But currently, my current obsession has to be ‘Hamilton.’ I listen to [the soundtrack], honestly, every single day. It’s very sad, that’s my poor life at this point,” she laughed.

Mahoney read the book “Hamilton” was based on, and she actually got to see the musical not long ago…dressed in costume, no less. She exuberantly says it was the best day of her life.

She has such an appreciation for history, that her views on life and mankind would be starkingly different without knowledge of history.

Besides wearing costumes on the birthdays of dead presidents, this subject helps her appreciate different places when she travels. She learned how to experience and appreciate a country itself, the people of a country, and the culture of a country. Without the courses she took over the years, she would not have been able to build up this love for history like she has.

How she got her worldview and love for people would probably not come from anything else, and she believes this is what sets her apart from any other kid from Huntley.

“I stress to anybody that I can, that you can go out and do something in this world, because no matter what happens, there’s a million opportunities in the world because the world is huge,” Mahoney said. “And I think history is what has taught me that because when you study different cultures, you can’t help but wonder how you fit into that.”

History has made her weird, too, she would say. But she perceives it as a good thing, especially since many others support her. Whether or not people support her interests, though, she would nevertheless still pursue history for her own enjoyment.

And when she finds a passion worth pursuing, she will put all that she can into it, as seen by the multitude of AP classes she has taken and the multitude of costumes she has gone to school in. She knows it makes her different, but she loves it.

“People really have to explore a lot of options and find what makes them different,” Mahoney said. “Because there’s something in everybody, even if it’s celebrating past presidents’ birthdays, then that’s what you need to explore. I also never thought that I’d be interested in a rap musical about Alexander Hamilton, the forgotten founding father, but now I am. It’s unlikely what people might be interested in.”

She’s going to have quite the story to tell from her perseverance and awe of history.

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Emily Kindl, Author

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