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Meet a Teen: Collin Czilli

Birthday: Oct. 13

School and grade: Portage High School, class of 2013

At home: Parents Renee and Dave and two dogs, Harley and Newman

Accomplishments and extracurricular interests: “Co-founder and host of two different radio shows on Pow Wow Radio; co-founder and producer of Indian News Network, the school TV station; online editor and opinion editor of the Portage High School newspaper, The Pow Wow; advertising representative for Indian Sports Corner Magazine; active member of National Honor Society and Student Council; newly elected senior class president; member of Academic SuperBowl socialstudies team and Quiz Bowl team; and I am a member of the United Way of Porter County Corporate Board of Directors representing Portage High School.”

How did you develop such a passion for communication? “I’ve always been interested in talking with people and getting their stories out there. I didn’t plan to go into journalism, but Brandon Vickrey and I started our own radio show on (Assistant Principal) Tom Sanidas OK’d it for us to start it at school. Radio led to TV and to the Pow Wow online. It all just developed; it was not something I planned on doing.”

Do you plan to continue in communications in the future? “I don’t want to stay in communications as my occupation. I want to go into the political world, as a staffer or elected official. I plan to major in political science and minor in journalism. A journalism background will help in my political career. As far as college, I’m looking at Indiana University and University of Southern Indiana, although I’d really like to go to Georgetown.”

What’s your favorite school subject? “History and social studies, especially American history. I took a great elective course last year, Western Civilization, taught by Mr. Robert Parker. I loved the class because it was so interesting.”

Do you have a role model? “In the past few years, I’ve really come to admire Dr. (Ric) Frataccia, who was recently named superintendent. He’s always been there for me anytime I’ve needed anything. He’s a fantastic guy. and I look up to him a whole lot.”

Who is your favorite teacher ever? “Portage is a great place to go to school. I’ve had wonderful teachers all the way along, but Mr. (Robert) Parker is going to leave a lasting effect on me with his way of teaching and his enthusiasm about his topic. It’s just so profound. Having Mr. Parker has been one of the highlights of my educational career.”

What do you think your generation’s biggest issue will be? “The role technology plays in our lives. When I was born, there was no Facebook; there were no iPods, no portable devices. So technology and what people are doing with it will be a big issue. People don’t always use it for good. We can see that with cyberbullying.”

What do you like to do in your (very limited) spare time? “I like to spend time with my family, go out to dinner or watch a movie. I enjoy being with my parents and my grandparents, Nancy Zazado and Jack and Willie Czilli. They are fantastic people who are always there when I need to talk to them or to help out or just to hang around with them.”

Do you work? “Brandon (Vickrey) and I record all the athletic games, and I work for Ideas in Motion, the parent company of and I’m also the technology coordinator for my former music teacher, Deb Porter, who is running for state senate. I designed her website.”

What has been your most memorable experience? “I served as a page for the House of Representatives last summer. I spent six weeks in D.C. working for the House as an actual employee. I was selected as one of 24 Democratic pages from around the country. I submitted my application through (U.S. Rep.) Pete Visclosky’s office. I was in the last class of pages ever; they just eliminated the 200-year-old program.

“I was on the floor when Gabrielle Giffords returned to Congress after being shot. I was standing next to her husband. We all got to see her walk in, and everyone stood up. It was the first time she had been back in Washington, and she walked in to cast her first vote. It was an amazing experience — awe-inspiring. There were members of Congress crying — Democrats and Republicans both — standing up and applauding her. To be part of history like that was pretty amazing. Then on top of that, Vice President Biden walked in. We all got to shake hands with the vice president and talk to him for a few minutes.”

Compiled by Linda Lemond, Post-Tribune correspondent


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