TSP features Top Cougar contestants amidst cancellation

Top Cougar is usually a chance for seniors to showcase their talents, personalities, and skills on stage competing for the chance to be crowned Top Cougar. This year’s theme was Keeping Up with the Cougars featuring 10 seniors. 

Despite the event being canceled this year, TSP still wanted to highlight the personalities of this year’s Top Cougar contestants.

 

Brad Gothelf

Image of Brad Gothelf

Photo taken by Katie Hoffman

What is your talent?

“I’m eating half a watermelon in under two minutes.”

Why should you win Top Cougar?

“No one’s talent even compares to mine. I’m the cutest as well.”

What is your spirit animal?

“A penguin because it’s cute.”

Who is a role model you have?

“My dad because all my life I looked up to him, and he’s really just always been there for me.”

If you had unlimited money for one day, what is the first thing you would spend it on?
“I would probably buy every single chick-fil-a in the United States. I mean it’s unlimited money so why not?” 

What advice would you give to your younger self?

“No regrets and think before I act.”

 

 

Eamon Kelleher

Image of Eamon Kelleher

Photo taken by Katie Hoffman

What is your talent?

“I’m doing a musical tribute to the Black Eyed Peas. It’ll be me singing on stage is how I would best describe it.”

What is your spirit animal?
“Definitely a monkey. Because they like to have a lot of fun, but I think at the end of the day, you know, they’re ready to survive in the animal kingdom.” 

Who is a role model you have?

“My parents because they always like to have a lot of fun in the stuff they do, and they do the things they like to do in particular, but they always do a lot to provide and work really hard at the same time.”

Do you have any hidden talents or interesting facts about yourself?

“I’ve tried to learn card tricks, but it didn’t really work out. I’d consider that a hidden talent that’s at least halfway developed.” 

What superpower would you choose?

“Probably to fly because I hate sitting in the car. If I could get somewhere fast like that, I would get the most use out of that.”

Describe yourself in three words. 

“Creative, intelligent and compassionate.”

 

 

Bjorn Benjamin

Image of Bjorn Benjamin

Photo taken by Katie Hoffman

What is your talent?

“My talent is yodeling. The thing is I’ve never really yodeled in my life.”

Who is a role model you have?
“My role model is Kevin Hart because he takes his problems and he doesn’t try to hide them. He just makes jokes about them and addresses them.”

If you had unlimited money for one day, what is the first thing you would spend it on?

“I would go to Hawaii, or Australia, or Disney World definitely.”

Do you have any hidden talents or interesting facts about yourself?

“I have a birthmark on my right eyebrow.”

What advice would you give to your younger self?

“I would say please try freshman and sophomore year.”

Describe yourself in three words.

“Funny, caring, goofball.”

 

 

Nick Burrows

Image of Nick Burrows

Photo taken by Katie Hoffman

What is your talent?

“I am chugging water and then yo-yoing. It’s never been done before at Vernon Hills High School. Probably.”

What is your spirit animal?

A quokka because they live in Australia, and I love Australia. They’re also always smiling and happy just like me.”

Who is a role model you have?
“Captain America. He’s super patriotic and super handsome, so I try to be like him.”

If you had unlimited money for one day, what is the first thing you would buy?

“The Detroit Lions, the football team. I would turn the program around and make them a dynasty.”

Do you have any hidden talents or interesting facts about yourself?

“Besides being able to drink water and yo-yo? I’m really good at most things besides archery. I’m really bad at archery.”

What advice would you give to your younger self?

“I’m not going to be tall forever. I was really tall when I was younger, so I should prepare for that ahead of time.”

 

 

Wesley Kim

Image of Wesley Kim

Photo taken by Katie Hoffman

What is your talent?

“People know me for fashion, and I’ve always loved comedy. I thought it would be really funny if I could give fashion tips…and make a comedy about things I see people wearing, critiquing them and mildly roasting them.”

What is your favorite memory from high school?

“My best memory of high school, if I’m being honest, is winning ‘Best Dressed’ because that was something I’ve wanted probably since the beginning of sophomore year. But my worst memory was wearing jeans with tennis shoes on the first day of school and thinking I looked good.”

Do you have any hidden talents or interesting facts about yourself?

“I hit the splits at every single dance that I go to.” 

What superpower would you choose?
“Force fields. I think it’s so cool and I could save people and hurt people at the same time. But only the bad people.”

Describe yourself in three words.

“Spicy, social and appreciative.”

What advice would you give to your younger self?

“To push myself to the limits because sometimes I feel like I gave up on something that I could have enjoyed…or could have worked. Also not to wear jeans and tennis shoes on the first day of school.”

 

 

Jordan Krasner

Image of Jordan Krasner

Photo taken by Katie Hoffman

What is your talent?

“I’m singing, but what I’m singing is a surprise.”

Why should you win Top Cougar?
“I think I’m a funny kid, I have a good personality, I’m a good looking dude, and I think I can win this competition.”

Do you have any hidden talents or interesting facts about yourself?

“I’m a bachelor fan. I really like the show.”

What superpower would you choose?

“To know what other people are thinking. I think that would be interesting. I could know exactly what you’re thinking right now, and I would never have to ask questions.”

Describe yourself in three words.

“Funny, caring and friendly.” 

What is something that is really important to you?

I love my friends. Public relations.”

 

 

Spencer Lane

Image of Spencer Lane

Photo taken by Katie Hoffman

What is your talent?

“Singing ‘She Used to be Mine’ from the musical Waitress.

What is your spirit animal?

“My spirit animal is a white wolf or a coyote because while I appreciate doing things on my own and in my own time, but I also understand the value of the help of others or a pack.”

If you had unlimited money for one day, what is the first thing you would spend it on?

“If I had unlimited money I would buy that spinny chair thing that astronauts use to get used to feeling disoriented and used to the pressure of being in a spaceship blasting off.”

What superpower would you choose?

“I would want super speed. No questions asked.”

What advice would you give to your younger self?

“I would tell my younger self to be more patient; immediate results don’t correlate with the quality of the results.”

Describe yourself in three words.

“Competitive, quiet and understanding.”

 

 

Bella Pineda

Image of Bella Pineda

Photo taken by Katie Hoffman

What is your talent?

An ASMR sushi mukbang.”

Why should you win Top Cougar?

“I’ve been working behind the scenes for the past three years, and now I get to be in it which is really fun.”

Who is a role model you have?

“My mom. She’s a strong woman. I look up to her. She doesn’t take any disrespect, and she’s a really powerful influence.”

If you had unlimited money for one day, what is the first thing you would spend it on?

“I would travel. I know that sounds really bad right now because of everything, but ideally, I would travel because I want to see a ton of history.”

What advice would you give to your younger self?

“Stop caring so much. Literally do whatever makes you happy as long as it doesn’t hurt anyone else because who cares if you look weird.”

Describe yourself in three words.

“Quirky, unfortunately, passionate and hardworking.”

 

 

Itamar Shifrin

Image of Itamar Shifrin

Photo taken by Katie Hoffman

What is your talent?
“I’m going to be playing the cello, and I’m going to have other people on stage doing things. I’m going to have Ben Zartler rapping and some other people will be involved.”

If you had unlimited money for one day, what is the first thing you would spend it on?

“Definitely college.”

What advice would you give to your younger self?
“Try new things and get involved because there’s nothing that’s not worth at least trying out just once.”

What superpower would you choose?

“Probably the ability to go back to the past.”

Describe yourself in three words.

“Creative, perseverance, and multifaceted.”

What is something that is really important to you?
“Education is really important to me. I think it has the power to give people opportunities to do basically whatever they want and improve the world and improve the lives of others.”

 

 

Jacob Zimmerman

Image of Jacob Zimmerman

Photo taken by Katie Hoffman

What is your talent?

“I ran under the idea of a puppet show. My real talent is a TED talk. It’s actually half of a TED talk because the first half is me making fun of TED talks and then the second half is me actually doing a TED talk.”

Why should you win Top Cougar?

“My role is being the intellectual of the group which I say in the most pompous way possible. I am objectively declared the smartest candidate…I just broke 1000 on my SAT.”

What is your favorite memory from high school?

“The one part of sophomore year when I split the Red Sea, and I completely demolished the senior class.” 

What is your spirit animal?
“Something like a big, loud animal, but it won’t fight you. I won’t say a dog because that’s the most basic thing I can think of…have you ever seen those colonies of mushrooms where it spans like the whole state of Washington, but controls everything? That’s my spirit animal. 

Do you have any hidden talents or interesting facts about yourself?

I am extremely good at claw machines…I can tell you everything about claw machines. They’re all rigged to some degree. They’re not rigged or not rigged, but it’s on a scale. Some are rigged a little; some are impossible. I can talk for hours about claw machines.”

What advice would you give to your younger self?

“Don’t play golf for four years and realize you don’t like it. I played too many sports as a child and by the time I got into eighth grade I decided to try theater and look where I am now. I am the poster theater child for the school.”