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The Communicator

Love of CHS

CHS alumni reflect on their high school relationships and what Community taught them about love.

“Community saved my life by treating me like I had worth,” said Andrea Lahodny, who graduated from CHS in 1991. CHS was a sanctuary for her; the unique level of respect between students and adults made Lahodny feel especially secure during a challenging time in her life.

“I loved the independence and also the respect I received from teachers and other staff,” said Lahodny, who graduated from CHS in 1991. “I felt listened to and like my thoughts and ideas were valued.”

Lahodny recalls that forum relationships were more distant. Few forums did bonding activities off campus, like camping, but these connections were found in other ways.

“I think my relationships with adults shaped me a lot, because of the respect and freedom we were given by the adults around us,” Lahodny said.

In addition to a wide group of friends, she felt cared for by many staff members. Perhaps the most significant relationship was with Susan McBride, the secretary for the counselor.

“She was one of those people who made you want to be the best version of yourself because that’s what she saw in you,” Lahodny said.

Lydia Cocciolone, class of 2023 graduate, felt similarly about her former forum leader, Ryan Silvester.

“He was always so supportive of me no matter what, and I believe he really trusted me which is really meaningful to me,” Cocciolone said.
She found many people at CHS to be kind and feels very lucky to have had the opportunity to have attended the school.

“I think the whole Silvester forum has learned a lot about love and community because Ryan has grown up as a teacher with us,” Cocciolone said. “The class of 2023 was his first class he had for all four years and he did a really great job of holding strong morals and being kind.”

Her relationships with her peers also extended out of the classroom. Cocciolone ran cross country and track at Skyline High School. She thinks that this helped to broaden her friend group and find unique connections.

“After four years of getting to know the other people in my grade, I felt like I got to know so many of them,” Cocciolone said. “I think the whole class of 2023 got really close, especially in our senior year.”

She adopted a more open-minded approach to meeting new people during her time at CHS and Cocciolone plans to carry it with her through college and beyond.

“I have this new understanding that any person I meet could end up being a good friend of mine,” Cocciolone said.

She is compelled to talk to a variety of people that she meets because of the experiences she gained at CHS. CHS draws kids from all over the district which allowed Cocciolone to have a diverse group of friends.

Chava Makman-Levinson, class of 2020, is also grateful for her lifelong friendships that began at CHS.

The COVID-19 pandemic hit during Makman-Levinson’s senior year. Her class could have been torn apart, but made extraordinary efforts to stay connected.

“We went from being regular high school seniors to being the first COVID-19 graduating class together, which brought us even closer,” Makman-Levinson said.

These strengthened relationships are ones that Makman-Levinson knows she can lean on in times of need, even years later.

“The funny truth is that sometimes I almost forget these are friendships that began in high school, since we have made such a large amount of memories since,” Makman-Levinson said. “It is just very special that we do share those roots and that they’ve seen me through so many phases of my life.”

Chava Makman-Levinson also had a particularly strong bond with one of her teachers at CHS. Marci Harris taught French at Slauson when Makman-Levinson was in middle school, and later moved to CHS.

“When I found out she was going to teach at Community, I was elated,” Makman-Levinson said. “Her kindness to me was astounding, and I always felt very at home with her being at CHS.”

Makman-Levinson also feels exceptionally grateful to Maneesha Mankad and Marcy McCormick for helping her master challenging topics without judgment. They offered her support and consistently showed excitement toward helping students learn.

Makman-Levinson is a senior at the University of Michigan studying environmental science. She loves every minute of college and still gets to see her family with ease. Makman-Levinson has a special and ongoing connection to CHS: her younger brothers, Jonah and Elijah, are sophomores split enrolled at CHS and Pioneer.

Many Ann Arbor families with students at CHS have deeper familial connections to the school. Cocciolone’s sister, Tia, is currently a sophomore at CHS.

Cocciolone graduated from CHS in 2023 and now attends the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma, Wash. She loves the natural areas in the area and continues to run competitively. Although the time difference and the geographic barriers between the sisters are significant, they find ways to stay connected.

Lahodny is yet another alum with current relationships with people at CHS. Lahodny lives in Ann Arbor with her husband and daughter, Ruby, who split enrolls at CHS and Pioneer. Though she didn’t know it at the time, her husband attended Huron High School at the time that she went to CHS. Lahodny is working as a financial analyst for Michigan Public Radio and feels proud to be an alumnus of CHS.

“It wasn’t all sunshine and rainbows but as far as a high school experience in the 1980s, it was what I needed at the time,” Lahodny said.

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About the Contributor
Ivy Miller
Ivy Miller, Journalist
Ivy is a sophomore at CHS who is excited to be joining The Communicator. In her free time, she runs cross country and track for Skyline. Ivy loves walking her cat and her dog and spending time outdoors. She is passionate about wildlife conservation and growing as a writer.

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