Looking Camp right in the eye


By Gloria Gonzalez, Reporter

From having her own small business to interning with Illinois State Senator Karina Villa, senior Jaclyn Camp is a multi-faceted individual who has only just gotten started when it comes to achieving her dreams.

To understand Jaclyn’s talent, and how she got her start, I sat down with her one October afternoon for a latte and a cookie at Kindred Coffee Roasters in West Chicago. Jaclyn is a tall girl with dark hair, and beautiful, blue eyes. She considers herself to be a very responsible, genuine, mentally organized hard worker; it is no wonder she gets chosen for so many leadership positions.

The Camp household consists of 27-year-old Jeffrey, 21-year-old Kevin, 18-year-old Jaclyn, and their parents, Dawn and Jeff. They also have a 7-month-old golden retriever named Remi, a character on his own, and still the family’s baby.

Involved in theatre since a young age, Jaclyn recalled the happiest day of her childhood: the day she was awarded the lead role of Belle in the Carol Stream Park District’s The Beauty and the Beast play in 2013. Although Jaclyn had landed parts in plays before, she never received the lead role, so performing as Belle was a huge accomplishment. 

Since then, Jaclyn has continued to act, and also sings, dances, and plays several instruments. She maintains a singing account where she used to upload videos of herself singing. Although she does not upload anymore, she still enjoys singing in private because “it has become a more personal thing to me,” said Camp. When singing, Jaclyn can match her voice to some instruments, like the ukulele, the guitar, and the piano.

Jaclyn’s mother, Dawn Camp, said, “Jaclyn has always loved music. When she first started talking, one of the first things she would do was memorize all of the lyrics to the songs I played on the radio!” 

Jaclyn Camp with her dog, Remi.

It is no surprise, then, that she is in the school’s choir group, and is so committed, she even attends the zero-hour acapella group.

“One of my favorite parts about choir is my friends,” Jaclyn said.

Jaclyn was also on the school’s dance team during her freshman year, but now just dances for herself. She is still very active in theatre, and has participated in several school plays such as Mamma Mia, Matilda, Puffs, and the new directors shows during her time at West Chicago Community High School.

Apart from the arts, Jaclyn loves plants, and recently joined Club Green, the environmental group at WEGO. On top of all of this, Jaclyn recently won the election in her government class, and became the Democratic Party’s floor leader. Even more exciting, she was named September’s student of the month!

Despite her busy schedule, Jaclyn is committed to spending time for family and friends. In fact, she has known seniors and good friends Robert Washington Jr., Sydney Radke, and Maggie Hancock since preschool. A misconception people may have of her is that she is uptight and judgmental, but this is far from the case. “If anything, I’m only judgy with myself because of how much of a perfectionist I am,” said Jaclyn.

Friends would say she is kind, rational, and smart. Her friend, senior Mariana López, said, “Jaclyn is one of the most caring people I know, always being there in times of need. She’s the type of person you can be vulnerable with, and feel like you’re being heard.”

Some of her closest friends include López, Washington, Geneva High School student Ashley McManus, and her boyfriend, senior Wildcat Chronicle reporter Adan Villa. Villa and Jaclyn’s love story is unique as far as high school romance goes: they started dating the first month of freshman year, and have been together ever since.

“Jaclyn is really nice and caring. That’s one of the things I love the most about her,” said Villa. 

This summer, Jaclyn interned for Illinois State Senator, Karina Villa. Some of Jaclyn’s duties included updating mental health pages, working job fairs, visiting the DuPage Airport, visiting parks in the area, and working on a summer reading program. Interning with a state senator was a unique opportunity; Senator Villa strives to recognize small businesses, so this summer, her interns visited several and supported them during the hard times caused by the pandemic. Earlier this semester, Senator Villa also held a donation drive for professional clothing for women, and Jaclyn visited with a couple of her friends. Due to the pink tax, women’s professional clothing costs more than men’s, even in thrift stores, so the drive was a great way to help the community, and Jaclyn was eager to support the cause. Not only did the opportunity created by the internship prepare Jaclyn as she entered her senior year, but it also prepared her to transition into the adult world and into a more professional work force.

After high school, Jaclyn plans to attend college and major in English with the hope of eventually finding a career in marketing or communications. Her dream is to live in an urban area with many people: a large city, like New York City or Chicago. In ten years, she sees herself enjoying a good job and a good life; nothing too over the top.

One thing that I know for sure Jaclyn will be doing in five or ten years is excelling in all that she does,” mentioned Tracy Eier, Jaclyn’s counselor.

Jaclyn and her boyfriend, Adan Villa.

Part of her success can be attributed to time-management skills, which have allowed Jaclyn to thrive. She has been working at Target in the Guest Service department for about a year now, and balances her time there with a full academic course load that includes advanced classes, including AP Spanish Language. Jaclyn has been taking Spanish classes since seventh grade, and her study of the language has proved beneficial because while at work, she has had to speak Spanish with others.

Elizabeth Mastroianni, Jaclyn’s Spanish teacher for two years, said, “It is so beneficial for the students to learn a second language and be able to speak to a whole other community.”

Mastroianni noted that Jaclyn is an amazing student who really understands how important it is to appreciate and learn about other languages and cultures. 

In fact, Jaclyn and I spoke about some of the appreciation she has for those who came before her. If she could have dinner with any person from her own lifetime, Jaclyn would pick Florence Pugh, because although she is an A-list celebrity, she is still very humble. Pugh’s fans love her Instagram live posts, in which she cooks and acts like one of their friends. However, if she could have dinner with one person from any lifetime, Jaclyn would select Judy Garland, the actress who played Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz. During her lifetime, Garland faced many struggles regarding her body, issues still seen in the media today. Jaclyn says she would like to hear Garland’s thoughts on today’s society and the body positivity movement. 

An embroidered sweatshirt from Jaclyn’s small business, Thread and Roses.

Somehow, amidst all of her extracurricular activities, work schedule, and difficult course load, Jaclyn has also launched her own small business, Thread and Roses, in which she embroiders items such as sweaters, shirts, and even backpacks for people. She taught herself to embroider over Illinois’ COVID-19 quarantine period, mostly for herself, but then friends offered to pay Jaclyn to design or create a piece for them, so she started her business. While Jaclyn handed about three or four items a week over quarantine, since school has started, she has had to take fewer orders, as a single item requires about 10 hours to complete. Right now, Jaclyn is working on a line for several staff members at WEGO. Items range in cost: sweatshirts are about $40, and tie-dye items range between $45-50, depending on the design.

Apart from her job at Target and her small embroidery business, Jaclyn also recently started a podcast, which has just launched on the Wildcat Chronicle, as well. In her podcast, she talks about her favorite books. So far she and co-host McManus have only one episode out, which centers around the classic, Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley. The second episode is set for release soon, but the title remains a highly-classified secret. 

As an expert in time-management, Jaclyn has some advice for everybody: self-care.

“It’s important to take time for yourself everyday and to create a schedule. My self-care consists of reading and journaling, but it can be different for everybody,” she said.