Hard-working with a little bit of shopping: Anna Lesny


Photo by Anna Lesny

Junior Anna Lesny with her mom, Kristina, enjoying brunch during a vacation in Colorado.

By Icza Huizar and Sasha Baumgartner

People may think of junior Anna Lesny as a regular teenage girl but in reality, she has a shopping addiction, and is drawn to brands such as Brandy Melville, Zara, Aritzia, and Lululemon – all the way up to luxury brands like Dior, Louis Vuitton and more. Anna always finds a way to include a shopping trip on the weekend, or to do some online shopping if she cannot get to Oak Brook Center or Woodfield. While perusing the mall, she is likely to enjoy a Starbucks, especially her favorite: the strawberry acai with lemonade, but no strawberries, as she says the strawberries are “nasty”.

As Anna shops in these high-end stores, she is looking for brands that give off that “classy look”. One day, she would like to meet Kendall Jenner, the other half of the KENDALL + KYLIE clothing brand. Jenner is the celebrity Anna emulates the most.

Junior Anna Lesny shopping in the Prada store during her Miami trip.

While Jenner grew up in Los Angeles, the daughter of Olympian Caitlyn Jenner and Kris Kardashian, Anna was raised in West Chicago, the daughter of immigrant parents, straight from Poland. Her dad, Wesley Lesny, came to the United States alone at the age of 18. Anna’s mom, Kristina Lesny, was brought to the States by her mother and father at age 16.  While Wesley and Kristina lived only a few minutes away from each other in Poland, it was not until they were introduced through a mutual family friend in the United States that they met. They married, then  created Anna’s older brother, Sebastian, who is 4 years older than his sister, and of course, shopping fanatic Anna.

Wesley began to open his own trucking business, named KWL Trucking (KWL stands for Kristina Wesley Lesny) which became quite successful; now, Anna’s father drives his own trucks, a fact that is very important to Anna, who describes her parents as “hard-working”. The knowledge that her parents were immigrants who came from nothing, and now operate their own business really inspires Anna to put forth her best effort.

Her parents are Anna’s biggest motivation. Anna said, “I want to make them proud ‘cause they didn’t go to college or have a higher education, so I just wanna show them how hard-working I can be because they came here for a better life.”

“They really came from a hard time, especially because they grew up during communism so they literally had nothing. My parents would have these little cards of food, and they would only be able to get a certain amount of food every week. My dad never saw an orange until he was seventeen, so they’re my heroes because they really didn’t have what I have.”

As Anna keeps up achieving her goals for her parents and future her hard work does not go unnoticed. Wesley Lesny, Anna’s father, said, “I am very proud of her. It’s not because she is my daughter, but because of what she is achieving right now, and I hope she continues this in the future.”

While peers describe Anna as “smiley” or “talkative”, many do not realize she went through some “hard” times during her childhood years. In third grade, Anna broke her tooth while riding her “little razor scooter” down her street in West Chicago (which she was not supposed to be doing). Suddenly, she hit a crack that made her fall forward on her face, chipping her permanent front tooth. 

As she laughs, she explains how angry her parents were upon finding out how Anna chipped her tooth. Her father threw away her scooter, a very traumatic experience for 8-year-old Anna, and a dentist had to add cement to her tooth, then file it down so she could get braces in eighth grade. 

Even now, Anna fears being left toothless, and said, “Like, my tooth can die at any point because I cause trauma to it, so it can literally turn gray and fall out, which is a little scary. But hopefully, that doesn’t happen.”

In all seriousness, though, Anna expressed the difficulty she and her family faced with the passing of her grandpa, and later, her aunt. She spoke about losing her grandpa, adding that when other people mention their grandfathers, she feels a slight tinge of sadness because all she has is her grandma. 

During Anna’s freshman year of high school, an aunt she was particularly close to died at a young age. 

“It’s just hard to not visit her anymore because I used to always visit her and talk to her. So it’s just hard to not talk to her anymore,” said Anna.

Wesley said, “Family is one of the most important things to her. She is greatly attached to her family and she loves to spend time with us.”

Anna’s family is a close-knit one, and has played a major role in her life. In second grade, Anna would go to her cousin’s football games, where all she looked forward to was watching the cheerleaders. 

Laughing, as she described the Wheaton North cheerleaders, Anna said, “I would just go to the cheerleaders. I wouldn’t even watch the game, I just watched the cheerleaders, and I wanted to be like them and do that.”

Anna with her cheer teammates at the ICCA State championship in Springfield, Illinois.

Now a ten-year WEGO cheerleader, the tumbling aspect of cheer – being able to flip – is one of Anna’s favorite aspects of the sport. She loves competing, and believes cheer brings the team together. This year, all the girls were connected, Anna explained, which makes cheer more fun.

Many people fail to recognize cheer as a sport, a misconception according to Anna. 

Anna said, “It’s because people just see us on the sidelines, the easiest part of cheer. They don’t see us actually in the competitions, and actually working during practice, so when people see us during the sidelines, they just think [cheer is] not a sport even though we do work super hard.”

During the summer, Anna volunteers as part of a cheer clinic for little girls in the community. Anna loves the experience, but admits coaching can be hard since the cheerleaders are younger and inexperienced. Still, Anna likes to teach the girls new skills, make them better cheerleaders, and show them how high school cheer is organized.

“I don’t teach them like [they are] young kids I teach them like they’re about to come into high school and I’m kinda hard on them but I love it, it’s just interesting to see them grow from the first practice to the last practice,” said Anna

Anna is not only a cheerleader, but she is also a track star. This WEGO track and field competitor enjoys running and sprinting, but also “the feeling of dying” during the races, when she is working to her limits. 

Anna’s biggest accomplishment is being able to handle a heavy course load, saturated with honors and AP classes, while also working part-time at the ARC Center in West Chicago and being an athlete.

Social Studies teacher John Chisholm said, “Anna is a very dedicated, inquisitive learner. One of the most important traits in a student is if they are intellectually curious about the material they are learning – in Anna’s case one can definitely observe that she is thinking and asking questions about what she is learning and Anna is not only a great academic student, but she is also a class leader who will try to help others. She routinely leads her group and will often help those who are struggling.”

Chemistry teacher Anna Fulmer said, “Anna is a great student! She is motivated to learn, resilient, and works well with everyone.”  

Also a member of National Honor Society, Anna is proud of her ability to push through and balance her busy schedule. Part of getting going each day is having breakfast: Anna can never miss a breakfast meal. Her favorite breakfast food is bagels with “a lot” of cream cheese.

Anna also loves to hang out with her friends and boyfriend. Sometimes they go out to eat, and other times they drive around in her car, looking for things to do. 

Junior Aidan Murrin, Anna’s boyfriend, said, “Anna is an extremely hard-working and outgoing person. She isn’t afraid to try new things. I love to do things that I used to do as a kid with Anna. Things like fishing, biking, watching storms, playing all sorts of games, hiking, etc. We also love to watch sunsets, especially at the beach. Going boating and to the beach are probably our favorite things to do together.” 

Anna with her beloved boyfriend of 3 years, Aiden Murrin, posing for Homecoming pictures.

Murrin described Anna as one of the most important people in his life.

“I would say Anna is one of the most important people in my life because she’s my biggest supporter, outside of family, and it makes me so happy I can count on someone to be there for me, always, and of course, always be there for her. I love her more than anything, and could never ask for anyone better,” said Murrin.

Those sentiments were echoed by Anna’s friends, who admire her bubbly personality and big heart.

“Me and Anna met freshman year. She asked for my Snap in the hallway, and started talking and hanging out during the summers. Anna is very outgoing and kind. She’s always someone I can go to if I have any problems,” said junior Gianna DeConcilis, one of Anna’s good friends. 

Many people may not realize Anna is also an avid traveler. Of the many places she has traveled to, Australia is one of the most memorable. Anna recalled seeing kangaroos that were as tall as her 6’1 father, and koalas who were drunk from all the leaves they had eaten. Viewing the animals in their native habitat was fun. 

Anna also took a trip to Miami with one of her best friends, Olivia, who lives in Burbank, a far drive from West Chicago Going on a trip with her best friend was a great experience, particularly since they do not get to see each other as often as they would like. 

Of course, Anna likes visiting Poland, where she gets to see her extended family and have more freedom. Anna said “I was out till 1 am because my aunt wouldn’t care being such a cool aunt and in Poland, I’m doing something all the time whereas here I’m just laying in my bed or doing things around the house but in Poland I’m always out and about doing something and it’s just a different vibe”

When she is not traveling, Anna is focused on the future. 

Wesley Lesny said, “Anna is a very mature, responsible, helpful, and hardworking girl for her age. If she thinks about achieving something she will do it to 100% no matter if it’s for school or sports.”

She wishes to go to University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign where she wants to double major in chemistry and take part in the pre-professional pharmacy program, which will hopefully lead to a career as a pharmaceutical scientist, making and testing medicines.

Fulmer said, “My advice for Anna would be to always keep asking lots of questions – that’s what scientists do! Another helpful tip is to work through extra practice problems and try to explain them to someone else. If you can do that, you have learned the concept! Also, finally, always wear your goggles!