North Star News

Niles North High School | Skokie, IL

North Star News

Niles North High School | Skokie, IL

North Star News

Bear Manita, Junior

Photo credited to Bear Manita
Photo credited to Bear Manita

What is your name, your grade, and your pronouns? Bear, like the animal, Manita. I’m a junior, but I’m graduating early, and…I don’t really care [regarding pronouns.] All/any. 

What’s the first thing you would do in the event of a robot invasion? Gosh, you want me to get really analytical? Because I could go on about this for hours. I think the first thing I would do is obviously say, “the world is ending,” leave all my [stuff] behind. My first step would probably be to get as much non-perishable food as possible. I do camping and a lot of outdoor kind of [stuff], so I would probably get my sleeping bag and a couple things that would improve the living situation or whatever. [At my house], we don’t even have an Alexa, we don’t really have any of that kind of stuff, so I feel like I’d be decently safe in my house. But yeah, basically, have an emergency kit on standby, to make a very long explanation shorter. 

How did you decide to graduate early, as a junior? I’m going into a very difficult field, and it takes a lot of schooling to get to be able to do what I want to. So I thought getting a year ahead would be nice. Other than that, there’s not really specific reasons, in the sense of, it’s just kind of been a dream of mine since I was little, I don’t know why. It just has. 

What is the field you want to go into? I want to go into forensic psychology for domestic violence cases, and also trauma specialist. If I want to do it properly, it takes a lot of schooling, and you can do it in a way where you don’t need to take a lot of school, but I prefer to do it the proper way where I can actually be a help to people, as opposed to just taking the easy route. 

What are you most proud of from your time in high school? I think the memories I’ve taken with me. That’s very non-specific, but I’m very proud of, I guess how much I’ve grown as a person, how much I’ve developed and changed, and the biggest thing is experiences I take with me. It’s not really explicit, like a material object or thing, but…I feel like I’ve advanced intellectually, emotionally, artistically. And I guess that was my biggest takeaway and something that I’m proud of. 

How did you come to be involved in theater? One of my friends invited me to the fashion part, like a costume crew, back in freshman year, and then I just started showing up religiously. 

From personal experience, what have been the benefits of theater so far? I feel like the community is really strong, and the people, for the most part, are really nice and genuine. It also gives you something to do…you kind of use it as a purpose, ‘cause there’s always an outcome, and…it’s really good for team building, because you spend a couple months with people, building a set, putting on a show.

Did you start crocheting, scrapbooking, and making clothes at the same time, or were they all different points? No, I started crocheting when I was four. I started scrapbooking in late 2020, because my older sister started – well, she has been [scrapbooking] for, like, ever, but she came to visit and she brought it. So I started scrapbooking then, and I started sewing, I think when I was ten. Ten or eleven. 

Clothes making: what do you like about it? A lot of times when you go to a store, it’s really hard to find something that will actually fit you, because most clothes are built for a very specific body type and then they’re just, scaled up or scaled down, depending. And it can be hard to find clothes that you like and clothes that fit properly. But it’s really nice to be able to think, “Oh, this is something that I’d really like to own,” and instead of having to look for it and spend a lot of money, to be able to make it. 

What is your favorite book, movie, TV show, and/or video game, and what do you like about it? I really like “The Midnight Lie,” by Marie Rutkoski. I don’t know how to say her last name, but it was a book that I read in middle school, and I really liked…now that I’ve read Jane Eyre, it’s very Jane Eyre-esque–like,in the same fashion, if that makes sense….it was one of the first books that I read that I genuinely enjoyed and was super immersed in, if that makes sense. I read it a long time ago, so I don’t know if my opinion has changed. 

My favorite movie is Alice in Wonderland. It was just one that I had on VHS as a kid, and I would watch it over and over and over again, to the point where…I can say it word for word at this point, and it’s become a comfort movie. 

And then my favorite TV show…I don’t really know, I don’t really have a favorite. I have a lot of favorites, so that probably won’t be helpful. 

Which version of yourself from the past do you wish you could talk to, and what would you tell them? I would talk to myself in fourth grade, because that was around the time my mom got sick, and I had no idea what was going to happen. I mean, she’s fine now, I live with her, she’s waiting outside and, like, called me and was like “hurry up.” But she got sick, and so at that point, I just kind of had no idea what was happening. I was scared and felt like my world was ending, and I wish I could go back and tell that person that it’s not over, I guess.

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About the Contributor
Griffin Larson-Erf, Reporter
Griffin Larson-Erf is a junior at Niles North High School. When not writing for North Star News, he can be found reading, writing fiction, and being confused for his twin brother.

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