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24 Chicago Celebrities Offer Advice, Congrats to 2020 High School Graduates

Jaume Plensa

I remember I was really unsure at the time. I was thinking a lot about being a physician. And the other one was musician. But a little before my graduation, something happened which changed my position. Picasso died in April 1973. It was a strong input for me. I always was dreaming about him. The news came from France, and I said, ‘OK, guys, finally, I will be an artist.’ I was very interested, always, in art, but my family, at least, never considered art to be something serious. I said, "Look, guys, this is my job. I will be an artist.”

This is a key time for graduates. My advice is to really also exercise their brain and to think. It’s an incredible exploration. Thinking means to explore something we love, which is our creativity. Please try to develop not only muscles but creativity. In the world, in the future, we will need a lot of creativity.”


Rashid Johnson

I went to Addison Trail High School my freshman and sophomore years. I was having some trouble with truancy and moved to Skokie and transferred to Niles North. I remember senior prom well. The Addison Trail prom was the same night as my prom from Niles North, at the Westin downtown, so all my friends I’d grown up with, we all went together. I went with my high school sweetheart and got to hang out with my old high school crew. We had a blast. I’m still really close with a lot of those guys. I had a Zoom call with them yesterday.

Be patient. There are opportunities and things that you’re missing, but this is just a blip on the radar. Your life is long. You’re going to have incredible experiences, both good and bad. Be grateful — and congratulations!