Trista Skelnik: ECC student athlete and aspiring elementary school teacher


Dominic Di Palermo

Trista Skelnik poses for a photo on Thursday, Feb. 9, 2023

Yesenia De La Torre, Staff Writer

Trista Skelnik is a 2022 Streamwood High School graduate and a first-year Elgin Community College student athlete majoring in elementary education. Skelnik intends on becoming an elementary school teacher and believes it is important for teachers to form connections with their students.

“I want to be able to change the lives of kids around me,” said Skelnik. “And be someone they can go to.”

Skelnik gains experience in her field by working a part-time job at the Elgin’s Boys & Girls club. There, she works with kids ranging from kindergarten to sixth grade. Each day the kids go through a schedule that includes, free time, snack time and homework time. Depending on the day of the week, she works with the kids on learning about social, emotional and current events while discussing their thoughts on the topics.

“I’ve bounced around on ideas such as neonatal nurse, pediatrician and even a therapist,” said Skelnik. “I ultimately landed on becoming a teacher.”

Skelnik is also a multi-sport athlete playing both softball and volleyball in high school. She started playing softball at seven years old but after a break she was nervous to start playing. With the encouragement from family and friends she picked up the glove and the bat once again.

“I feel like [if] I stayed consistent with the sport I would’ve had more skills,” Skelnik said.

Skelnik decided to join Streamwood High’s softball team during her sophomore year of high school, but the pandemic paused her plans.

“I felt very discouraged because the world shut down,” Skelnik said. But I knew it was something I wanted to do so badly.”

After the pandemic she went on to play softball for the remainder of her high school career.

Skelnik submitted a recruiting form to play for ECC’s softball team and attended an open gym but the season was canceled due to a player’s injury.

“I was excited to play with new people,” Skelnik said. “But it’s sad that the season was canceled.”

Skelnik plans to play for ECC’s softball team next spring when the season comes around and also plans to try out for the girl’s volleyball team next fall. She started playing volleyball in 5th grade with the Streamwood Park District.

“I joined as soon as I was old enough to play,” said Skelnik.

Skelnik’s academic plans consist of finishing off her two years at ECC then later joining Northern Illinois University’s 2+2 Program for Elementary Education’, meaning she would be considered an NIU student but still takes classes at ECC.