Ring leaves GBN sure of her life’s path
Glenbrook North High School senior Julia Ring has been passing out information to neighbors explaining the Relay For Life fundraising effort. | Buzz Orr~Sun-Times Media
Updated: July 8, 2012 8:29AM
Julia Ring, a Glenbrook North graduate, may not only have been born to teach, but also to teach students facing different challenges.
She not only has a passion for helping kids, but survived hard times when a member of her family was stricken by cancer.
“Those are my two deep interests — teaching and fighting cancer. Almost everything I’ve been doing revolves around them,” Ring said.
Julia was born and raised in Northbrook, attending Hickory Point and Shabonee Elementary Schools, and Wood Oaks Junior High.
“I’ve known all my life that I wanted to be a teacher, but I didn’t know until my junior year at Glenbrook North exactly what kind of teacher I wanted to be,” Ring said.
“That is when I decided I would become a high school English teacher specializing in alternative education.”
Julia noted several influences that helped determine that decision.
Her mother, Linda Ring Ash, has worked as an alternative education teacher. And Julia also admires Principal Paul Pryma and Assistant Principal of Student Activities Michael Tarjan, as well as other teachers, who have been role models
However, Ring also knew students who were “very, very intelligent,” but had learning disabilities involving difficulty with organization and focus, so they didn’t do as well as they should have in school as far as grades.
“I also saw the documentary, ‘Race to Nowhere,’ which had a pretty big impact on me. It’s a documentary made about the education system in America, which is a race to nowhere,” Ring said.
“There is this constant competition for the best grades, entering the best colleges, and being the best at everything. But there has been a lack of focus on actual learning.”
This has led Ring to choose the University of Maryland to educate herself for her career.
“I like it because it’s a big school, like the big 10, but not as big. And I wanted to be a little bit away from home,” Julia said.
“I like the idea of pursuing alternative education and education policy there. It’s right outside D.C., which is a nice place to be if your interested in education policy.”
It seems like Ring has been preparing for leadership in her upcoming career since she started high school.
She has served on Glenbrook North’s student government, Class Board, for three out of her for years. Julia is a peer group leader and a Northbrook Youth Commission member.
She also has been working as publicity chair of the Global Citizens Club, a human rights organization interested in causes such as “Invisible Children.”
And in her “spare time,” Ring has been a president of Beating the Odds, a cancer outreach club at school, and has chaired the Relay for Life, to be run June 9, the last two years.
“The Relay and Beating the odds are really big for me, because I lost my father, Howard Ring, to cancer,” Julia said.
After his death, Julia’s mother married David Ash, which resulted in Julia and her younger brother gaining a step-brother and step-sister.
For fun, Julia spends time with her family, and this year joined the Comedy Troupe at school.
“I also hang out with a great group of friends, go to sporting events and play Catch Phrase Tuesdays – a game where players have to describe something without using its name – at one of our houses,” she said.
Right now, Julia’s chief goal in life is becoming a teacher who can establish a classroom where everyone can be successful, whether they have learning disabilities or problems at home.
“I don’t know how exactly I will do that yet, because I haven’t taken any classes in education. I just have what I’ve learned at Glenbrook North and my own experiences.”