CCSD21 alumnus Noah Festenstein embraces life. Always has. “I like to take in new experiences, explore and embrace moments,” said Festenstein. As a child at Riley Elementary School, he participated in the homework club, which helped him do well in school. When he attended London Middle School from 2008 to 2011, he was very involved in extracurricular activities, emceeing the 2010 talent show, going the extra mile to help others with their homework – giving back and giving in to the wrestling team, competing at 65 pounds and then 95 pounds.
But it was his sixth grade drama teacher and English teacher at London who tapped into his creative side. “They exposed me to multimedia, a passion for learning and performing,” said Festenstein. Those classes planted his interest in journalism and enthusiasm for people. “My drama teacher recorded my voice and I hated the way I sounded. So I worked on it and became proficient in that medium,” he added. He dabbled with college radio at Harper College and studied journalism at DePaul University while graduating cum laude in 2018. During this time, Festenstein launched his own sports talk podcast. “I’ve completed 236 episodes so far which can be heard on Spotify, Apple and Google,” stated Festenstein. “And I’ve had as many as 5,000 listeners in one episode.”
Working as a part-time reporter at Journal & Topics, Festenstein’s favorite beat is business and crime. “And I like human interest stories as well. I like showing the good side of humanity,” he said. “I like to write stories that make a difference and have a positive impact on people’s lives,” he added. In fact, after investigating a car accident, Festenstein determined the cause of the accident which alleviated fear and doubt of the grieving family. “That was important to me,” he stated.
“I care about others and I found that same attention given to me at District 21. The quality of the instructors and the resources that were provided gave me a launching pad to discover and pursue my passions. If I were to advise current D21 students, I would say to enjoy the experiences. Embrace the moments,” he added. Festenstein certainly did.