The Secret Life of Leesville

The Secret Life of the Leesville Staff

Mr. Luke McIntyre, English teacher and rapper – McKenna Daley


When Luke McIntyre isn’t teaching sophomore English, he is creating awesome rap tracks.  McIntyre got involved in rapping at age sixteen and has never looked back.

    When asked why he likes rap, McIntyre said, “I don’t think when I started rapping, I was an eloquent speaker, but rap gave me outlet to work on that and express my emotions. And [rap] is just an awesome thing, it’s whimsical but has boundaries at the same time.”  

    As to how the students react, he said, “I love the surprise and wow factor. I knew when I came to this school last september, I was going to rap for my students but I was just waiting for the right opportunity.” McIntyre went on to explain that he likes to rap for his students because it is a fun way to keep students engaged in learning.

     Eventually, he found that perfect moment to broadcast his raps to his class. He said, “ It was about 2-3 months into the class and the students weren’t listening, they were checked out, one was slumped over, one was about to drool in her seat, and then I just started rapping, and you’d see the eyes start to open and look at eachother like ‘Is this really happening?’ It was a cool moment.”    

    Since that day, Luke is well known among Leesville students for rapping in the classroom. Although a relatively young teacher, McIntyre uses rap to further his relationships with his students. While they might view a teacher with the usual stigmas — old, boring, strict —  McIntyre often proves his students wrong while rapping.     

    “It gives us a common factor,” said McIntyre.

To hear Mr. McIntyre’s tracks, search “LukeNine” on SoundCloud.

Mrs. Yvonne Anderson, English teacher and playwright–  McKenna Daley


When Yvonne Anderson isn’t teaching kids the mechanics of writing, she is writing and directing her own plays. Anderson has participated in theatre since she was a child, first starting with writing her own play in second grade.

     From there, she continued to perfect her craft. “I just always had teachers that encouraged me, and then in high school and college, I just kept writing and producing, and now I have done community theatre for 30 years.”

      When asked what is her favorite part of writing and producing a play, Anderson said, “[It] is opening night because if that goes well and the audience is full of people, then I know, as a producer, I’ve made sure that all parts of the production work.”

     Anderson also highlighted how theatre has become a family affair. “My children have been on the stage, my husband acts and directs, so theatre is a family thing we all do together.”

     Yvonne also talked about how theatre has allowed her to become closer to students. “It’s also a fun way to connect with my students, especially those who do theatre because we have that common language and that common interest.”

    Mrs. Anderson serves on the board of directors for North Raleigh Art and Creative Theatre and also writes and produces plays for the organization.

Check out upcoming shows on the NRACT website at

Mr. Robert Thornhill, science teacher and bluegrass musician – McKenna Daley


Besides an astronomy teacher, Mr. Robert Thornhill creates quality bluegrass music with Counterclockwise, a local act for which he plays mandolin.

    As for his interest in bluegrass, Thornhill said, “When I was in junior high school, the school I was at had a classical guitar program, and the instructor there received a grant that gave the school 10 mandolin’s, and he asked me if I wanted to learn. I said ‘sure.’ So, at the beginning of seventh grade, I started learning how to play mandolin, classical mostly, and I taught myself other genres. When I moved to North Carolina, I realized that bluegrass was a really big type of music that a lot of people enjoy. So just being around it a lot, I was able to pick it up.”

    “It’s all about the community and the friendships — I’ve met a lot of really excellent people and some of my best friends now are people I met through bluegrass,” said Thornhill.

    Thornhill finds bluegrass music has helped him to connect to Leesville students, especially those with similar interests. “It helps build relationships with my students. I have a few students who are also in band, so it’s a cool thing to talk about,” said Thornhill.

    Thornhill, along with his band members, perform at private events as well as public places such as festivals.

To hear Counterclockwise play, visit for performance dates.


True Life, Leesville Students

What we do with our free time – Erin Darnell





Our stories and hobbies shape us into who we are and help us find who we want to be.

    Many students have hobbies, and they are often activities we do in order to create a product, experience, feeling, or express ourselves. Usually, our hobbies are what distinguish us from others when applying for college or a job. Many people can make good grades or develop a high GPA, but our hobbies are the unique factors that will set us apart from the rest.

 upperclassmen-afterschool   Just the fact that we have  hobbies sets us apart. In a world where most people are consumers, creating a product or experience is unique.

    Some of the most famous and well respected people are creators instead of consumers. Almost no one is considered unique.     

    One could argue that society has created a box full of expectations to only consume– never create, never think for ourselves. Hobbies give us the opportunity to break out of that box and express ourselves in ways others do not expect.

    Our hobbies make us who we are,and create the ‘real us’.

    It’s a common phenomenon in high schools: When we enter, we create a facade — a slightly fake, slightly altered identity to mask our real personalities…to ‘fit in.’ In order to conform, we tend to hide the unique aspects of ourselves.

    underclassmen-weekendsBut what is underneath the fake person we present to the world?

    What would others find if they searched for the real personality?

    In fact, we all have facts or uniquenesses that produce our story.

   As you walk down the hall, you pass by hundreds of faces, each with their own stories and unique ideas or hobbies.

 underclassmen-afterschool  As you sit down in class, each person who sits in the classroom has their own story from a hobby.

   As you look around in the cafeteria, every person has their own personality and story.


Common hobbies among Leesville students:

  • Sports
  • Video games
  • Running
  • Reading
  • Art
  • Music

Genie Shekar


Interesting fact: She runs an Instagram account with 170K followers. Since her claim to fame, she has become a social media marketer.

Grade: 12

What was the process of building up your Instagram and becoming a social media marketer?

“It was kind of natural, I just made it personal and about me…I just talk about what is important to me and a lot of people can relate to that.”




Thomas Tran


Interesting fact: He is  a martial arts instructor.

Grade: 10

What is your favorite part of teaching martial arts?

“The kids [I teach], they are a lot of fun to play with.”

What is the normal reaction when telling people about your job?



Noah Treichler


Interesting fact: He is a certified scuba diver.

Grade: 9

What is your favorite part of being a scuba diver?

“It’s so cool to be in the tank [at Disney’s Epcot] and getting to wave to little kids and taking pictures. [I like] being able to make other people smile and happy because of my hobby.”




Sarah Jumma


Interesting fact: She has published four books online.

Grade: 9

What is your favorite part of the writing process?

“Definitely…brainstorming because I come up with so many ideas and only like one or two of them actually get published.”

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