My hometown

Kristin McGrath
Margaret Bauer

NAME: Helaine Schiller
AGE: 19
MAJOR: Economics
HOMETOWN: Cooper City, Florida

What was it like growing up Cooper City?

I knew everyone in my neighborhood. It was fun because we had a Founders’ Day parade, which I was in, and there are fun events that the whole town gathers for. Everyone goes to the same high school. It’s the kind of place where everyone complains that there’s nothing to do but go to the mall, but you just have to make your own fun.

So just how small is Cooper City?

It’s small enough where you can ride bikes almost everywhere. I remember always going to visit my friends by bike. There’s also an unincorporated area within Cooper City, and I used to ride my bike there to feed the horses. Once in a while you’ll see someone on horseback riding down the street.

Any small-town quirks?

If you do anything remotely notable, the mayor will send you a personal letter congratulating you. Once I was in the newspaper, and she sent me a very nice letter. Basically, if you get an A on a paper, you’re getting a letter from the mayor.

What is the night life like?

Here’s a basic Saturday night in Cooper City: going from one party to the next as the cops come and break each one up.

Are you near the beach?

I’m 20 minutes away. It’s beautiful. I really took the warm weather for granted. I miss the sun so much. Florida has palm trees, the beach and blue skies. I want to go home!

What do you think of the St. Louis winter?

It’s my roommate’s job to tell me if I’m dressed appropriately. I have no concept of dressing for cold weather. She’s been slacking on her job too, so I’ll come back completely numb sometimes. I’ll wear flip-flops, and then I have to stand in the shower and run hot water on them because I can’t feel my feet.

Where you born in Cooper City?

I was born in Miami. We moved when I was 5. Just in time for kindergarten.

Did you like Cooper City right away?

All the houses in the area have the same style with Spanish tile roofs. And there are a lot of pink houses. When my parents were looking for houses, I saw the pink houses and I was sold. The fact that were living among pink houses was, for some reason, really cool for me back then.

Are there any alligators around?

Yeah, and flamingos, too. There have been some alligator sightings, so we’re not supposed to swim in the lakes. If you see one, you’re supposed to run zigzag because it confuses them.

What do people do for fun in Cooper City?

The big thing to do is to hang out at the Wendy’s and the Dairy Queen. They call it “Club Dub.”

Did you spend a lot of time at “Club Dub?”

No, but I did spend a lot of time making fun of people who did hang out at “Club Dub.”

What’s the first thing you’re going to do when you go home for spring break?

Eat my mother’s meals. And go to the beach and just lie outside in my backyard in the sun.

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