Liberty Legacies: Spotlighting Three of Liberty’s Alumni
Recognizing past Liberty students who have built astonishing careers
March 13, 2023
There are many past students of Liberty High School. Some have been very impacted by their years at the school.
Liberty Legacies: Blake Phillips
A look into where one of Liberty’s alumni is today
Blake Phillips was a part of Liberty’s first graduating class. Most could say he was very involved with the school. He was part of theater, the debate program, and Student Council.
“Blake was one of those students who was overflowing with charisma and just needed to figure out where to direct his energy and drive,” theater teacher Mrs. Melissa Gehrke said.
Phillips currently is at his final year of his undergrad at Mizzou working on his degree in broadcast journalism. Along with that, he has a minor in both political science and Spanish.
One aspect of the program at Mizzou has Phillips working at their school affiliated news station, KOMU 8 News. KOMU is an associate with NBC and has a wide viewership area for Mid-Missouri.
“I report weekly and get the opportunity to cover a wide range of topics,” Phillips explains.
He even got the opportunity to cover the state senate race of the 2022 election.
Phillips wasn’t involved with the Liberty publications program. However, he did have another opportunity.
“I had opportunities to work with Coach Dan Wheeler and [former counselor] Todd Gieselmann around sports games. I felt at this time, this is where I wanted to be,” Phillips says.
Phillips also was a part of Student Council where StuCo teacher Mrs. Lindsey Shafer helped develop teamwork skills. She encouraged them to become leaders and to work well as a team.
“I use the lessons I learned from her daily,” Phillips states.
He was also a part of the debate and theater programs with Mrs. Gehrke. He says that it really helped him prepare to be on screen.
“He wasn’t a student who knew what he wanted to do when he was in high school. He was searching for where he belonged. But now that he’s found it, it is amazing to watch him succeed and use that charisma and presence for something so positive,” Gehrke states.
Phillips has found his path and can thank Liberty High School for the amazing opportunities he’s had since.
Liberty Legacies: Danielle Corgan
A look into where one of Liberty’s alumni is at today
As we come to Liberty’s 10th year, the past students have gone on all different paths of life.
Liberty can also have a huge impact on the future on some students. Danielle Corgan was a part of the first graduating class. Her life was changed immensely by one of Liberty’s programs. She was part of the very first yearbook staff.
“Little did I know that joining yearbook would change my life and be the route to my career,” Corgan said.
Corgan found her love of photography through yearbook and eventually bought her own camera.
“Getting to hold such nice cameras made me feel like I was in heaven,” Corgan said.
Corgan eventually started her own photography business around sophomore/junior year. She has been running the business ever since and photographing people from all around the St. Charles and St. Louis areas. She has gained tons of popularity with her Instagram gaining more than 1,000 followers and having sessions booked up every season. Even many seniors around Liberty go to her for senior pics every year.
Aside from her business, her high school days were also spent a lot of time working on the yearbook.
“I loved everything about it, from interviewing to design,” Corgan remembers.
The local yearbook rep Dan Mueller from Herff Jones visited the staff quite a bit and noticed Corgan’s passion. They eventually asked her to join their team.
“I noticed her passion about yearbook from the first day I met her,” publications adviser Jonathan Hall said. “Danielle was the first student I met at Liberty when I was hired here in 2015. She helped to start to create the great energy and spirit we have in our program that still continues today.”
After high school, she interned with them all throughout college. After getting her degree, she got to work with them full time.
“I get to go to schools everyday and work with students who are passionate about the same things I am,” Corgan says.
Corgan’s younger sister, Rainie Corgan, is a junior currently at Liberty.
She tells how she has inspired her. “Danielle’s drive and passion for her photography reminds me that I am able to truly do what I want to do if you work hard enough for it just like she did.”
Corgan has certainly found her passion and is on a very exciting path in life.
Liberty Legacies: Mackenzie Murphy
A look into where one of Liberty’s alumni is today
Some Liberty alumni have gone to many places to find a career path in life. Mackenzie Murphy has been all around the country finding her passion in life. After graduating from Liberty, she went to attend St. Louis University in biology.
“I thought I wanted to pursue a biomedical path, but within my first couple years, I determined that my true passion was in conservation biology,” Murphy said.
Murphy went through many internships and ended up going to Wyoming doing interpretation and education at Devils Tower National Monument.
She also went to Arizona studying wildlife at Petrified Forest National Park.
However, after college she moved to Northern California to conduct owl surveys for a logging company.
“I figured out that I love science and the natural world, but if I can’t share that love, it’s not enough for me,” Murphy said.
She ended up moving to Colorado, working through AmeriCorps as a field instructor at an outdoor science school. The wilderness lab allows the sixth graders of the local district to come and learn.
“We bring them to our campus in the Unaweep Canyon, where they stay for three days and two nights, living and learning in the outdoors,” Murphy explains.
Murphy helps these kids live and learn in this beautiful area.
“It is truly remarkable to watch these kids transform as they connect deeply with themselves, each other, and the natural world around them,” Murphy expressed.
Murphy has earned her environmental educator certification in Colorado and plans to pursue a career in environmental education.
Murphy says English class had one of the biggest impacts on her. One lesson that truly inspired her was from the novel “Of Mice and Men.” A line that has stuck with her all this time is, “The best laid plans of mice and men oft go awry.” Murphy says she learned to not have a step by step plan and learned to let her life go awry.