Student Spotlight: Yannick Leusink

By Cady Kuzmich/Gazette Reporter
Yannick Leusink stands in his mother's General Store in Vischer Ferry, Thursday May 5.By Cady Kuzmich/Gazette Reporter Yannick Leusink stands in his mother's General Store in Vischer Ferry, Thursday May 5.

By Cady Kuzmich
Gazette Reporter

Vischer Ferry — Yannick Leusink, sophomore at Shenendehowa, is a forward thinking kid. While he isn’t quite sure what he’d like to be when he grows up, or where he’d like to go to college, he’d like to eventually go to school in Europe since it’s more affordable.

His parents, Anouk Booneman and Gert Leusink, came to the states from The Netherlands decades ago, following employment opportunities.

When the 14-year-old isn’t busy with soccer practice, saxophone lessons or homework, he might be found scrubbing dishes at the Vischer Ferry General Store. His mom, Anouk, is the co-owner and chef at the new village staple. Booneman previously worked at the Omega Institute for Holistic Studies in Rhinebeck as a chef. She also taught French and Dutch.

Yannick’s father, Gert, works at Tokyo Electron in Albany. “They make the tools that make computer chips,” Leusink explained.

On the soccer field, Yannick plays center back. He used to run long distance events in track to keep in shape for soccer throughout the year, but gave it up after sustaining a knee injury.

He and his parents moved to the historic village of Vischer Ferry four years ago from downstate near Poughkeepsie. Leusink, an only child, wasn’t too excited about the move at the time since it meant leaving his childhood friends behind. Now, in hindsight, Leusink feels good about the move. “I like it here,” he said, sitting in the window seat of his mother’s shop.

His favorite subject in school is science. He’s most interested in genetics because, he said, “You can change the way things are.”

He also recently attended his first concert, well, his first non-classical concert. He and his mom went to the Upstate Concert Hall May 4 to catch indie-pop sensation BØRNS.

He loves reading historical fiction and fantasy, though he isn’t especially enthused about English class.

Thanks to his parents and their annual trips back to the Netherlands, Leusink said he can understand Dutch.

In 10 years Leusink suspects he’ll probably be broke, “if I got to college here.” He added, “10 years — that’s a lifetime away.”

Q&A with Yannick Leusink:

Q: What’s your favorite movie?
A: The Usual Suspects with Kevin Spacey. It has a twist — an unexpected ending.

Q: What are you most proud of?
A: I don’t think I’ve lived long enough to be proud of something.

Q: Is there a specific goal you’re working towards accomplishing in the next few years?
A: Getting through high school.

Q: Who or what has had the greatest influence on who you are today?
A: My mother, of course. She’s a great role model.

Q: Do you have a favorite teacher?
A: Mrs. Kenny, my biology teacher.

Q: What are your thoughts on the presidential race?
A: Comedy show. Something to laugh at. The way this ends up will change the way of politics in America for a long time. It will be either very far left or very far right. How do you classify Trump? You can’t tell what’s going to happen. I have a very European view of things. Many European countries are socialist. Bernie says he’s socialist. I like his stance on free education and health care. They may not work but they are good ideas.

Q: If you could travel anywhere, where would you like to go?
A: Egypt. I want to see the pyramids. Or Greece. Somewhere warm. I’m done with winter. I want sun.

Q: Where have you had the chance to travel?
A: The Netherlands, Germany, Costa Rica, Japan, France, Spain and Canada.

Q: How are the Netherlands different from the states?
A: It’s flat, windy, cold. Very different. There are more bikes than cars. In the Netherlands, every inch counts so if you get in someone’s space, they’ll let you know.