Celebrating 19 Years as Barrington’s Signature Magazine

Celebrating Barrington High School Alumni

Barrington 220 Director of Communications Samantha Scheinman caught up with six Barrington High School alumni who are doing amazing things and credit their teachers and coaches for encouraging and inspiring personal achievement

Written by Lisa Stamos

Photography By Linda M. Barrett

Cynthia Rowley at her studio in New York City in 2018.

Steven Farag wishes Barrington High School’s nationally-recognized Business INCubator program was available when he was a student. “Some of the best ideas these days are coming from 17- and 18-year-olds,” Farag said. “I would have been all over that program!”

Farag’s entrepreneurial light bulb moment came a couple of years after graduating from BHS. It was winter break during his sophomore year at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, and he was on a family vacation in Mexico. “I was super bored and being a brat of a college student who didn’t want to hang out with my family,” Farag said.

Instead, he stayed up an entire night tinkering around on Photoshop. He began designing festive T-shirts to wear for the upcoming Unofficial St. Patrick’s Day celebrations at the U of I and building a website for his apparel. Little did Farag know, years later his work would end up catching the attention of billionaire entrepreneur Mark Cuban.

Farag is CEO and Co-Founder of Campus Ink, a merch platform built for students and athletes providing apparel for universities, fraternities, and sororities. The initial concept rolled into motion when Farag returned to the U of I in January 2012, after that family winter break trip. He showed his fraternity brothers some of his St. Patrick’s Day-themed designs and they jumped on board, helping to market the clothing across campus through word of mouth and social media. “Our first year it did pretty well, to the point where I was like ‘holy cow, this could be something.’”

As the demand for his merchandise increased across campus, Farag joked about forming a business partnership with the owners of Campus Sportswear, the tiny mom-and-pop print shop in Champaign where he had his T-shirts made. “I got to know them really well because I was this college kid putting in massive St. Patrick’s Day orders and we would joke every year about me buying out the place.”

By the time Farag graduated from the U of I, his side hustle had made him enough money to pay for his entire college education. On the day he graduated in 2014, he bought into Campus Sportswear. One of the owners, Jedd Swisher, is still his business partner today. “He taught me everything I know about printing and he gave me the tools to be successful,” Farag said.

Fast-forward to 2021. Farag’s business is taking off across college campuses and the company is operating out of a 15,000-square-foot production facility in Urbana. When a law went into effect that allows student-athletes to profit from their names, images, and likenesses (NIL), a student who was working with Farag managed to get the U of I men’s basketball team on board. The team ended up making more than $100,000 during the 2021-22 season through merchandise sold by Campus Ink. “I then thought to myself, how do we replicate this elsewhere? And that’s when I decided to contact Mark Cuban,” Farag said.

He emailed the billionaire investor on a Friday night with the subject line “We’re doing this in Champaign, IL and it’s working”. Cuban, who is notorious for responding to business ideas from strangers, sent him a message back, and by the next morning, he had made Farag an offer. “I love the initiative Steven and Campus Ink have taken to fill the needs of student-athletes,” Cuban shared with Barrington 220 in an email. “They are always looking to improve and to make their partners more profitable. That’s a powerful combination!”

Farag says he never would have expected to be venture-backed by Mark Cuban at the age of 31. Since then, Campus Ink has partnered with more than 40 schools across the country and empowered thousands of student-athletes to earn industry-leading payments on their NIL merchandise. The company has even joined forces with Meta to enhance merchandise sales for some of the top athletes around the country. For Farag, the success is more than a decade in the making. “I’m super grateful and we’re just getting started.”

As Chairman and CEO of Cboe Global Markets, Ed Tilly (BHS ‘81) is constantly on the go, traveling to cities all over the world. Within the first three months of 2023, he had already made trips to Singapore, Tokyo, London, and Amsterdam. Cboe Global Markets, or pronounced “see-boh” for short, is one of the world’s largest exchange operators, running 26 financial markets across North America, Europe, and Asia Pacific.

“We have operations around the globe and it’s great to have that connection with people in this post-pandemic world,” Tilly said. “But no place compares to Barrington. Barrington is home.”

Tilly’s family moved to Barrington in 1972 from Flossmoor, Illinois. He spent his childhood playing baseball and football and learning about the great outdoors. When he entered Barrington High School he continued to pursue athletics by running track. On the academic side, he enjoyed English class thanks to Dale Griffith, a beloved former BHS teacher.

When it came time to pursue a future career path, he initially wasn’t sure which direction he wanted to go. After graduation, he attended a small liberal arts college in Michigan for a couple of years, before transferring to Northwestern University, where he took an interest in economics. It was during his college years that he began to appreciate his upbringing in Barrington. “I was exposed to experiences, whether academic or extracurricular, that most kids don’t experience until college,” Tilly said. “The opportunities I had in Barrington 220 allowed me to learn and grow as a person.”

Once he earned his degree, Tilly moved to the city, and in 1987 he began working on the trading floor of the Cboe as a clerk. But he couldn’t stay away from Barrington for long. In 1992, he and his wife Jennifer moved back home to raise their two children. They became reacquainted with the community through their kids’ involvement in sports and Barrington 220 schools, as well as their involvement with a local charity and their church. Tilly also served as a Trustee on the Barrington 220 Educational Foundation, helping to bring various projects to fruition such as the physics playground at BHS.

“A lot changed between the time I left for college and when I moved back to Barrington in the early ’90s,” Tilly said. “There was a lot of development along Highway 59.” Today, Tilly loves how the Barrington area appeals to a wide range of families. “It has a little bit of everything. There’s the countryside in Barrington Hills, the newer construction in South Barrington, and more of a traditional feel in the village.”

Despite the growth and his global travels, he says his connection and affinity to the Barrington area has remained strong through the years. “When you’re a teenager you sometimes want to get out of a small town, but the memories I made here are very positive. There is still that community feel.”

When she was a student at Barrington High School, one of Anna Werner’s first jobs was working as a bagger at a grocery store in town. When she asked why she wasn’t getting promoted to cashier like all the other girls, they told her she didn’t smile enough. She laughs about it today because her serious side serves her well.

As the National Consumer Investigative Correspondent for CBS News, Werner breaks major news stories, which have earned her more than 30 Emmy Awards, a duPont-Columbia Award, George Foster Peabody Award, and RTNDA Edward R. Murrow Award. “A lot of it is driven by my personality,” Werner said. “You tell me what’s happening, you tell me how it happened, but I want to know WHY it happened, and ‘why’ is the question that helps you find the story.”

She’s at her best when she’s digging deep, trying to find the information that someone else is trying to keep a secret. One of her most memorable investigations happened when she was a reporter at the CBS affiliate in Houston, Texas. She broke a story about defective Firestone tires on Ford Explorers, which led to the largest worldwide tire recall in history. “The thing that sticks with me the most about that story is that people would come up to me and tell me that I might have saved their lives because they went to go get their tires checked after seeing the story,” Werner said. “It makes the hairs stand up on the back of your neck because you really feel like you made a difference.”

Growing up in Barrington

Werner’s interest in the news business wasn’t obvious at first, though there were signs from a young age. She moved to Barrington when she was in elementary school, beginning her Barrington 220 journey at Arnett C. Lines Elementary. As a kid, she was an avid reader of the Barrington Courier-Review. “I would read it cover to cover,” Werner said. “I always wanted to know what was going on.”

As a student at Barrington High School, like any deadline-driven reporter, she would often write her English papers the period before they were due. “I was always in awe of Anna’s writing skills,” said Jeanne Morgan, Werner’s former classmate, who currently works as a Multilingual Specialist at Station Campus. “I would slave over papers the entire weekend and she would write her papers in the cafeteria the morning they were due and get an A!”

Still, Werner didn’t pinpoint news as a potential career path until after high school. Instead, at BHS she found a sense of belonging by getting involved in band, choir, and theater. “The teachers who I had in the arts were so amazing,” Werner said. “They got you engaged and excited about learning.”

One teacher she’ll never forget is her choir teacher, the late Phil Mark. “He had unsurpassed energy and a wicked sense of humor,” Werner said. Mark and his wife were tragically killed in a car accident. To this day, Werner still tears up when thinking about the memorial service that she and her fellow choir students attended on the front lawn at BHS. “He really cared about and loved all the people around him, including all of us high school students.”

“I love coming back to Barrington”

When Werner reflects on her educational experience today, she realizes how lucky she was to attend a school district that had such a dedicated staff, significant resources, as well as alumni, and parental support. “There’s a story that I covered while I was reporting in Houston that I’ll remember forever,” Werner said. We interviewed a very bright young woman who came from a low-income family and who was facing a lot of challenges in her life, so she dropped out of school.” During the interview, Werner asked the girl what her dream had been. She told her she wanted to be a doctor. “And I remember thinking at the time, what a waste,” Werner said. “Here was this woman who, if she had the advantages and the resources that I had as a student in Barrington, she probably would have been a doctor.”

Werner has come across many kids in a similar situation, while working as a reporter through the years in Illinois, Indiana, Texas, California, and now as a national correspondent. It makes her appreciate her upbringing in Barrington. While she currently splits her time between the East and West Coasts, Werner loves returning to the village, where her family still lives. “I love coming back to Barrington. It’s still home to me. I wish I could spend more time there.”

When Kim Scanlan designs clothes and accessories for American Girl dolls, her muse is her 7-year-old self.

“Seven-year-old Kim would be floored! She would fall out of her chair if she knew she would one day be designing for American Girl,” Scanlan said. “If I’m making that little girl proud, then I’m doing something right.”

Scanlan is a Senior Product Designer at American Girl, where she has worked since 2019. She primarily designs for the Truly Me brand, which is the company’s contemporary line of clothing and dolls. Most recently, she designed the outfits for American Girl’s newest historical characters, Isabel & Nicki. “I work a lot on trend research and then I sketch out different designs.”

Her passion for fashion and drawing started when she was a student at Arnett C. Lines Elementary. “I had a sketchbook and I would draw fashion for hours. There were always colored pencils all over my bedroom.” She was inspired by the outfits of actors and characters from the Disney Channel, Nickelodeon, and in movies like “Legally Blonde.”

“I remember thinking it would be really cool to one day work as a fashion designer.” When Scanlan was a middle school student at Station Campus she entered a fashion illustration contest for Discovery Girls magazine. She ended up winning the contest.

During her sophomore year at Barrington High School, she enrolled in her first fashion class with now-retired teacher Carla Darlington. Ms. Darlington provided opportunities for Scanlan and her classmates to enter fashion contests through Harper College. By the time she graduated from BHS, Scanlan had already won several awards. “That was like the kickstart to everything because I was no longer just sketching,” Scanlan said. “I was actually making dresses and coats. High school really confirmed for me that this is what I wanted to do.”

When she graduated in 2011 she enrolled at Harper, studying fashion and illustration. Her sophomore year she transferred to Kent State in Ohio, where she majored in fashion design. “It’s an understatement how much my high school classes helped me,” Scanlan said. When I got to college I met a lot of students who didn’t have fashion programs at their high school. Some of them didn’t even know how to sew.”

After securing a job straight out of college at Weissman, a costume and dancewear design company based in St. Louis, Scanlan went on to work as an Assistant Designer at Claire’s headquarters in Hoffman Estates. Then, in 2019, she was hired at American Girl. Her full circle moment came in 2021 when she went with her mom, current Grove Avenue teacher Debbie Scanlan, to visit the American Girl store in downtown Chicago. “When I was a student at Lines, I did Girl Scouts and one day we visited the American Girl store. I was overwhelmed by how beautiful everything was,” Scanlan said. “In 2021, I went back to the store with my mom and saw little girls looking at dolls wearing the designs I created. It was incredible!”

Looking back at her time in Barrington 220, Scanlan says all of the opportunities really created sparks of confidence in her. “When you try something new it’s a spark and all of those sparks created a fire in me. They made me who I am today and I’m so grateful to be a part of this community and district.”

Every student has that one teacher, or that one coach who makes a long-lasting impact. For Aaron Reed, that person is Todd Kuklinski, better known as Coach K. “He took me under his wing and helped me see the potential I had,” Reed said.

Reed and his family moved to the Barrington area from a neighboring district when he was in middle school. “As a Black kid coming to what was then a predominantly white school, it was a tough transition,” Reed said. “The thing that helped me was getting heavily involved in sports.”

At Station Campus, he played basketball and ran track. At BHS he played basketball and football, but to his surprise, it was his athletic abilities in track that would end up earning him a college scholarship. “My wide receivers coach for football, Coach K, mentioned to me during my junior year that he thought I had some potential in the long jump,” Reed said.

At the time, Reed had never participated in the long jump and didn’t even own a pair of jumping spikes. “Coach K actually gave me a pair of spikes and started talking to me about what it might look like if I wanted to compete in college,” Reed said. He ended up taking 9th place at the state meet that year.

When Coach K suggested Reed should also try the triple jump, he heeded the advice. His senior year he took 2nd place in the long jump and 4th place in the triple jump at the state meet, setting the school record for both jumps. Reed says it would have never happened if it wasn’t for Coach K’s unwavering faith in him.

“I remember heading into the sectional meet, right before the state meet my senior year,” Reed said. “I was in the last grouping for the long jump and we were seeing some pretty good jumps from other guys. Right before I went, I looked up at Coach K and he put up a two and a four with his fingers. I had never jumped 24 feet before, but I thought to myself, ‘If he thinks I can do it, then I think I can do it.’ I ended up jumping 24’1/2”, which is still the school record today.”

After being named Co-Male Athlete of the Year his senior year at BHS, Reed accepted a scholarship to the University of Iowa, where he was primarily a long jumper and short sprinter. He describes his experience at Iowa as one that was riddled with injuries and underwhelming performances. But after graduation, Coach K was once again there to lift him up. “I knew I didn’t want to sit in an office all day and I wanted to help athletes,” Reed said. “He asked me to return to BHS to work as a full-time track coach.”

“Aaron is an easy guy to root for,” said Kuklinski, who still works at BHS as a social studies teacher and coach. “He is honest, loyal, and extremely hard-working. Those are the main reasons I asked him to come back and help coach our student-athletes. He was a great coach, but as a person he is top-notch.”

During his time as a coach at BHS, Reed worked with a student who went on to win the state title in the triple jump, breaking Reed’s own school record. “If an athlete is put in a situation that helps showcase his or her talents, and the coach believes in that athlete and encourages him or her even when things aren’t going well, I truly believe that’s the difference between an athlete having a mediocre athletic career versus an amazing career, or even going pro.”

The more he worked with athletes, the more he realized he wanted to make a career out of it. In 2011, he opened ASAP Fitness in Wheeling, where he provides elite and personalized athletic training to high school, collegiate, and pro athletes. “I say to my athletes all the time, ‘No one cares. Work harder. Just be great,” Reed said. He teaches them not to worry about the things they can’t control, to set small goals, to attack the goals, and to believe that the process will work. But perhaps the most important part of his job is getting his clients to believe in their own potential.

“I owe a lot to Coach K and his belief in my potential. I wouldn’t be in the position I’m in today without him.”

For Cynthia Rowley, growing up in Barrington resembled a John Hughes movie. “I had the best, most idyllic childhood. I remember going to Langendorf Park in the summer, the parades, and the Catlow,” Rowley said. “It was exactly what you would imagine a childhood in the Midwest to be.”

Her mother, who still lives in the house she grew up in, was an artist and her father worked as an elementary school teacher. He was working at Roslyn Road Elementary when she attended kindergarten there. “I saw him in the hallway once and I started shouting ‘Dad! Dad!’ because I was so excited to see him at school. When I got home that night, he said ‘If you see me in the halls, I need you to call me Mr. Rowley,’” she remembers with a chuckle.

As a little girl, she wasn’t really into fashion. In fact, her first venture with fashion design had little to do with aesthetics and trends. “My mom gave me a piece of fabric and said it would keep me out of trouble during the summer,” Rowley remembers.

She ended up using the fabric to make her first skirt and shirt set, using a piece of her mother’s clothesline to create a belt that completed the look. “I remember placing the fabric on the ground and tracing around myself like a crime scene, then sewing it all together,” Rowley said. She was just 7 years old.

Her sewing adventures continued in middle school. “When I was in 6th grade, I would go to these dances at the park district and I always made myself something elaborate to wear,” Rowley said. “Everyone wanted to dress like everyone else, but I didn’t have the money to buy all those turtlenecks and corduroy jeans.”

What started as a way to have something unique to wear without spending a lot of money, soon turned into a passion. “I really liked the creative process involved in putting an outfit together and there weren’t a lot of distractions when I was growing up, so it was easier to pursue creative endeavors.”

When high school rolled around, she joined the Barrington High School marching band. But for Rowley, the music was secondary. “I just wanted to wear the uniforms!”

She honed her artistic skills, by taking classes such as painting, metalworking, woodworking, and photography. She also remembers taking a social studies class that instilled a sense of curiosity in her. “I didn’t travel as a kid. I didn’t leave the United States until after college. This class introduced me to all these cultures and it sparked my interest in the history of different countries,” Rowley said. Little did Rowley know at the time, she would one day have the opportunity to visit many of those countries as the leader of her global lifestyle brand.

After high school graduation, Rowley had a brief stint at Arizona State University, before transferring to the Art Institute of Chicago with plans to become an artist like her mother. She soon realized she didn’t like the isolation she felt as a solo artist and began to crave a more social endeavor that required teamwork. At the suggestion of her roommate, she decided to combine her sewing and drawing skills and transferred to the fashion department. “That’s when I really started going gangbusters,” Rowley recalls. “I was designing the craziest stuff.”

One outfit, in particular, got her kicked out of her junior-year fashion show. “It was this giant silver puffer coat, with silver pants, and a hat with wings on it,” Rowley said. “It didn’t seem crazy to me, but they thought it was too much and kept trying to make me compromise.” Unwilling to do so, she finally told them not to put her in the show.

The following year she won the school’s Cornelia Steckl Fashion Scholarship and Rowley didn’t waste any time in pursuing her dreams. She packed a U-haul, drove to New York City, and got her first apartment on Varick Street. “I took that apartment because I thought it was 7th Avenue, a.k.a ‘Fashion Avenue’ since 7th Avenue turns into Varick Street,” Rowley said with a laugh.

Three weeks after moving to New York City she had a runway show and invited every fashion insider she could think of. She was surprised when people actually showed up. “Women’s Wear Daily ended up writing about my collection and that was sort of the beginning.”

Today, Rowley still lives in New York City, leading her brand, which redefines the boundaries of fashion. Her pieces exude the same spontaneous and rebellious spirit she had as a young girl growing up in Barrington, wearing elaborate outfits to the park district dances. “I think it’s important that people try to be as authentic as possible,” Rowley said. “Be an original in everything you do because in the end, that’s what will make you stand out.”

Samantha and Scott Scheinman

Samantha Scheinman is the director of communications for Barrington 220. She grew up in nearby Buffalo Grove and attended Stevenson High School. After high school, she studied journalism and Spanish at Northwestern University. She worked for several years as a TV news reporter at NBC affiliates in Illinois, Arizona, and Texas before joining Barrington 220 in 2017. In 2020, she returned to Northwestern part-time to pursue a master’s degree in integrated marketing communications, which she will complete this winter. Samantha and her husband, Scott, were married on Nantucket in June 2022. They reside in Northbrook.

Lisa Stamos is the founder of Quintessential Media Group and the publisher of Quintessential Barrington magazine. She may be reached at lisa@qbarrington.com.

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