By Michael Sullivan
With students traveling to Loyola from over 220 different zip codes, it is inevitable that some Cubs travel extensive distances to get to and from school each day.
Loyola Alum Jay Heinen ‘13 is one student who made a commute of 65 miles from his house in Riverside to the Loyola campus. Each day, Heinen would spend nearly 4 to 5 hours traveling via public transit.
A football player for four years, Heinen chose to take the Metrolink and municipal bus as his methods of transportation so that he could use the time spent traveling to complete homework and study. “Sleep was one thing I did not get a lot of. I would spend some bus rides sleeping and others doing homework. I found myself falling asleep a lot in class,” Heinen said.
Despite the long commute, Heinen knew Loyola was the right school for him because he “had been in love with Loyola his whole life.” Moreover, Heinen was the fourth generation–– and the 16th male––in his family to attend the institution.
“My family and I didn’t think it was possible at first, but we made it work. We had a system going that made it possible for me to go to Loyola,” Heinen said.
However, Heinen was not the last student to travel extensive distances to school on a daily basis.
Sophomore Thomas Vanis––in addition to his older brother senior Richard Vanis–– is another student who makes a long commute. Newport Beach residents, the Vanis brothers travel approximately 50 miles to and from school every day. Their drive can take an entire hour without traffic and can reach up to 90 minutes with traffic.
Thomas, a football player, can spend up to 15 hours away from home daily during football season; he said, “I’ll wake up most mornings around 4:15, and I’ll get home around 8 during the season.”
As a result of his long daily commute, Thomas has learned valuable time management skills. He said, “I’ll usually do homework or study in the car or catch up on other things to lighten my workload.”
Despite his early-morning departures and late-night arrivals, Thomas said he chose to go to Loyola since “it seemed to be the best option for high school because of its great track record of academics and athletics.”
Freshman Harry Culhane is another student who travels a long distance to and from school every day. Living in the westernmost portion of Malibu, his house is nearly 35 miles from Loyola.
His drive can take up to 90 minutes depending on the level of traffic, and he normally wakes up between 5 and 5:30 a.m. each morning.
Like Vanis, Culhane plays football, and he also participates in high jump for track. He too feels that his participation in these sports, coupled with his long commute times, has helped him “learn to time manage and work effectively.”
Regardless of the long commute, Culhane said that “the legacy and reputation of the school, as well as the great programs offered, made me want to come here.”
Similarly, junior Isaiah Del Rosario makes a lengthy commute between school and his house each day. A Valencia resident, Del Rosario lives 40 miles away from Loyola.
By car, his commute can take between 1 hour and 1 hour, 45 minutes; however, Isaiah used to ride the Metrolink, a process that would take two hours.
Like Vanis, Del Rosario can spend up to 16 hours away from school. A member of the rowing team in Marina Del Rey, he usually arrives home around 9 p.m. nightly.
Similar to his traveling colleagues, Del Rosario has learned to manage his time very effectively as a result of his long commute. “It took me a long time to manage my normal school, athletic, and social life while having to deal with less sleep and free time,” he said.
Del Rosario committed to Loyola despite his extensive commute because he believes that Loyola offers programs and activities that make the loss of sleep and time worth the sacrifice; in fact, he said, “Loyola is an opportunity that a lot of people only wish they could have.”
Another group of students who make a long commute are the Larsons, who live in Upland, a municipality approximately 40 miles from Loyola.
Senior Joseph Larson drives himself and his two brothers, Brendan ‘17 and Patrick ‘19, to school. The commute usually takes between 1 hour, 15 minutes to 2 hours both ways; however, this method of getting to school was not always the case for Joseph, who spent his freshman year as a Cub taking the train and bus. Altogether, this commute would take a minimum of 2 hours, 30 minutes, and it could reach up to 3 hours when the buses were off schedule.
In regards to his commute, Joseph said, “the biggest challenge is maintaining good time management. On average, I lose about 15 hours a week driving that could be spent studying or focusing on extracurriculars.”
Despite the long commute, all three Larsons participate in extracurricular activities, such as JCL and football, and Joseph stated that many late nights have occurred as a result.
In affirming his decision to attend Loyola, Joseph said, “Loyola is undoubtedly a very special school for a number of reasons. I really can’t single any one thing out; there’s just something about it that is very welcoming, even to people in the next county over.”