Acclaimed rock 'n' roll guitarist and Libertyville High School graduate Tom Morello took time from his 30th high school reunion schedule last month to meet with students at his alma mater.
Following a scheduled homecoming assembly at the school, Morello met with fine arts students and members of the school staff in the same auditorium in which he performed during his high school years.
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Morello, who walked to the school from his mother's home in Libertyville, spoke about growing up in the village, the acting he did at Libertyville High and his life as a musician.
He also left ample time for questions from the audience, as well as photos with student groups.
Morello, a 1982 LHS graduate, is best known for his tenure with the bands Rage Against the Machine and Audioslave. He's also performed as a solo act and with the Street Sweeper Social Club.
Morello, who began his musical career as a French horn player at Highland Middle School in Libertyville, did not remain in the horn section for very long. Students laughed when he noted, "There were four French horns, and I was fourth chair."
Following his less-than-successful middle school band experience, Morello decided music was not for him, and pursued his interest in theater when he entered Libertyville High.
Students were thrilled to meet Morello at the recent gathering.
"Meeting Tom Morello was a really cool experience," junior Griffin Kambol said. "He's such a down-to-earth guy. He is a true role model and very inspirational for anyone who wants to be successful in life."
Staff members, including many who were fans of Morello's early bands or were his teachers at Libertyville High, also enjoyed the opportunity to hear him speak.
"It was very inspiring to have Tom talk to the LHS community about his journey," noted LHS Fine Arts Department Supervisor Dustin Helvie.
"It was a great opportunity for the students to ask questions of this successful musical icon. Tom was very gracious at the end of the event to sign autographs, take pictures and visit with our students."