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Family, Friends, and Photos: An Interview with Charlie Lukens ’24

A Senior Spotlight
Photographs by Charlie Lukens ’24

Most people don’t have any siblings who play D1 college sports, let alone two of them. 

But if someone did, you would probably think he would aim to play in college, too. 

Not for Charlie Lukens, a senior at St. Luke’s, however, who has traded scouting and showcases for family, friends, and photography.

Sure, he could have played college lacrosse, but a few years ago, he decided to rethink his future in the sport: “When I was younger, I definitely dreamt of playing in college like my older sister. I probably could have if I had continued playing, but I ended up quitting after my 8th grade season. I played all year round on numerous teams, but the pressure became too much for me,” Charlie explained.

He eventually decided to return to the field last year as a junior, which he attributed to an incredibly unique experience on a beach. But more on that later.

Growing Up

Charlie was born and raised in Westport, CT, and much like his older siblings, he attended Westport Elementary as a child. But when it came time to move on to middle school, he decided to switch to St. Luke’s. He explained that the decision “was hard, but I was really excited to make a change, so I went in with the right mindset.”

And he hasn’t looked back since.

“It was definitely a really great experience for me, just being able to connect with the teachers… and students here,” he added.

Family Matters

One of the first things Lukens mentioned about his family was how close they are to one another. Even though his older siblings are away at college, he said he always tries to call them or send them funny videos to stay in touch. Whenever he sees his younger brother in the SLS hallways, he makes sure to check in with him and say hi. 

To Charlie, it’s just how he was raised. “We’ve always been brought up to be a really tight-knight family, so I am always trying to keep in touch with them,” he said. He mentioned how he has family dinners every night so that no matter what everyone has done that day, they get to sit together and eat.

Given how close the Lukens family is, it makes sense that Charlie has tried to follow in the footsteps of his siblings, who have helped him navigate life as a high schooler. But one area where their help can only go so far?

For Charlie, it’s the college process. Since both of his older siblings got recruited, “they didn’t go through the college process like I’m going to go through it, so that’s where they kind of haven’t been able to help me.” But he’s not too worried. He’s excited to see what the next year and beyond will bring.

Outside of Class

When he’s on the Hilltop, Charlie always finds a way to stay busy. In the fall, he can be found on the sidelines of the Upper Field, where he serves as a manager for Varsity Field Hockey. He explains that he’s “basically there for morale,” given that he is in charge of hyping up the team before games, in addition to tasks like filling water bottles and keeping stats.

You might be wondering why Charlie chose to manage field hockey rather than pick up another fall sport. He explained, “I never really found that fall sport that I liked. Because I was doing soccer… or even did theater tech one year. So I just kind of floated around. So it was nice finding where I could somewhat be on the team and be with my friends because a lot of my friends are on the team.”

And his friends seem happy to have him be a part of the team, too.

Ava Mortimais, an SLS senior and Charlie’s best friend, who plays on the team, added, “He… always has our hype playlist ready. He also gets very into games and shows his support through his loud cheering. He knows how to make people laugh and always keeps subs entertained with jokes.”

In the spring, he can be found nearby on the football field, where he recently returned to playing lacrosse. Sure, it’s a much different feeling than managing, but he’s glad to be back.

“Once I felt a little more comfortable with myself,” Charlie added, “I knew I was ready to give it another shot, which I did last spring. I owe a lot of this to [my time at] the Island School.”

Island Views

During the summer before his Junior year, Charlie spent six weeks at the Island School in Eleuthera, Bahamas. His time there was incredibly meaningful to him and helped to shape his outlook on parts of his life. 

The most impactful word Charlie mentioned during our interview was “self-discovery”– that the trip allowed him to take time to think about what was truly important to him.

When it comes to lacrosse, it was the 40 hours he spent solo on a beach (with only a water bottle and a bag of food) that convinced him to pick the sport back up.

But more importantly, it was a tree in the ocean that gave an extra spark to his true passion.

Picture Perfect

Charlie’s love for photography started in middle school with sunsets. He mentioned that he has an artistic side, but that he’s not as good at drawing, painting, and the more tangible side of art. So, to him, photography was the perfect way to make use of that artistic ability. 

He signed up for Ms. Yankura’s Photography class in freshman year and has risen all the way through the ranks up to Advanced Art Practices: Senior Thesis. 

“She’s a really awesome teacher,” Charlie said. “She’s really taught me the ways of Photoshop and how you can put together a portfolio of different photos and write an artist’s statement.”

When asked about his favorite things to photograph, he laughed and said, “It’s kinda random.”

It’s clouds.

Charlie explained that “during sunsets, you can get cool, sort of abstract looking photos because you don’t really know what you´re going to get obviously, and all clouds are different. It’s kind of a fun, random thing to photograph.”

And no matter where he is, he always comes ready to take a photo if needed. “I try to bring my camera around as much as I can, so I can get those photos and them to a portfolio and be able to edit them when I get back to school,” Lukens said.

His favorite photo he has ever taken was the one below, titled “Eleuthera,” after the island he fell in love with after his six weeks there.

The original photo on the left was transformed into the final version on the right with the help of Photoshop.

Charlie explained, “Although it may be surprising to put such a colorful image in black and white, I thought that when in black and white, it emphasized the structure of the water and all the different shades of black in the sky.”

For Charlie, many of his photos have a deeper meaning. The island “was one of my favorite places on the planet, and it was extremely hard to say goodbye,” he remarked.


This is one of Charlie’s favorite photos. He submitted it to Wilton’s 2023 “Focus” exhibition and won 2nd place in the high school division. It’s easy to understand how his experiences at the Island School led to the creation of this piece, of which he is extremely proud.

Wrapping Up

Even when he’s not on the field, in the photo lab, or on a beach in the Bahamas, Charlie finds ways to positively impact St. Luke’s students and faculty. 

Ava Mortimais, his best friend, shared, “Having Charlie as a friend is a lot of fun. A lot of the time when we hang out together… We may just be sitting on his living room couch, but we always find something to laugh about.”

Charlie seems pretty happy to have struck a balance between school, family, friends, and extracurriculars in his life rather than just playing intense lacrosse all the time.

His favorite teacher and advisor, Ms. Clavelli, summed him up: “I will miss everything about Charlie when he graduates. He is funny, kind, and caring. He listens when you talk or offers advice but also tries to make others feel comfortable. He is just a good person.”

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