SPARTA In January, Luke LaChac, a Pope John senior, published his very first book, “17: Sky Illuminating.” LaChac, son of Mark and Colleen LaChac from Sparta has been working on his book since the middle of his sophomore year and was finally able to finish it and find a publisher. Now he is attending book signings at the Sparta Bookstore and on the path to success. LaChac was inspired to write his book after reading “The Outsiders” by S.E. Hinton. After finding out that the author was only 16 at the time she wrote the book, he said: “I thought if she can do it, I can do it.” He said he was further motivated by the change he saw going from a “public liberal school to a private conservative school.” He said, “The world to me flipped over and I guess the potential fire that is in everyone finally lit inside me.” After that he started writing down ideas in notebooks until finally organizing his thoughts into a fictional story. “It was my turn to be a new voice in all those beliefs,” he said; however, his own personal beliefs do not reflect those of the main character. When he first started writing the book, he wrote at night after finishing homework and would stay up late sometimes to work on it. “I tried to maintain good grades,” he said, “because that was the most important thing at the time.” When he finished the book, “I felt like it was one of the greatest accomplishments in my life and I was extremely happy,” he said. His parents knew he was working on a book, but were surprised just like his friends that he had finished it. “My parents were always supportive and so was my girlfriend. She even helped me edit the book.” LaChac spent five or six months finding a publisher, and was turned down many times. Finally, he found Northshire books in Vermont, which offered to publish his work. Besides writing, LaChac is also actively involved in the Pope John community. He ran in spring and fall track, and cross country for all four years, is an active member in clubs, sings in the a cappella group and was in this year’s school play. He is a dedicated member of Search, a student-run program that makes students aware of the importance of God and human relationships in their lives. Next fall he will be attending Seton Hall University.