McHenry County natives to appear on 'The Bachelor'

Two McHenry County natives are among those vying for the heart of “The Bachelor” when the ABC reality show premieres at 7 p.m. Jan. 5.

Amanda Goerlitz, 24, of Lake in the Hills, and Trina Scherenberg, 33, an Algonquin native and former special education teacher for Crystal Lake South High School, have been revealed as two of 30 contestants on this season’s show featuring Chris Soules. Soules, a farmer from Iowa, was sent home on the last season of “The Bachelorette.”

He was dismissed after he emotionally confessed his love to “The Bachelorette’s” Andi Dorfman. On “The Bachelor,” he’ll try to find love again.

Not allowed to share any details of the outcome of the show, which has completed its roughly six weeks of filming, Goerlitz said she was happy to be home and back at work at the Judith Svalander School of Ballet in Crystal Lake.

“For right now, I think I’m very content being home, as far as being on TV anymore goes,” she said. “It was a great experience. My life is here, and this is where my family is, and I’m going to focus on me.”

She and Scherenberg realized they are from the same area while chatting on the show. Scherenberg taught special education for District 155 from 2008 until last year, District 155 spokesman Jeff Puma said. She since has moved to San Clemente, California

On “The Bachelor” website, she said she is proud of the two master’s degrees she earned, including a literacy arts degree from Northern Illinois University and a Master of Arts in teaching from National Louis University. She earned her bachelor’s degree in communications-public relations from Purdue University.

While teaching at Crystal Lake South, Scherenberg was a sponsor of a Best Buddies program, which helps young people with disabilities grow socially and make friends by matching them with peer buddies. The students have lunch together and go on outings and such. In a 2013 Northwest Herald story about the program, Scherenberg’s students joined South football players on the field for the national anthem at a home football game.

She was quoted as saying, “When they’re working together and [the special-education students] get excited just to say ‘hi,’ it puts things in perspective for kids without disabilities. It teaches them how important friendship is. Friendship is very important, but we take it for granted.”

Goerlitz, who also works with her children in her ballet teaching job, said meeting Scherenberg during taping helped her feel more at ease.

Since being home, she said she has been recognized a bit at public. “It’s very weird for me. I don’t feel like a celebrity,” she said.

Along with teaching ballet, Goerlitz holds the Miss Windy City 2014 title and has competed in several other pageants, including Miss McHenry County Fair years ago, according to news reports. She was Miss Northern Illinois 2013 and first runner-up for Miss Illinois 2014.

She said she auditioned for the show after a friend’s mother suggested it.

“I’m 24. I think it’s really great to take any opportunity thrown your way,” she said. “It was like, ‘Why not? I’ll do it.’ ”

A 2008 graduate of Huntley High School, she has a Bachelor of Arts in public relations from Western Illinois University with a minor in dance, and she previously has performed the role of the Dew Drop Fairy in the Judith Svalander Dance Theatre’s production of “The Nutcracker.”

Judith Svalander taught Goerlitz for about 15 years before she headed off to college.

“She’s a wonderful ballerina, a beautiful dancer,” Svalander said, “and she’s come back and helped out. ... She’s been my personal assistant and office manager, and she’s just a jack-of-all-trades. She’s amazing. She’s probably one day going to have her own school.

“She’s not only beautiful, but she’s a really smart gal, I’ll tell ya,” she said.

Svalander encouraged Goerlitz to pursue a wide array of interests, including her appearance on “The Bachelor,” and Goerlitz is thankful for that. Along with teaching, she said she’s been able to focus on the business side of the school.

“I learn something new at my job every day,” said Goerlitz, who would like to run her own ballet school one day. “I love working there. Being there is amazing. I get to work with such talented people.”

When asked whether she thought the reality television show would bring attention to her school, Svalander said, “It could. It could. It all depends on Chris ‘The Bachelor,’ what he wants. It’s certainly exciting.”

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