High school is a change most everyone goes through. Some live the party life while others bury their noses in books. Adry Mendoza, a freshman here, had a rough start to her high school career, but ended strong. Her experiences and hardships here, have made her into the person she is today.
Starting high school scared Mendoza more than anything. Not only did most of her friends not stay in contact with her over the summer, but everything was such a big change in such a short time.
“I didn’t have many friends coming into high school because most of them changed over the summer. I spent my lunches alone at a table, and even sometimes in a bathroom stall. I remember thinking this was going to be permanent,” Mendoza said.
Many of the people around her noticed her quietness too. According to a friend of Mendoza, Kaylynn Smith, Mendoza was never this quiet during her middle school life.
“It’s like a switch turned off at the beginning of the year. She wasn’t the same, and it seemed like she was going to stay this way,” Smith said.
Mendoza was going down a path towards loneliness, becoming antisocial, and only focused on school and grades. Then, her mother convinced her to join waterpolo, a not well known sport but coached by one of Mendoza’s old friends, Sean Taylor.
“I was scared at first. I didn’t know anyone at the time, and I had never played before. The only thing that made it bearable was Sean. He used to be my swim coach years ago,” Mendoza said.
She started to open up, bonding with her teammates and coach. With practice everyday, she could rely on them to be around and help her with any problems she had.
“At first she was really quiet, but after a few days she opened up to all of us, and she was such a great teammate to have. We were always there to support her whenever she had troubles with peers or school,” Sarah Triplet, a senior on the team, said.
Not only did Mendoza join waterpolo, but also a club at the high school called the Gay-Straight Alliance club. She learned to work well with even more people, learning other’s points of view on life, and bonding with a new group of people.
“I was told joining a club was the best thing to do in high school, and I couldn’t have found a better one than GSA. I learned to open up about my bi-sexuality and not feel embaressed about it. I was finally beginning to feel accepted,” Mendoza said.
Mendoza also was apart of the journalism 1-2 class. Here she watched the movie Shattered Glass, which showed her the importance of truth and reliability.
“I learned the effect of libel in a paper, and how it can shatter not only that one person’s reputation, but also that of the staff,” Mendoza said.
J1-2 also participated in an activity called the Tarp game. In the duration of this activity, Mendoza learned to put her trust in others, and collaborate with her fellow peers.
“I felt comfortable with everyone around me because I knew that if I fell, they would pick me right back up, literally,” Mendoza said, laughing.
Learning key terms of journalism such as nut graphs, ledes, libel, and many other key vocabulary expanded Mendoza’s knowledge of the journalism world. A world she hardly knew existed.
“I knew about journalism in the adult world but I never knew how important it was to the community and how much work was put into each article,” Mendoza said.
Throughout the year, Mendoza continued to be apart of the school and make an impact on everyone around her. Although Mendoza was kept very busy between after school meetings and before school practices, she never forgot to keep up grades as well.
“Grades were always in my top priorities. As long as I kept up the grades, I could continue doing everything I was doing in the school,” Mendoza said.
Ending the year with a 3.8 GPA, Mendoza not only proved to her parents that she could stay involved while keeping up grades, but she also proved to herself that nothing is permanent and high school is just another necessary step into achieving success as an adult.
Not everyone has the same high school experience as others but Mendoza wants others to learn from her experience.
“To have the best high school experience, my advice would be to go out, get involved, keep up the grades, and never forget yourself. Don’t lose yourself in the crowd, but rather stand out as an individual, and shine bright. It’s never too late to reach for the stars, and it’s never too late to accomplish your goals,” Mendoza says.