The Magnet Tribune

Four years of high school through four students

Zoe Alvarez, Staff writer

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High school, a place where students go for education. That’s not all — high school is a place where people begin to discover who they really are, learn and experience new things, and a place where memories are made.

Whether you finished high school years ago or just getting started, here is what four years of high school is like through four students.

Freshmen Year

Krista Lopez is a freshman who attends J.W. Nixon High School. She also attends the Vidal M. Trevino School of Communications and Fine Arts.

Krista Lopez, a freshman at J.W. Nixon High School.

To Krista, beginning high school is completely different than what she thought it would be. She finds it is quite simple.

“Starting high school is different than I thought. It’s actually really easy,” she said.

She also says starting high school is fun and full of opportunities.

“Starting high school is pretty fun, it’s exciting and different. Its way better than middle school, that’s for sure,” she said.

Krista believed high school started with loads of school assignments and constantly working in class.

“I thought it was doing work 24/7 and piles of homework,” she said.

Beginning high school gave Krista the impression that it would be difficult and stressful, but to her discovery, it was not.

“I also thought it would be so complicated and somewhat overwhelming, but not at all,” she said.

High school is not like Krista had imagined. She assumed high school would be just like she had seen in theatres.

“I thought it’d be like the movies or something without all the music but it’s not,” she said.

She also says that in high school, one is going to be alone sometimes.

“For the most part you’re on your own,” she said.

Starting high school makes Krista feel like she can start with a clean slate.

“It makes me feel like I can turn over a new leaf,” she said.

It makes me feel like I can turn over a new leaf.”

— Krista Lopez

In the beginning, she was a little uneasy about starting her freshman year.

“At first I was nervous like what’s up? what do I do? where do I go?” she said.

Now Krista has gotten used to the swing of things at high school.

“But now it’s just a normal day and I’m in the hang of things,” she said.

What scared her the most about starting high school was all the people and the “big” school campus.

“The people and the ‘big’ school scared me when I started,” she said.

Like many other incoming freshmen, Krista was afraid of being alone and not knowing anyone at all.

“I thought I’d be alone and not know anyone,” she said.

Fortunately, she has met different people and made new friendships.

“I met lots of new people,” she said.

Krista also learned that her high school campus isn’t as big and intimidating as she thought it was.

“The campus isn’t so big,” she said. “It is but eventually you will find your way around and develop a daily routine.”

Like many other incoming freshmen, Krista was excited about the first-semester pep rallies. She was especially excited about all the school spirit during the football season. Along with the pep rallies, Krista was excited to meet new people. She was hesitant about all the new students but excited nonetheless.

“I know I said the people scared me but I was also excited to meet all these new people,” she said.

These are the people who she considers great friends.

“I’ve made so many amazing friends that I will stick with,” she said.

I’ve made so many amazing friends that I will stick with.”

— Krista Lopez

One of Krista’s goals as a freshman is to survive the year and get excellent grades.

“My goal is to make it through the year and get good grades,” she said.

To Krista, it isn’t always the best to be a freshman especially when it comes to older classmen.

“Upperclassmen think they can push us around,” she said.

According to Krista, the best part about being a freshman is the experience, exploring, and the people you meet. Especially the fact that you get to be friends with people in different grades.

“You get to be friends with students of all ages,” she said.

Like other classmen, freshmen have certain responsibilities they need to fulfill. As a freshman, Krista must pass the state standardized tests which include biology, English 1, and Algebra 1, and maintain her GPA (grade point average).

“It’s mostly all about passing the STAAR and getting good grades,” she said.

Sophomore Year

Sergio Sanchez is a sophomore who attends J.W. Nixon High school. He also attends the Vidal M. Trevino School of Communications and Fine Arts.

Sergio Sanchez, a sophomore at J.W. Nixon High school.

Sergio considers high school to be strange as a sophomore. Sophomores aren’t noticed often by others he says. The freshmen are the beginners, the juniors are occupied with testing for college, and the seniors are working hard with scholarships and getting into universities.

“Freshmen are the newbies, juniors are flooded with college testing, and the seniors are busy working to get everything set for college and the rest of their lives,” he said.

As a sophomore, he has learned that time is valuable. One must get as much done as possible because it all adds up in the end, he said.

“I’ve learned that you never really have time to waste,” he said.

I’ve learned that you never really have time to waste.”

— Sergio Sanchez

To Sergio, the greatest part about being a sophomore is the time one still has to take advantage of what is offered in high school.

“The best part about being a sophomore is the fact that there is still time to involve yourself with many opportunities you have in high school,” he said.

He also sees his sophomore year as the year to broaden his perspectives.

“I just see this year as another year to expand my horizons,” he said.

I just see this year as another year to expand my horizons.”

— Sergio Sanchez

Sergio would rate his sophomore year an 8 out of 10.

“On a scale of 1-10, I would rate my sophomore experience as an 8,” he said. “It went well for the most part, but there were certain times where I was under a lot of stress. I wasn’t a horrible experience, though,” he said.

His top experience as a sophomore was his Area competition for One-Act Play.

“I’d say the best experience I had this year was at Area for One-Act. During that competition, I was extremely nervous and I was on the verge of tears from fear of not advancing. When they finally called our name to advance, I wanted to shout at the top of my lungs because I almost couldn’t contain myself. I’m pretty sure I squealed a little, too,” he said.

The stress levels of a sophomore vary on the student and their academic courses, he said.

“Your stress level as a sophomore really depends on you and your classes. Some teachers give you a lot of work and you might not be able to finish it. My stress was pretty high, specifically in the second semester,” he said.

Sergio’s advice to incoming sophomores is to be more involved in school.

“Become involved if you aren’t already,” he said.

He added it is crucial to focus on academic courses.

“Take your classes seriously because you’re going to need to,” he said.

Most importantly, he said self-care should be a part of a student’s sophomore agenda.

“Take care of yourselves,” he said.

To Sergio, freshman and sophomore year are the years that students should concentrate on their GPA.

“Your freshman and sophomore years are really the years you should be building up your GPA just in case the stress gets to you in your later years,” he said.

He finds that it is slightly better to be a sophomore than it is to be a freshman. Sophomores are already used to high school so one is given more time to focus on other school-related projects, he says.

“I’d say it is. As a sophomore, you’ve already gotten accustomed to high school life and now you can focus on other things, such as extracurricular,” he said.

He also considers both sophomore and freshman classes to be equally difficult.

“Personally, I find my classes to be of equal difficulty between the two grade levels,” he said.

Personally, I find my classes to be of equal difficulty between the two grade levels.”

— Sergio Sanchez

The difficulty of each class can vary from person to person he says.

“I’d say the difficulty really depends on the person and their abilities,” he said.

As a sophomore, Sergio was involved in three organizations. These include band, One-Act, and Cross-Examination/Policy Debate.

“This year, I was a part of three organizations. I am in a band and I play the trombone, I’m in One-Act where I portray the role of Lord Aster in Peter and the Starcatcher, and I was in Cross-Examination/Policy Debate.” He said.

Something Sergio wanted to accomplish sophomore year was to be more involved in extracurricular activities.

“As a sophomore, I wanted to become more involved with the different organizations at school. While I technically did do that, I did not it to the extent I wished to. I’m still happy with the organizations I did join, however, and I plan to join more next year if possible,” he said.

Sergio’s priorities as a sophomore are his grades to his extracurricular activities.

“I’m mainly concerned about passing my classes with astounding grades. I’m also invested in my extracurricular activities, such as debate, One-Act, and band,” he said.

Sophomore responsibilities that Sergio has ranged from school testing to extracurricular activities. One responsibility he notices people forget is to take care of themselves and excel in school and life.

“Ultimately, however, people fail to remember their greatest responsibility: to take care of their best selves,” he said.

Junior Year

Jennifer Cortez is a junior who attends J.W. Nixon High school. She also attends the Vidal M. Trevino School of Communications and Fine Arts.

Jennifer Cortez, a junior at J.W. Nixon High school.

To Jennifer, high school is not as difficult to her as many people assume it is.

“High school as a junior to me is not as hard and stressful as others claim it to be,” she said.

Out of the three years of high school, so far, her junior year has been the easiest. This is the result of Jennifer’s two years of high school experience.

“So far, junior year has been the easiest year because I have used the two years of experience at high school to my advantage to make sure positive and productive days are the only ones filling my schedule,” she said.

As a junior, Jennifer has learned that holding grudges or focusing on past errors is only a waste of time and energy.

“You cannot keep focusing on the mistakes in the past and that holding grudges on people is not worth the time and effort,”

You cannot keep focusing on the mistakes in the past and that holding grudges on people is not worth the time and effort.”

— Jennifer Cortez

Junior responsibilities are to maintain good grades and taking college exams to prepare for higher education, she said.

“The responsibilities would be keeping my grades up and passing the SAT and ACT tests that will prepare me for college,” she said.

Jennifer’s priorities are to uphold her grades and make certain that she makes the most of every course she takes.

“My priorities as a junior is keeping my grades up and making sure I make the most in each class by learning the most I can,” she said.

Her goals in her third year of high school are to lay an excellent foundation for her senior year.

“One of my goals as a junior is to pave a good and promising road to senior year,” she said.

One of my goals as a junior is to pave a good and promising road to senior year.”

— Jennifer Cortez

To accomplish this goal, Jennifer must ensure her grades remain high and continue what she loves to do most, mariachi and orchestra.

“This means I must work on my grades to keep them as high as I can and doing what I love to do most; playing my violin in mariachi and orchestra,” she said.

Along with laying the foundation for senior year, she would like to be a part of the top ten students in her junior class.

“One thing I wanted to achieve as a junior would be to be in the top ten in my class, but I have not yet achieved that goal,” she said.

Jennifer is involved in a handful of organizations and clubs. These include One-Act, orchestra, and mariachi. She plays and violin in both orchestra and mariachi, she also does vocals in mariachi.

“I am in orchestra and mariachi, I play the violin as well as sing,” she said.

The best part of being a junior is the fact that one finally becomes an upperclassman she says.

“The best part about being a junior would be finally being an upperclassman,” she said.

The best experience junior year has given Jennifer are all the good times she has had with her best friend.

“The best experience I had as a junior would be enjoying all the small moments with my best friend, Felix. He is the closest friend I have had and without him, my junior year would not be complete,” she said.

On a scale of 1-10, she would rate her junior year as an 8. She is still not satisfied with her grades or how her One-Act takes time away from her violin.

“The two lacking points are because I’m still not content with my grades and don’t like the fact that I don’t have enough time to practice my violin since I constantly have One-Act,” she said.

Almost becoming a senior is a bittersweet concept to Jennifer.

“Knowing that I will become a senior soon makes me both happy and sad,” she said.

Knowing that I will become a senior soon makes me both happy and sad.”

— Jennifer Cortez

She can’t wait to be a part of all the senior activities, but she is reluctant to say goodbye to the current seniors.

“Happy because I will experience all the senior activities including prom and senior week but sad because I will have to say goodbye to the class of 2018,” she said.

Jennifer rates her junior year stress a 4 out of 10.

“The stress levels as a junior, although others may say otherwise, is a 4 from a scale of 1-10,” she said.

The four being the difficulty of her physics course due to her weakness with numbers.

“The reason why it’s a four is that I have physics this semester and I’m not good with numbers,” she said.

The support from her family and friends is what keeps Jennifer from having higher stress she says.

“Aside from that, it’s a low-stress level because of the friends who surround me and the support I have from my family,” she said.

Aside from that, it’s a low-stress level because of the friends who surround me and the support I have from my family.”

— Jennifer Cortez

She also says the stress levels as a sophomore are worse than as a junior because she still wanted to discover who she was. She would neglect her classes and try to pick up her grades at the last minute as well.

“The stress level from sophomore year was worse because I was still trying to find out what I wanted to do with my life and I would slack off in my classes and try to raise my grade last minute,” she said.

Jennifer was concerned about herself and would constantly get herself into drama.

“I was also too worried about me and would always find a way to get myself into drama,” she said.

Jennifer’s advice to the sophomores becoming juniors would be to not stress much.

“My advice for sophomores who are becoming juniors would be to not stress,” she said.

She also says not to hurry high school years.

“You’ll graduate, and you’ll get into college, just don’t be in a rush to grow up because you’ll forget to make memories because you only experience high school one,” she said.

You’ll graduate, and you’ll get into college, just don’t be in a rush to grow up because you’ll forget to make memories because you only experience high school one.”

— Jennifer Cortez

Senior Year

Melissa Irigoyen is a senior who attends J.W. Nixon High school. She also attends the Vidal M. Trevino School of Communications and Fine Arts.

High school as a senior is challenging and can test one’s grit.

Melissa Irigoyen, a senior at J.W. Nixon High school.

“High school was a challenge and can test your determination,” she said.

High school was a challenge and can test your determination.”

— Melissa Iroygen

There are many ways high school can put one’s willpower to the test. These include the cutoff dates in high school and the requirements students have to make to graduate.

“It’s challenging because of the many deadlines (high school college) and graduation requirements you have to meet, as well as deciding your degree plan and hoping financial aid, scholarships, and grants cover it,” she said.

Seniors have to determine what their degree plan is and they must also find good financial aid, grants, and scholarships to pay for their higher education.

As a senior, Melissa has learned that time goes by quickly and it is important to make the best of it.

“What I learned as a senior is that time flies and to make the most of it,” she said.

She added one can accomplish this by participating in the senior walks, senior photos, homecoming, and prom.

Seniors have many responsibilities; these can go from grades to volunteering hours. Melissa believes one of the most important responsibilities seniors have is to be a role model for the lower classmen.

Melissa’s top priorities as a senior are making certain that she has all her school documents, grades, averages, and more. This will make her move to college much easier.

“My priorities are making sure that I have all my grades, documents, etc. to make the transition to college smoother,” she said.

My priorities are making sure that I have all my grades, documents, etc. to make the transition to college smoother.”

— Melissa Irigoyen

She aims to attend every senior event she can.

“One of my goals as a senior is to attend every event possible,” she said.

Melissa is a part of multiple clubs and organizations at her high school.

“I was a member of the Nixon orchestra and VMT Philharmonic Orchestra for 4 years,” she said. “I also performed in concerts and fundraisers as well as the National Honor Society for two years.”

She took part in the National Honor Society by achieving high marks in academics and by setting a good example for the lower grades.

“I have participated in National Honor Society for two years by maintaining high grades and being a role model for the lower classmen,” she said.

She is also part of the Superintendent Student Advisory Council where she works hard for the future and wellbeing of LISD students.

“I bring up issues concerning the school to the LISD district representatives and read to elementary schools in hopes of encouraging young children to read,” she said.

According to Melissa, the highlight of a senior is being aware that life is going to change drastically.

“The best part of being a senior is knowing that your whole life is about to change, you’ve reached the end of a big chapter (high school),” she said.

The best part of being a senior is knowing that your whole life is about to change, you’ve reached the end of a big chapter (high school).”

— Melissa Irigoyen

The top experience she has had as a senior is her senior recital at VMT.

“Best experiences as a senior is being able to have senior recitals at VMT, it allows you to showcase your skills in the fine art you’ve chosen,” she said.

The greatest part of high school was her fine arts magnet school and developing strong friendships.

“The best part of high school was attending VMT, I learned how friends can become family,” she said.

Her least favorite part of high school was the large amounts of homework and grueling schedule.

“The worst part was the excessive homework and long schedule,” she said.

Knowing that she has finished all four years of high school is bittersweet to Melissa. She finally feels the weight off her shoulders but is saddened at the thought of finishing her four years.

“Knowing that I have completed all four years is such a relief but it saddens me as well,” she said.

Knowing that I have completed all four years is such a relief but it saddens me as well.”

— Melissa Irigoyen

As a senior, Melissa has many senior traditions.

“We have senior walks, senior photos, senior pranks, senior parties, and senior prom,” she said.

Senior perks she has include getting to make decisions on her own and the fact that the majority of school events are for the graduating seniors.

“Getting to make final decisions about everyone, most events are geared towards seniors,” she said.

To current 8th graders, she would recommend they not procrastinate and appreciate the time they will have in high school.

“I’d tell them to not procrastinate and enjoy it because they’ll be walking the stage wondering where the time went,” she said.

Melissa has decided to attend Texas A&M International University to study music and to begin her profession in music education.

“I have decided to attend TAMIU and pursue a career in music education,” she said.

The stress levels of a senior are intense she says. This is due to the great move from high school to university.

“The stress levels of seniors are very high, transitioning from high school to college becomes your priority along with the many activities you’d like to make time for,” she said.

She even admits that the stress levels of a senior are higher than those of a junior.

“Senior year is far worse than junior year,” she said.

Melissa’s advice to the juniors becoming seniors is to apply for universities and scholarship grants at the beginning of the year.

“The advice I would give to incoming seniors is to apply for colleges/scholarships as early as possible. Procrastinating only prolongs the anxiety and does not allow you to enjoy your senior year,” she said.

Procrastinating only prolongs the anxiety and does not allow you to enjoy your senior year.”

— Melissa Irigoyen

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Four years of high school through four students