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Spotlighting Two Awesome Members of the West Park Class of 2023

02 June 2023

Itzel and Guadalupe are ready and excited to start this next chapter of their lives.

A photo of Itzel and Guadalupe in front of a tapestry in their school

Meet Itzel and Guadalupe, the valedictorian and salutatorian, respectively, of the West Park STEAM Academy Class of 2023! Itzel and Guadalupe, who have both attended West Park since pre-k and will be heading to Northside College Prep together in the fall, are known for their love of learning, determination, and wisdom beyond their years. Get to know them more below. 

What are some highlights from your time at West Park?

Guadalupe: The older I got, the more diversity I noticed in my classes, which I really liked. Making new friends helped me speak more in English, and we got to learn from each other. I also loved third grade — our teacher Dr. Rose made it really fun. 

Itzel: I have some really special memories from elementary school. I always loved our end-of-year celebration days and award ceremonies. One year we got to watch butterflies hatch.

What are you passionate about?

Guadalupe: I really love video editing. My mom runs a bakery, and I made the video to promote her business. I also enjoy anything that has to do with art or sports. I like playing two square with my friends!

Itzel: I love to crochet, which I learned during sixth grade after the pandemic started because I didn’t want to just be on my phone all day. The first thing I made was a frog bucket hat. It definitely looked like a first project, but it was wearable and you could tell it was supposed to be a frog.

How have you changed over the course of elementary school?

Guadalupe: I used to cry on the first day of school every single year. I was very sensitive and I would cry if I got put on the spot, even if it was about a good thing. I slowly started to grow out of it though, and a huge moment for me was when I participated in an oratory competition in fifth grade. We each had to pick and present a speech without a microphone in front of the entire school. I was terrified, but I did it, and I got third place!

Itzel: My mentality has definitely changed. When I was younger I had the attitude of “I don’t need school.” But after the pandemic started and we had to learn online, I was really struggling. When we came back to in-person school in seventh grade, I realized that I had missed school, and I felt really motivated to do well and connect with people.

What are your biggest goals for high school?

Itzel: I’ve been making lists of all my plans and everything I want to do in high school. I think I want to go to college for biochemistry, so I want to make sure I take AP science classes, and I’m hoping there’s a research class I can take. I’m really excited for high school. 

Guadalupe: I’m looking forward to having a fresh start. Especially with the pandemic and all the struggles that came along with it, it’s been a hard few years. This is such a great opportunity to have a new beginning. I’m also excited to take World Language — my cousin is learning Japanese, and I want to learn it too so we can speak to each other in Japanese.

Do you have any advice for younger students?

Guadalupe: Don't worry about what other people are thinking, just stick to what you want and go for it. Because I was definitely that kid, and I just want to tell younger people that they’ll be okay and they’re not alone. There's probably someone in your life that has been telling you that, and what they’re saying is true. There are people that care about you. You are going to be fine. 

Itzel: Don’t spend too much time worrying about school! Sometimes it’s hard to enjoy your weekends or time off because you’ll just be thinking in the back of your mind about all the stuff you have to do. But try to relax and enjoy life! Also, it’s okay to ask for help if you need it.

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