Our Valedictorian, Itzel Melgoza, will be attending Columbia in the fall of 2018. This young adult represents the Legendary class of 2018, and is one of the prides and joys of the El Sereno Community. Although she will be attending a highly prestigious school, her journey wasn’t the easiest. I had the wonderful opportunity to interview her, and help tell her story and journey.
Itzel says her experience at Wilson was great, although she was very shy and quiet at first. She was a very active student at Wilson where she was involved in Leadership and was class president her Sophomore and Junior year and this year she’s our Student Body President. Itzel also joined different clubs and organizations such as Robotics Club, STEM Club, Science Club, and being involved in academic programs such as Upward Bound and the IB Diploma Programme. Being involved in these clubs and organizations have helped her realize what science pathway she wanted to pursue.
She will be attending Columbia University in the fall and will be majoring in neuroscience. She plans to get her Bachelor’s Degree in four years, and attend medical school after that in the east coast. Eventually, she does plan on coming back to her community because she wants to work and provide aid to the community she grew up in. She understands that people in low-income communities have a weary attitude towards the health system, but by her working in communities like ours, she hopes to help them feel comfortable, knowing that she comes from the same background as them.
Itzel explained that joining the most rigorous program at Wilson, the Diploma Programme (DP) has helped her academically prepare for her future. Itzel would stay up until 2 AM finishing her assignments and papers for this very demanding academic program. Although it was a very difficult and stressful program to be a part of, she said that it has helped her grow personally, become more resilient, develop time management skills, and become a better individual.
When asked, “Who do you admire, and why?” Itzel responded, “Definitely, my parents.” She goes on to explain that her parents had her at a young age, therefore they didn’t have the opportunity of attending college right away, even though that was something they initially wanted to do. This didn't mean that their dreams were just going to be dreams though. Itzel’s mother is currently attending Cal State Los Angeles, and her father got his bachelor’s degree from Cal State Los Angeles back when she was in the 6th grade. Just seeing that her parents maintain their resilience although their plans were put on hold by having a child at a young age and still being dedicated to make their future better for themselves and their family, has made her want to maintain that kind of resilience as she gets older.
Itzel feels proud to be the Valedictorian of the Class of 2018. She knows she worked hard for it, but she says that the effort and support of the people around her helped her get to the place where she’s currently at. She is honored and looking forward to giving a speech at graduation, highlighting all the accomplishments of the Class of 2018. A piece of advice that she would like to give to underclassmen, is to start on college applications early because procrastination will only make you finish work you're not necessarily proud of, and making sure that any work they produce that they give it their all, and ensuring the work that they are doing is their best work.
The Valedictorian would like to say “Thank You” to all the faculty and staff here at Wilson, particularly those who were involved in the DP programme. “They really dedicated themselves to ensure that all students were prepared and that they were not just becoming better students, but better individuals. Knowing that even though they are teachers and they're not required to stay after school to tutor… knowing that they'd do that and they would go that extra mile, really made me feel like I was supported. Thank you.”
Itzel explained that she has always been pretty consistent with her academics, throughout elementary school and middle school she always tried to stay on top of her work. Some of the obstacles she faced through her academic years was getting overwhelmed, and facing stress. She had to develop healthy and positive coping mechanisms to help her get through all of it. What has kept her motivated to continue being a high-achieving student was her community. She goes on to explain that her community has given her a lot, and her ultimate goal is to give back, and the best way to do that is through education.