Standing Out From the Nest

Whether for sports and academic achievements, or for their unique experiences, some students and teachers have stood out from the pack. They don’t always want the attention or like it, but their stories deserve to be told.

Freestyle Wrestling Champ

Name: Frank Richmond

Grade: Teacher

Known for: Winning a National Title in Wrestling

So, you wrestle! What were you recognized for in wrestling?

Recently, I’ve been recognized for winning a freestyle wrestling competition in April 2014.

Has wrestling been a big part of your life?

Wrestling is one of the most important things in my life. It has helped me through many experiences throughout my life until this very day.

How did it feel to win the freestyle competition?

It feels good to know that all the hard work I put into to preparing for this competition paid off. Especially after being out with a knee surgery for five years– I never thought I would come back into it.

How did you feel when put in the spotlight?

Stepping onto the stage and seeing a crowd is always exciting and nerve racking at the same time. Being in the spotlight for it is definitely worth the amazing experience.

How did you cope with the pressure?

I don’t find many negative outcomes from it. But knowing that there is always a new person training hard and preparing to take my title… It only makes me want to train harder and do the best I can to come in ready for the next competition.

When it comes down to it…

“If it wasn’t for me getting into wrestling at such a young age, things could have ended completely different for me.”

Folsom to Princeton

Name: Tamanna Ananna

Grade: 12

Known for: Academic achievements and being accepted to Princeton University, an Ivy League school.

So, you got into Princeton University. How did that go down?

Absolutely incredible! I had an impromptu dance party in the library after I found out. I still cannot believe it. I was actually not even going to apply because I thought I would never get in. But at the last minute, I just thought, why not? I finished my application three hours before the deadline and was about to hit submit when Common App crashed. After two hours of refreshing the page and emailing the admissions officers and panicking, my application finally went through.

Generally speaking, what kind of feedback have you gotten from people?

A lot of people said they felt proud, which is always nice to hear. My friends are most excited and I am very excited for them. We are all starting a new chapter in our lives. It’s an exciting time for all of us.

Why do you think it’s such a big deal to people that you’re going to Princeton?

All of the Ivy League colleges are very well known for their academic prestige and sought after by many. In the end though, I don’t think it matters as much where you go to college, but rather what you make of it.

Have you received any negative attention? If so, how do you cope with it?

It has been pretty positive. I don’t think much of it though, positive or negative. I still have to get through this last month and take my last exams and finals.

If you’ve learned one thing from this whole experience, what would it be?

Participate in activities you enjoy instead of doing half-hearted things to build your resume. To simply put it, do what you love.

When it comes down to it…

“Do what you love, don’t let people’s opinions and peer pressures get in the way of following your dreams in life.”

Public Relations Commissioners

Name: Rebecca Scott, Austin Webb, Christian Patterson, Holly Isaacs

Grade: 12

Known For: Doing the announcements every morning, weekly broadcast and emceeing rallies and events

What’s it like being PRCs? What are some of your responsibilities?

Rebecca: We do things like announcements, rallies and publicize events.

Austin:We also pump the crowd up at games and stuff like that.

Christian: And anytime student government has an event, we are in charge of being on the mic and creating spirit throughout the school. We are expected to be the most decked out people on campus for spirit days and kinda lead the charge.

Emceeing rallies is a big part of what you do, do you get nervous being in front of so many people?

Rebecca and Austin: Not really

Christian: Honestly, the very first time being on announcements is kinda weird, but then after that we kind of had to just get over the nerves since it is something we do everyday. Being a PRC kind of gives you permission to be embarrassing and loud, so there is not much to be nervous about.

Austin: We just focus on the task at hand and get it done. I also feel like we get a big adrenaline rush being out in front of everyone.

Rebecca: Yeah, I agree with Austin, I just kind of block everyone out.

A lot of students, administration and teachers pay attention to what you do and say. How has this affected the way you act at school?

Christian: Being a PRC means that we represent the student body. We are all aware of our effect on others, and if anything it just encourages us to be better people.

Rebecca: We have to be really careful about how we act and present ourselves in front of the school, when all eyes are on us we just have to put our best face forward.

Austin: If we make a mistake, everyone notices, so we always have to be on our game.

How do you cope with the social pressures of being PRCs?

Rebecca: I don’t know, I try not to stress about the social pressure; it doesn’t matter what people think in the long run.

Austin: Yeah, I’ve learned not to worry about what people think of us.

Christian: We all have so much fun together doing what we do, and thats all that matters. I feel like we all have a strong sense of self confidence, and that helps a lot with the social pressure.

Defining Quote:                                                                                                     “We all stepped out on a limb this year by running for PRC … And all four of us [Holly Isaacs is also a PRC] would agree that it has made our high school experience one that we will remember for the rest of our lives.”

Survivor and Team Player

Name: Cassidy Sidhu

Grade: 10

Known For: Cancer Survivor and member of the Vista Cancer Team

What is it like to be a part of the cancer team?

It is an amazing experience! You’re getting to help children and their families while in need.

What exactly does the cancer team do?

We pick out families that have a child with cancer and help them through it. We also spend quality time with the child and take them out to do things they enjoy. For example, I have taken one of the children to a nail salon to have her nails painted.

How do you feel about being in the spotlight?

I like it because I get the chance to promote the program to help more students join.

How do you cope with being in the spotlight?

I enjoy it because I know it’s for a good cause.

When it comes down to it…

“Even a small period of quality time can make a big difference in someones life.”

The Principal’s Niece

Name: Simone Duckson

Grade: 11th

Known for: Being the “New Girl”

What was it like to move from Oregon to California at the end of your Junior year?

At first I was terrified and sad about being the new kid right before my senior year, which is supposed to one of the greatest experiences to enjoy with your close friends, but in the end, I adjusted and made the best of the transition.

Have you received any attention for being the principal’s niece?

Definitely, I get asked questions about what it’s like to be at school and see him walking around all the time. I find it mostly funny because it’s not just students who are curious about it; I get a lot of questions from staff , too.

How do you feel about being in the spotlight?

I wouldn’t really consider myself to be in the spotlight anymore. I would say I more so was in the spotlight when I first moved here. It was pretty awkward for me at first, but I’m getting more and more used to it.

How do you cope with being in the spotlight?

I just embrace it and try to have a positive outlook on it. I haven’t really dealt with a lot of negative attention on it so it’s pretty easy to just go about my daily life.

When it comes down to it…

“The experience can either be positive or negative it depends on what you make it.”

Soccer Superstar

Name: Janae Gonzalez

Grade: 11

Known For: Represented Mexico in the u17 World Cup

What has it been like playing for Vista’s soccer team and in the World Cup for Mexico?

When playing for Vista, I’m representing my school and community and that’s really important to me, while playing for Mexico I’m representing my country and living the dreams I made up as a child. They are very different, but it is an honor to do both.

Do you want to play for the next World Cup team?

Yes, I hope to be in the next World Cup I qualify for. I’m going to keep working hard to make the team.

After the World Cup, did you receive a lot of press?

When we flew back, we were immediately confronted with a bunch of press and went into a press conference. Since then, I have done about seven to eight interviews for local newspapers, television and radio stations.

How do you cope with being in the spotlight?

Personally, I hate talking about myself. I like it when I’m with my team because we can share our accomplishments and experiences that we had together. I love talking about my experiences to young players who look up to me, but when I’m alone, I try my hardest to stick to the main point of the questions. Even then I usually answer the minimum.

When it comes down to it…

“It is always a great thing when others recognize your hard work and achievements, but never push yourself to the limit to impress others, do it to impress yourself.”

Swim Star

Name: Matthew Klotz

Grade: 12

Known For: Represented USA in the Deaflympics

What was it like to compete in the Deaflympics?

It was a really unique experience going into it for the first time ever and being the new kid there. After experiencing the first one, I definitely want to keeping going for them each four years.

How did it feel to break some World Records at Deaflympics?

Going into the meet, I really didn’t have much expectations because it was my very first international meet... But, when I got there all my USA teammates were telling me how I had such a good chance at winning the gold and even breaking the World Records. I still remember that exact moment when I broke both the 100m and 200m backstroke records. I was completely excited, knowing that all my hard work had paid off.

What was it like coming home after the Deaflympics?

When I got back home after a twenty-three hour flight back to California from Bulgaria, I was just really thrilled to see my family and show them all my accomplishments over two weeks. Then shortly after I had several interviews which was really exciting and nerve wracking at first. The biggest thing I was excited about was the documentary film coming out which I got to be in and should be coming out over summer.

How did you cope with the pressure?

After a crazy summer of swimming, many people got to know what I had accomplished and know how much I was into swimming. At first, I was actually scared because I wasn’t used to any of the press or attention. It is a nice feeling, especially when people ask me questions about it and I can share my experience. I know I will continue to keep swimming and reach for my high-end goals and hope to achieve them. I’m also extremely thankful for all my friends and family who have supported me along the way.

When it comes down to it…

“Despite not being able to hear everything, this has and always will motivate me to try and be the best I can be in the sport of swimming with a disability, hoping to inspire some other disabled athletes out there.”