I came to Catalina from the International School of Monterey. I didn’t know anyone, I was super shy, and I didn’t want to be at Catalina. Not many people from my school had gone to Catalina, so it was extremely difficult for me to adjust. I didn’t feel comfortable with the amount of wealth people had, nor the Catholic environment, since both of those were foreign to me. I thought I would leave sophomore year, but I decided to stay because of all the friends I made. As soon as I immersed myself in the Catalina community, I started to “fit in,” I guess you would say. I made more friends, felt happier, and was doing well academically. Yet I still felt like a fly on the wall. I didn’t think my presence in classes was significant,, nor did I feel confident about my opinions or ideas. I was just floating around unaware of my surroundings which put me into a dark state that I didn’t think I would be able to come out of. It wasn’t until I ran for sophomore vice president that I really came out of my shell. I gave my speech in front of my entire class, many of whom I didn’t know, and I won. And actually, I also ran unopposed, so that helped. Still, this leadership position really helped me with my public speaking skills and helped me meet more people and connect with more of my peers.
After four years here, I couldn’t be more grateful that I came to Catalina. I owe so much to this school. The connections I have made can never be replaced. The friendships I have made are so dear to me that I want to cry thinking about the fact that we only have 29 days left. Sure, I’m stoked to graduate, but I don’t want to leave this place and stop seeing all of my friends every day, sitting on the couches, leading assembly, and just the campus itself, because it is so beautiful. I love my friends so much. They are my family. Since I come from a super small family, just my mom and me, it was really important for me that I make lasting friendships. I can honestly say that I have so many sisters now. I had never really felt the love of other people than from my family before until I made friends at Catalina. I am eternally grateful for playing field hockey with Giselle for four years, because she taught me to stay true to the sport I love and will be playing in college, I am grateful to Allie for always putting a smile on my face even when I’ve had the worst day possible. This not only helped improve my mood but helped me feel whole again. I am blessed that I have had Taylor in my life because she has been my best friend for four years. I don’t know what we are going to do being so far apart. We have talked about it and we can’t even imagine being three thousand miles apart. Also to Nikki and Keona, thank you for helping me grow more confident on the field, in life, and for always being there for me even if we don’t talk every day. There are countless others because I love my whole class, but I’m going to stop before it makes me more emotional.