Seniors reflect and give advice on high school achievements

Jolene Palijo

As students grow through high school, they create and accomplish experiences that prepare them for the future. Students take on opportunities with purpose, sharpening their skills with the support of those around them. Their purpose and drive evolve over time, and as seniors, their experiences and accomplishments can turn out to be more than–or entirely different from–what they thought they could achieve.

Seniors Lynne Marie Simon, Faith Vila, and Mariah Iris Ramo shared similar goals for themselves when entering high school. They sought to be more social and involved, whether that was through joining others who shared their interests, improving as students, or seeking to make a difference. 

Lynne Marie Simon shares their thoughts about how being in Play Production and being more social have been highlights of their high school career. As a freshman, Simon knew that besides having a high grade point average, they wanted to give themselves the push to get out there and be in a more social space. 

They’ve reached this through being a member of Play Production and Glee PAK, which has given them some of their favorite highs chool experiences. “[At] the FAME awards last year and Arts & Comm’s slam poetry, I was up there working behind the scenes. It was really good to see everybody and actively be a part of it, be the reason why everything’s working so well.” 

Simon didn’t expect to participate in these activities as a younger student, but later became more confident.

Faith Vila shares how their accomplishments and achievements motivate them for the future. Vila’s biggest goal as a freshman was to change and improve as a student, being a different person by improving their work ethic and putting themselves out there through spirit and education. 

Vila elaborates on their experiences with Arthur Awards and shadowing elementary teachers. “I can never forget the feeling of my first Arthur Awards, simply unforgettable. The fact that I get to experience it after two years as a senior makes me emotional.” Vila adds, “Heading out during my class period to shadow a teacher at August Ahrens Elementary School, I didn’t expect myself to pursue that path.” These experiences gave Vila a reason to pursue goals such as being a teacher in the future. 

Mariah Iris Ramo reflects on her appreciation for the experiences she’s had in the Waipahu community. As a freshman, Ramo always wanted to make an impact on others. “I’ve always wanted to continue being involved in the community. I wanted to join and be a part of the clubs I’m interested in […]and get out there and make a difference. I didn’t have a specific club I wanted to join, but I just knew that I wanted to be a part of something bigger than myself.”

Ramo has continued to make a difference in our community through her club involvement. A highlight of her years, alongside being a part of the Filipino Curriculum Project and student council, has been starting the Girl Up Club with her friends. She never expected this to happen, but is grateful for how the club has grown. The club has been albe to go to the Philippine Consulate and sharing their solutions for tackling gender bias. 

These experiences give Ramo hope that poverty, quality education for women, and female empowerment will all get better. “We’re so close to that destination; making it into reality is what’s fueling me because I know for sure that we can do it as long as we the current generations work with the future generations and past generations collectively.”

With all of their experiences, these seniors share an appreciation for those who support their journeys and all of the opportunities they’ve gotten through Waipahu High School. Their friends, mentors, family members, and communities have supported them through their struggles and endeavors, and continue to support them further. Ramo comments on the support of the Waipahu community, “I love how we’re all so tight knit. I’m very inspired by all the work that individuals have been doing to make this place a little better than it was yesterday.”

They shared their gratitude for how much the school has to offer through extracurricular activities, clubs, and Early College. Simon enjoys the opportunity to learn about and be herself, and Vila to take part in activities of interest. Ramo comments that the opportunities she’s been presented with and created for herself have made a positive impact on her life.

As seniors, Simon, Vila, and Ramo share advice and guidance for freshman looking to be their best selves in the following years. 

Simon advises, “Don’t get your hopes too high,; be realistic. It’s hard to know yourself and what you’re capable of. Test yourself, but don’t push yourself to do anything that’s uncomfortable. Know your limits.”

Vila says, “A piece of advice I’d give to ambitious freshmen would be to explore opportunities. It can’t hurt to do so. I say it is better to try, because it is a starting point. Talk to your teachers about community service or even clubs. That is a great start.”

Ramo adds, “Just focus on what you truly like, and take off that unnecessary pressure on yourself because we’re all human beings. Just take off that unwanted pressure and let things go, because I think your passions, your interests will just come to you and your purpose as well.”