Estephanie Mendez shows those around her the value of companionship

Girl on bridge in front of palm trees

Photo by Nataly Mendez

Estephanie Mendez has had a tremendous impact on the friendships she’s made during her time as a grizzly.

Story by Antonio Morales Leyva, Opinions Editor

   With an unparalleled moral compass, and an immense devotion to her friendships, Estephanie Mendez is a truly impressive student and individual. Though an awkward soul lives within this curly haired, brown eyed student, her admirable passion and exceptional loyalty engulfs anyone she meets. Her four years at Mission Hills have been mostly spent sleeping through the afternoon and attempting to wake up in the early morning to finish assignments, but Mendez’s sleep schedule has only taught her how to improvise and how to work effectively under pressure.

   “One thing I learned from Estephanie is to trust and be hopeful again. Before meeting her I was a hot mess. I had issues at home and was dealing with severe depression. Meeting her gave me a sense of security and she will forever hold a special place in my heart. I remember one day when I had the worst day of my entire life and I came over to her house. She was asleep so she didn’t answer. I later went home that day and at 12 a.m. she dragged her two brothers to drive her to come see me and make sure I was okay. That’s Estephanie. She’s loving, caring, compassionate, and will never leave your side. That’s how I will always remember Estephanie, as someone I can always count on,” Daniela Blanco (12) said.

   While many believe in the all too common catch phrase “work hard play hard”, Mendez has always prioritized meaningful experiences with the people she loves over a higher grade on a test. She has also made it one of her priorities to keep exploring the activities she is passionate about, mainly including dance.

   “Estephanie and I met in Spanish class freshman year, we sat together and we became friends right away. She and I would spend almost every lunch together and we have never had any other classes together, so having dance (something we are both passionate about) together was amazing because we could rely on each other when something went wrong and we made many memories together,” Noemi Aguilar (12) said.

   Mendez has been a part of the dance program for the last three years alongside some of her best friends, and her love for the art has grown immensely.

   “I joined dance simply because I’ve always wanted to learn how to dance. I met so many incredible people, reinforced amazing friendships, and had the time of my life. Letting the music and the movement submerge you into a different world is so thrilling. I hold my memories of the program to the highest level of fondness, and it is something that I’ll never forget,” Mendez said.

   As she waves goodbye to Mission Hills’ incredible community and begins to acquaint herself as a Cougar, Mendez is excited to explore all of her academic passions, while also making sure that dance remains one of her priorities.

   “I chose to go to Cal State San Marcos and I am actually really excited about it. Many of my friends are staying in San Marcos as well, and I’m excited to figure out my passion, pursue a career, and live out the crazy years of young adulthood. I also hope to make my parents proud and to be able to financially support myself while also spoiling them to make up for at least a minute fraction of all that they’ve done for me,” Mendez said.