In her time at Pasadena High School, senior Mary Mejia has been actively involved in the cross country team, serving as team captain for two years. She also performed in the school’s spring musical program for three years and has helped organize community service projects through the LEOS Club.
“All these activities exposed me to different experiences that have allowed me to better understand the importance of teamwork,” Mejia said of her educational experience. “Being part of the cross country team for four years helped me understand and value the complexities of interpersonal relationships, respect, and communication.”
With the help of her family, teachers, counselors, Mejia applied and has been accepted to UCLA, where she plans to study applied mathematics. She hopes to someday work with an engineering company making improvements on a global scale.
“My favorite aspect of PHS is its easy-going environment,” says the senior. “There is this nonchalance in our school’s ambiance that allows students to be able to express themselves. This attitude in turn allows every student to come across different characters, which I find enriching because the outside world is full of spontaneity.”
Through the district’s PasadenaLEARNs program, Mejia took advantage of free after-school services offered by College Access Plan. CAP is a local nonprofit that works with students to provide free college readiness workshops and one-on-one college counseling.
Mo Hyman, co-founder of College Access Plan, said the organization helps make sure students are set up for success not only as they apply for college, but once they get there.
“It might be a five minute conversation with students about ‘How do I do this?’ or it could be hours and hours of crafting a personal statement or SAT prep,” she said. “We meet students wherever they are.”
CAP’s services and programs are not just for juniors and seniors in need of college counseling and advice, but for underclassman who may be wondering how to make the most of their time in high school.
“We give them all sorts of supports, from emails to care packages for freshman finals,” she added. “We will always support them — always.”
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