Class of 2017 Glow Ups


By Karley Bailey and Nayeli Medina

Wednesday morning, the last day of May, as I was walking to my first period class, I closely examined the familiar off-white walls of Tustin High. Only four years ago, these same monotonous walls had daunted me as I walked the same path to my fourth period freshmen biology class. For the first time, all year, I felt nostalgia; I never thought I’d be yearning to be my fourteen year old self, with her awkwardly parted side bangs, and the edges of disheveled Cornell notes creeping out of the zippers of a hand-me-down Jansport backpack. Yet oddly enough, I had reminisced on that awkward phase in my life the rest of the week. With only eight days left of my high school career, that typical senior sense of longing had finally grasped me. Later in the week, I observed my friends in the midst of their conversations around the sun-dial—our daily nutrition ritual—beyond the newly distributed razor bumps along the perimeter of jaw-lines or the abrupt deepening of vocal chords; instead I watched the expressive mannerisms of a boy I sat next to in seventh grade English and watched as an eager grin spread across his face as we talked about graduation—a date that signifies the liberation he has sought his whole life. I then looked into the intense dark eyes of a girl I had met in my seventh grade Spanish class and found that disregarding her shorter hair and pouty lips, she had lost the gleaming look of vulnerability she once occupied and what had replaced it was a tantalizing stare of endearing strength.

In saying this, there is more to high school than the physical transformation from adolescence to adulthood; there is also the transformation  only known within the premises of an individual’s mentality. We interviewed students from the senior class of 2017 in order to offer a glimpse into what high school has taught them, as well as their overall transition throughout their past four years in high school.

Ahmed Musa

What is the most important lesson you have learned in high school? And what has high school taught you about yourself?

“An important lesson I’ve learned is to not focus on minute details. Always think about the bigger picture of things and see what can benefit you, but as well as what can benefit other people. I learned to not get caught up in myself and become the person that helps when people are in need. Being the person that is always willing to help others has worked out for me and has made me into a stronger individual.”

What helped you realise this?

“I was constantly thinking about myself believing that I didn’t need certain things when maybe I did need them. I ended up feeling really superficial and I didn’t like the feeling so I knew something had to change. At Tustin High, it’s really easy to realize your mistakes because you have friends that want the best for you, but you push them away simply because you are too selfish to realize the good they are trying to do for you.”  


Karina Alvarez and Ashley Means

What is the most important lesson you have learned throughout high school?

Ashley Means: “The most vital lesson I’ve learned is to get involved in school since you can meet friends that way and it looks great for college.”

How have you changed throughout high school?

Karina Alvarez: “When I came into high school, I thought all people were innately good and I always tried to see the best in others. Through the years, I realized you can only completely trust a handful of people and I became more independent and unapologetic because of this.”


Arsal Bokhari

What has high school taught you about yourself/the world?

“High school has been a paradox. I’ve become more selfless, but more self-interested. I’ve become smarter, but I’m humbled by how much I still have left to learn. I have grown so much, and I still have so much to grow.”


Brandon Rossano

What have you learned throughout high school?

“If there was anything I learned after these last four years it would be that the only way for the world change is through hard work and determination. Things aren’t going to be easy, they never are, but that’s okay because it’s always going to be worth it in the end. No matter what happens or whatever brings you down, things don’t stay this way forever and this mentally should be more than enough to fuel the drive you need to finish everything. We all have what it takes to make a difference in this world, and it’s only a matter of time before it all becomes reality.”


Steven Medina

What is an important lesson you have learned throughout high school?

“High school has taught me to never focus on what other people are doing, but instead focus on what I’m doing and my goals for myself.”


Keely White

What has high school taught you about yourself/the world?

“High School has really taught me the importance of empathy. You never know what’s going on in other people’s lives and a kind act or even just smiling to somebody in the halls can brighten their whole day. We all go through hard times and it’s important not to tear each other down. I think that the biggest lesson I have learned in high school is that everything works out the way it is supposed to. I used to cry and stress over school and college, but looking back now [I know] it will all work out the way it’s supposed to. You will get over your breakup. You will get into the school you’re meant to go. Everything happens for a reason.”


Karley Bailey and Ayleen Murillo

What has high school taught you about the world/yourself?

Ayleen Murillo: “High school has made me realize how strong and independent of an individual I have become. I learned to stand my ground and live life. I’m stronger because I had to be. I’m smarter because of my mistakes, happier because of the sadness I’ve known, and now wiser because I’ve learned.”

Karley Bailey: “Starting high school, I had this misconception that by my senior year I’d have my whole life figured out. I thought that I’d marry my high school sweetheart and I’d somehow get accepted into my dream school. None of these things happened, but I’m happy they didn’t. In high school, I transitioned from someone completely co-dependent and naive to somebody I love—someone who is independent and fearless. That is probably the most important thing I’ve learned—that I need to live for myself and not for others. I saw that selflessness is just as evil as selfishness, which is why they need to coexist within all of us. I learned that my life can not be defined by some boy I admire from afar or by my fashion sense, but solely by my mentality, an open-mindedness to new perspectives, and an acceptance of that although we chronologically exit our adolescent years—we never become adults—we are always children; we will forever be vulnerable and fearful of new circumstances. I like to think that growing is living and that’s what high school is about—devising your individuality.”


Rodrigo Velazquez

What is an important lesson you have learned throughout high school?

“I learned to always keep the negative stuff away. It’s not really a lesson but it’s something people have always told me to not be afraid and always love yourself and do you. I mostly learned this stuff from my family and the friends I’ve made in high school, but not really from any of my classes or anything.”

How much do you think you’ve changed?

“Oh a lot. I feel like I grew mentally and physically. I’ve begun to love myself more and I’ve changed my lifestyle to veganism, (veganism is a lifestyle, not a diet), and I begun to care more for animals and the environment. Because of this, I have been able to love and appreciate the world more and more.”


Omar Meza

What has high school taught you about the yourself?

“Well, the basic rules of high school, just like in kindergarten and every other schooling you went to, was to not tell lies, and stay true to who you are and I think that’s the biggest lesson I have learned in high school. Not just learning to be honest on your grades or honest when cheating on a test, but most importantly just be honest with the way that you’re living. If you don’t like how you’re living then change it and if you like how life is going then keep it that way. If you feel like you should break up with your girlfriend, then break up with your girlfriend. Point is, be honest with yourself, and life will be so much better that way.”

How much do you think you’ve changed since freshman year?

“Uhhh significantly. First of all, I put on some pounds and now I’m not described as fat anymore. Apparently some time between sophomore and junior year I’m now considered “thick”, so that’s pretty good. Mentally, I’m probably the same, but responsibility wise I know I can handle things now. Freshman year I didn’t know how much capacity I had, but as a senior, shoot, now I’m set to talk in front of the whole school during assemblies. I discovered how much potential I really have and I’ve become less judgmental because if I didn’t think I had that capacity then I’ll end up thinking some people might not have that. I’ve learned that everybody is special in their own way and everyone should embrace themselves. I know I’ve embraced who I am.”  


Kim Hernandez and Sarah Hernandez

What is an important lesson you have learned throughout high school?

Sarah : “I think the most important thing I’ve learned is to stay headstrong and not caring about what other people think about you. As long as you’re happy and just keep doing what you do best.”

Kim: “Well she took mine, but it’s along the lines of what she said. I learned to not really think about what others have to say about you, just doing you and trying not to fit in or worry so much about fitting in.”

How much have you changed since freshman year?

Kim: “Probably a lot, but not too much because I’m still really immature but enough to know that I don’t have to think about what others have to say about me. I know that in the end whatever I do is for me and not for anyone else.”

Sarah: “I’ve matured very quickly since freshman year. I stopped caring about what people thought about me and I did the work that I had to do. I’m not really immature, so I’ve taken a lot of responsibility since freshman year until now.”


James Cruz

What has high school taught you about the world/yourself?

”High school has taught me that we all have to act genuine and act with transparency, because it truly goes far. It also taught me not to worry about the judgments, it’s all an act that people put up to hide their own true feelings. High school has also taught me that liking something different or doing something that usually goes out of the trend is really cool, and sooner or later people are going to start catching on to the same.”


Andrea Morales and Evelyn Rodriguez

What is an important lesson you have learned throughout high school?

Andrea: “The most important lesson I’ve learned in high school is to know how to balance your social life and academics. Moreover understanding how to manage your time. There is time for everything, but you should remember to not take all that time for granted because your high school years will impact you for your future career, whether you plan to go into the workforce or not. High school years are the youngest you’ll ever be, so you should obviously try your best and succeed, but you should also live your juvenile years to the fullest.”

Evelyn: “The most important lesson I’ve learned in high school was probably learning to accept change. At first, most people might see change as something bad and scary, but in reality change can be something so good in the long run. Change is normal, it happens and I think the sooner you adapt to it the better things will be for you.”


Chaise Moore

What is an important lesson you have learned throughout high school?

“The most important lesson I’ve learned in high school is to not wait to do things because I did that all four years, and it sucks when you’re writing a four page essay the night before. I think that’s the biggest thing I’ve learned, honestly. Another thing is to always be honest with people. Gossip will get around and it’s better to own up to what you said than to lie to people. If you feel a certain way about a person, just say it straight up.”

How much do you think you’ve changed since freshman year?

“Freshman year, I feel like I was very quiet and I wasn’t really out there. Senior year I’ve become involved in so much like yearbook, MUN, [and] I’m a Board of Education Representative, I’m in Link Crew, SADD Club, and AP classes. I’ve grown a lot as a leader and I feel like I’ve changed that way.”


A farewell note from us (the journalists:)

Nayeli and I have been writing for “The Pitchfork” for three years now. It brings me great sorrow to say that this is our last ever dynamic duo article. Over the past three years, we have brainstormed weekly for new, spontaneous articles to offer the Tustin High student body. Sometimes these articles had great success and brought amazing affirmations from our teachers and peers. Other times, we weren’t so fortunate. In the end, our goal in Journalism was not to solely vocalize the unheard marvels within Tustin High, but to vocalize the withheld fears as well. My best memories of high school happened in the Journalism program: with my closest friend, while typing away at a rant that no one would ever read, being neglected when we told people about our articles, and of course—having people acknowledge our creativity. I am eternally grateful to have had the opportunity to publish articles on this website and to have had a home away from home in my third period Journalism class. Most of all, thank you to Nayeli Medina for always being my partner in crime—no, wait—writing. – Karley Bailey

Karley and I have been collaborating since sophomore year, the first year journalism was reintroduced to the school. We love writing articles that appeal to students and staff alike and most of the time the feedback has been great, but there were times when people didn’t particularly agree. Karley is the one with the brains and all of the ideas, and I kind of just follow whatever she wants me to do. I have lots of fun though! There’s no doubt about that. This journalism class has been one of the best things I’ve done in high school and I’m definitely going to miss writing things for fun, something I never thought I’d say, but here I am. Thank you Mrs. Robinson, for giving us the opportunity to write whatever we want to write and encouraging us to be the best we can be. Thank you to everyone who’ve I met along the way and have taught me valuable lessons that I will never forget. And lastly, thank you Karley for being my “partner in writing” for all of these years. I’m going to miss writing with you and spending time with you everyday, regardless of your mood. We had a good run, don’t you think? – Nayeli Medina

5 Comments Add yours

  1. Ayleen says:

    This is great!! Love you guys

  2. rico says:

    Yessssss thickies! Wonderful article to wrap up the year !

  3. a b says:

    to the future of The Pitchfork – represent us well.

  4. Mr. Miguel says:

    Thank you Karley and Nayeli for all of the wonderful articles. Your contributions to both Tustin High and the Journalism program have been tremendous. You will be missed. Best of luck in all of your future endeavors and of course, “Once a Tiller, always a Tiller.”

  5. Mrs. Walters says:

    Nicely done! I really connected with all the nostalgia and authentic thoughts in this article. Thank you for your dedication to the Pitchfork and THS, and good luck in your promising futures. You will be missed!

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