Patriot Voices: Highlights of 9th Grade
Gabriel Lopez Self Portrait

I'm Gabriel Lopez and I want to share with you the highlights of my 9th grade journey thus far. When I was entering, I had heard stories about what one must accomplish in high school to enter a great college.  I was nervous about starting 9th grade for it's the moment when things do start to matter. So many thoughts crossed my mind, “What do I need to do to stand out?” and “I don't know what I'm doing…”. However I did know one thing, I was going to make the best of it. I was eager to make more friends, try new activities, and uncover new interests; 9th grade had a lot in store for me.  

Diving into the Unkown
So when the first semester started, I was ready to try something new.  After some peer pressure, I joined the swim team.  Now my previous experiences with swimming were mostly drowning so I knew this was going to be interesting. However, to my surprise, I started to develop a liking for swimming. Now I didn't actually win any recognition for swimming other than having a terrible butterfly stroke (a little better on free), so overall I would give myself a meh on performance. I did make new friends and my teammates were always supportive.  Another thing I did was join “Speech and Debate”, here I am doing a bit better. Somehow in my first competition, I earned 3rd place.  I have and will continue to work hard……...hours of studying or as some people would describe it “having no life”. 

Being a Sweat and a bit of Circus Life
This no-life syndrome is often present as I want to go to a great college and I’m a sweat. I make sure my grades are good and my extracurriculars are strong.  It took a couple of months for me to begin to relax and have more fun. For example, I also tried playing soccer, and I'm proud to say I made JV bench. I had never played soccer before. Just like swimming I also enjoyed it and I would practice to improve my ball control. One comment I remember from soccer was that whenever I got the ball it was as if circus music would start playing as I had no control. It was as if I was that circus elephant balancing on a ball……but not as graceful. 

Academics, academics! 
I can’t say it didn’t take a lot of work.  Had plenty of days worried about the grade I thought I had gotten on a summative and others spent having to edit an essay over and over to get the grade.  There were new subjects like Biology I realized I liked a lot more than I would have expected, and subjects like art that continued to remain a passion.  Check out my self-portrait still in process.

Now this first semester did yield a lot of fantastic results. I had a blast, enjoying the old and new friendships, activities, and sports, and classes.  When I think about how to put my best foot forward, I think to enjoy the moment. As the second semester starts, I still want good grades and to thrive in my clubs, but continue to balance those with having fun. High school only happens once. 

Thank you to 9th Grader, Gabriel Lopez for his Patriot Voices contribution. If you would like to contribute to the Patriot Voices student blog, please email junior, Cathy Philip.