Angie Says Thank You

Angelina Rios-Galindo takes us through her 4 years at El Mo

When I first stepped foot onto the El Modena campus, I had no idea what to expect. I was afraid to take the high positions of leadership, and was drowning in imposter syndrome. Now, almost four years later, I find myself with a full ride to Brown University and unwavering appreciation for all of the opportunities this school has offered me.

I hit the ground running, coming from middle school ASB and running for freshman class secretary. It was a long shot, I thought, but I ended up pulling out a win and making so many amazing friends along the way. Spirit Week activities are like no other, to say the least, and that little taste of EMHS spirit made me hungry for more. So, I ran again for class secretary and secured a spot on ASB as publicity for my sophomore year. It goes unsaid that being on ASB is a lot of hard work, but it’s also given me some of the best memories and connections that I know I’ll keep forever. After spending two years making murals and painting posters, I was elected ASB President and had the fortune to lead this incredible student body in a year like we’ve never seen.

Outside of ASB and class leadership, I found new homes in many of the clubs that we proudly host. Keeping in mind my passion for community service, I joined groups like Key Club, Interact Club, Red Cross Club, and the National Honor Society. I was in awe of the fact that we had ties to so many nationally and internationally recognized organizations, and I knew I wanted to do more for them. I became the publicity officer for all four of these clubs, as well as for Tutoring Club, and even earned the title of NHS President for my senior year. I learned not only how to work well in a team but how to be thorough and inclusive, all qualities that will stay with me during college and beyond. Making the change from in-person to online was arduous, but even that has taught me so much about time management, communication, and my own capabilities. I can specifically thank the National Honor Society and my club support system for the revival of my self confidence, and for my realization that I can make a difference both on my campus and in our community.

I always knew I wanted to work with kids, but I didn’t know where to start; so, when two representatives from Big Brothers Big Sisters came into my Child Development class, I knew that I found my first step. BBBS is a national nonprofit organization that aims to match elementary-aged students called “Littles” with high school students called “Bigs.” I fell in love with their mission statement of “igniting potential” and providing children with role models that they might not otherwise have. I became the co-founder and co-president of El Modena’s first chapter of BBBS, and enrolled as a High School Big as well. I can confidently say that this program changed my life, and gave me the direction I needed to make real change.

Beyond small clubs and new beginnings, it’s equally important to seek out opportunities that are long-standing and large-scale. I took many CTE classes, participated in a professional internship, joined the PTSA, was a student representative on SITE council, and became the yearbook copy editor. I learned how to present myself in a professional setting, how to talk to parents and adults, the ins and outs of El Mo, and the significance of reaching out to our peers.

The EMHS community is so enriching and inviting, and I am so grateful to be able to call myself a devoted Vanguard. I definitely encourage all of our students, especially our underclassmen, to put themselves out there and take a chance– you never know where it might take you. I had no idea that, by the end of my high school career, I would be headed to the east coast (let alone an Ivy League school), but that just goes to show what one leap of faith, one ounce of initiative, and a supportive community can do for you. Thank you to all of our amazing teachers, staff, and of course our students, for making El Mo my favorite place to be.