What does it take to get accepted to Princeton, graduate a tennis star with a 4.65 GPA, and earn the title of Salutatorian? Just ask Andres de la Lama, graduating senior with the 2020 class of Coronado High School.
“If I were to offer advice to other students, it would be to find something they are passionate about, and make educational decisions in service of that passion,” says Andres.
Although the graduating festivities aren’t…well…as festive as they’ve been in the past, Andres is determined to make the best of the situation.
“Obviously, the lockdown hasn’t been easy on anyone, but I’ve been using this time to study for APs and write,” says Andres. “Receiving news about Salutatorian was very exciting, but there’s not much we can do right now while the stay at home order is in place. My friends and I have been keeping in touch through weekly online poker games.”
Andres has indeed found his passion, and that is writing. He plans on studying English with Creative Writing when he attends Princeton in the fall, whether that is remotely or as a resident. (He says he will find out in July if Princeton will resume in-person classes.)
“My dream job is to one day become a writer-director for feature films,” says Andres. “I’ve wanted to become a writer since I was in middle school.”
Andres, in fact, has been writing for The Coronado Times since his freshmen year. He took charge of the crime blotter and headed up the high school sports column for two years in addition to writing other articles. All in all, he’s written more than 300 stories.
“My favorite kind of stories to write are profiles, but I most enjoyed covering the school board meeting headed by the Coronado Teachers Association, demanding a pay raise,” says Andres. See that story here.
Andres says he’s passionate about Coronado schools, and has been attending schools on the island since kindergarten. He attended Christ Church Day School through sixth grade, then transitioned to Coronado Middle School for seventh and eighth grade.
“I love all of the diverse opportunities offered by the faculty and staff,” says Andres. “The AP program in particular has been extremely rewarding, having the challenge of taking many college-level courses at a high school campus.”
Andres is grateful to have had amazing teachers along the way.
“The faculty, in particular, are peerless; Coronado is fortunate enough to have such brilliant teachers, working tirelessly to help their students,” says Andres.
Andres has also taken the time to help those less fortunate. He is a proud member and president of the nonprofit, “Days for Girls,” which helps girls in developing countries obtain disposable hygiene products.
“Girls in these countries end up missing a third of their scholastic year because they are barred from going to school during menstruation,” says Andres. “Our organization seeks to remove this stigma. I felt that I needed to get involved because I’m a firm believer in insuring educational equity.”
Although Andres currently lives over the bridge in Chula Vista, he enjoys having a new sense of perspective.
“What I like most about living off-island is being able to look from the outside in,” says Andres. “I live close to the border, and I would go to Mexico all the time, so being able to see the contrast between Tijuana and Coronado has been eye-opening.”
Andres says he loves how calm Coronado is, and looks forward to Saturday afternoons playing tennis. But…first things first.
“The first thing I’ll do when the lockdown is lifted, is go to the hair salon,” says Andres. (A well-deserved visit indeed.)
To read some of Andres’ writing on Coronado Times, check out this link.