The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the lives of students dramatically. From in-class sessions to distant learning, most affected in all of this is the graduating class of 2020. To honor each class and the hard work they have put in, CBS 4 is honoring valedictorians from each campus across the Rio Grande Valley on CBS 4 Valley This Morning.
ALAMO, Texas (KVEO) — Jesus Eguia is the valedictorian for Vanguard Mozart Secondary in Alamo.
Jesus says changing to at-home school has been difficult because he’s an extrovert and thrives off of being around people. He’s involved in lots of groups, and it’s been challenging to continue some of his roles in leadership.
“I need the communication with people I need a social life, and that’s a big component of my senior year, speaking with organizations.”
He knows many other students are struggling with feeling disconnected. But he’s found a silver lining.
“Luckily I have music to cope with, that and Zoom and Facebook with my friends.”
He looks back on his senior year as a time of change.
“I enjoyed every single minute of it but It, I kind of was left on a sour note there because I really wanted to embrace senior year and have closure.”
His courses in engineering are dependent on having a teacher present, so that made figuring out how to keep up with his courses challenging. He’s had to navigate adapting to learning online with courses that are reliant on a teacher being present, as his courses require a teacher to break down complex problems.
Still though, he says abiding by shelter-at-home orders is well worth it.
“Once you understand why we’re going through this, I feel like it’s a little bit more understandable and it helps us understand ok, this is bigger than us, the class of 2020. It was a big drastic change but luckily we can adapt very well and we’re a technology-driven class.”
Through it all, Jesus remains grateful that this lockdown has given him more time to evaluate his priorities.
“Now I take time off everything. I have time to spend with my family at home and to reconnect with all of my friendships I’ve gathered throughout my high school years. It’s been a blessing to take time off, space everything out, and help me reconfigure my plans for after high school. It kind of gave me time to take in what was happening and adapt, but also to re-plan and schedule the things I had for after high school.”
He’s learned he’s capable of overcoming more than he realized.
“You always underestimate what you can do. Once you understand that, ‘hey I was able to go through this big, big change.’ Once you adapt to that, you say, ‘hey I can accomplish this, I can do much more. Then everything becomes similar.”
Like many students, he has a new appreciation for family, and his school.
“I would have never been here if it wasn’t for my mother, my family, my high school. My high school is my family too as well. It’s my home.”
He plans to complete his associates in engineering, attending UTRGV in the fall. He wants to get into civil engineering management. He would like to work in project management.