By RENEE WANG
Whenever the Wildcats are down, she brings them back up with both supportive cheers and overflowing charisma. Leading as the president of the Associated Student Body (ASB) and cheer captain, senior Melanie Cruz sets herself as the precedent of star-quality leadership.
Over her high school career, Cruz found herself to have a recurring interest in encouraging school spirit. Cruz’s dedication and character in ASB and cheer pointed her towards becoming a role model for other students.
Attending her first ASB organized event, Cruz became interested in the organization process of school events, which promoted her to join the association in her sophomore year.
“In my freshman year, I remember attending an exciting rally on the first day of school. Seeing the amazing spirit [of the students] was a cool experience, and coming from middle school, we never had anything like that,” Cruz said. “Throughout the year, events like the Beat Los Altos (LA) rally, fall, spring, or winter sports rallies, really intrigued me. The spirit of the ASB family really caught my attention, and I wanted to be part of that.”
In addition to her ASB origins, Cruz had also revamped her childhood sport in high school, cheer.
“I have been doing cheer since I was seven, specifically all-star cheer. Originally, I did not plan on doing cheer in high school and just continued doing all-star outside of school hours. However, when our all-star gym closed, I decided to try out for Wilson’s cheer team,” Cruz said.
From her commitment to the particular sport, Cruz would find herself tied to the sport in all of her high school career, starring now as a cheer captain.
As a result of Cruz’s involvement in both cheer and ASB, this allowed her to experience behind-the-scenes planning and front-stage performances in notable events like the rivalry games.
“For both cheer and ASB, the rivalry games are the most memorable. It gets crazy for ASB—we start setting up all the posters and coming up with rally ideas,” Cruz said. “During the football games, cheering is extremely [enjoyable] because there are tons of people there to interact with.”
While Cruz is faced with many time-consuming activities, she never fails to remind herself of the reasons she does these activities in the first place.
“It does get hard and stressful, sometimes to the point where I have to compromise sleep. [However], I always tell myself that it is still worth it because when I see [our cheer team] hit the stunts and routines we worked so hard on, it is definitely [deserving] of our time and effort. Same with ASB, when I see people [participating] in rally games, it is [fulfilling] to know that the student body is having [so much] fun,” Cruz said.
Overall, Cruz’s diligence is shown from her academic performance and leadership roles. Her excellence stems from her integrity and good communication, not just from participation.
With her schedule packed tight, Cruz acknowledges that her extracurriculars can cause her to lose sight of taking care of herself and spending time with others.
“Sometimes getting too involved in school makes me worry about my other responsibilities or academics. I feel like I stress a lot about those things and forget that I need to relax sometimes,” Cruz said. “Last year, even my [social life] was limited, because there were just too many responsibilities I had to take care of.”
During these hard times, Cruz still perseveres with her positive character to spread enjoyment to the student body.
“In the end, it was worth it. Sometimes when I look back, it was difficult to keep track of time and events, but overall, seeing everyone else happy makes me happy,” Cruz said.
Looking back on her freshman year, Cruz recognizes the positive effects of playing a major role as the ASB president and cheer captain.
“With both extracurriculars, I feel like I have gained more confidence. In freshman year, I was more insecure and not as open to talking to people. Back then, I [always] just minded my own business,” Cruz said. “I feel like that experience has [encouraged] me to talk to more people comfortably.”
Over her years in Wilson, Cruz expresses that she has learned the importance of being open-minded to others, especially in high school.
“Sometimes people come into high school with certain expectations that are not exactly the same. I feel like you need to be open-minded because, there is a very diverse student body on campus. [For example], if you are into a certain sport, most likely you’ll find your friends there. Even if you are not that sociable, it is very important to build relationships in high school.” Cruz said.
Accordingly, looking at her involvement and excellent academics, Cruz states that it was thanks to the support of her loved ones.
“For me, my mom and sister [in particular] encourages me to always do better. My mom works very hard for me [despite] being a single parent. She has always supported me in what I wanted to do,” Cruz said. “She is very open-minded, and I feel like that has shaped me in the way I am today. My mom has always been my number-one.”
For now, Cruz desires to keep her options for colleges open. She hopes to attend a school that will fit her best in lifestyle and academics with a possible path in political science.
As the representative of all students of Wilson, Melanie Cruz certainly sets herself as living her high school life to the fullest, both as a great leader, hard-working student and an outstanding individual.