Just go with the flow

New to the Downey High School campus, Stephanie Gonzalez meets her first and best friend, senior Marlene Oropeza, in her ROP dance class during the first week. “At first it was overwhelming because I didn’t know anyone, but I love the friends that I‘ve made and the people I’ve met,” Gonzalez stated.

Mireya Navarro, Staff Writer

After living with her dad in Boyle Heights since she was a child, Stephany “Sam” Gonzalez, 12, made a change in her life when she moved to Downey with her mom and left her history in Boyle Heights.


Leaving Boyle Heights caused her to leave cheerleading as well. Gonzalez discovered her passion for cheerleading as a freshman and it became a major part of her life. What broke her the most was leaving what she loves and used as an escape.


“I was going to be captain this year,” Gonzalez said, “but I had to make an unselfish decision and move.”


Due to the change, Gonzalez decided not to consider joining cheer in Downey High, but she is in R.O.P Dance.


“Everything was and still kind of is overwhelming,” Gonzalez stated. “I just want to take things step by step.”

Gonzalez went from going to a school of a one two-story building [Oscar de la Hoya Charter School], to attending Downey High School, where over 4,000 students attend.


“The first day was really hard,” Gonzalez stated, “but I adjusted quickly.”


Unlike Gonzalez’s old school, Downey High gives her many options when it comes to choosing classes.


“It’s like a sort of freedom that I didn’t have at my other school,” Gonzalez said.


Not only does Gonzalez have more freedom when choosing classes, but also with the way she dresses. She enjoys being able to wear whatever she desires instead of the same uniform 5 times a week.


“I hated the uniforms,” Gonzalez stated. “They were uncomfortable and ugly.”

Because of Gonzalez’s sense of humor and social tactics, making friends is not a problem for her. On her first week, she had already made a friend, Marlene Oropeza, 12, who is now a close friend.


“When I first met Sam,” Oropeza said, “I knew she would be that friend that would make my senior year worthwhile.”


Gonzalez knew that coming to Downey High was going to be a completely different life style, so she put her social skills into effect and made friends.


Gonzalez’s friend, Savannah Zubiate, 12, met Stephany because she was being so talkative in class.

“She’s like a social butterfly,” Zubiate said. “When I first met her, I didn’t know she was new to this school. She was talking to everyone as if she knew them for years.”


It is easy for Gonzalez to talk to people and have an on-going conversation but she does miss the friends that she has actually known since she was a kid. The number one thing she misses from her old school is seeing familiar faces everyday.


“I miss my old school because I knew absolutely everyone in my grade,”

Gonzalez stated, “at the most, I didn’t know two people.”


Gonzalez has learned and has accepted the change. Although Downey High School differs from her old school, she appreciates that she was able to come out of her comfort zone.