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Dear SCPA students,

Every year, countless friends and family move on after graduation to enter the real world. Though they may not be present on campus, they will always be there in spirit, and we can still learn from the choices they made before leaving us on graduation day through words of wisdom.

More specifically, we can learn from how they prepared for college and real-world situations. We’ve asked these questions to ready future generations of the struggles they will face in their senior year.


What are some things you wish you had known, as you went into senior year?

Henry Ly

How to best balance everything between college apps and extracurricular activities and maintaining those, and making sure you’re continuing to focus on school. I think the best thing you can do is to keep working hard at those areas and be sure to make room for college applications, because that’s not something you really tend to focus on before. And then you get woken up by it, in first semester especially. You just have to be prepared for balancing that and everything else. Henry Ly (Valedictorian)

Going into senior year I wish I would have known how important it is to have good relationships with your teachers, because for some college apps you need good letters of recommendation. Jeremiah Sameniago (Instrumental Music) (Salutatorian)

Well I wish I had known my own personal limits, I think I overloaded myself sometimes with a lot of my work. I made a lot of commitments I don’t think I handled very well so that lead to a lot of stress and a lot of tough little situations where I had to prioritize something over another. So I think it’s really important that now I know my limits so I know what I can handle and what I can’t. Luis Gonzales (No Major) (Salutatorian)

I wish I would’ve known that friends will change, you’ll have all different friends. That you get this feeling of senior year and you know it’s gonna be the end but you don’t really understand what that means until it’s the end. And then, it’s just done. I wish I knew that it would feel like that. I wish I knew how freeing it was going to feel, high school feels so trapping to some people and it just feels like I’m free soon, and it’s great. It’s not as hard as people make it out to be, you will have hard classes: but it’s really not that bad if you can manage your time and still remember to enjoy the last year of high school. Ace Carpenter (Vocal Major)

My audition material, definitely going into senior year especially if you’re a theater major you need to have an idea of what kind of material you’ll be using to get into colleges and I wish I had paid attention to scholarships more as a junior. Know who your friends are, know who you are because things will fall about senior year. Ryan Manikowski (Theater Major)


What’s one of your biggest regrets of Senior Year?

For me, it was not spending much time away from working on everything. Because I kinda isolated myself from friends and other people. That’s my biggest thing in the more social aspect. Henry Ly

Not getting to know the other people in my class as well as I wish I did. I only came pretty close to knowing less than a quarter of the people in my class. Jeremiah Sameniago

Thinking that I had senioritis before I did. I thought first semester in I have senioritis, that it was going to be bad. No, now I have senioritis. It’s the last week of school and I stared at my wall for an hour yesterday not studying, because I didn’t want to. Ace Carpenter

Not sticking with the right people. Ryan Manikowski


Is there anything you wish you had done?

I wish I had decided to apply to private universities, I think one of the biggest mistakes that I made this year was not applying to private universities. I only applied to CSUs and UCs, and I had a pretty high GPA and test score. Jeremiah Sameniago

I wish I had spent more time with my friends, I think that a lot of my social element of senior year was really downplayed. I really focused on my academics and it paid off, but I think I missed out on a lot of opportunities to hang out with my friends and developed those friendships before I leave off to college. Luis Gonzales


Is there anything you wish you hadn’t done?

I think that there are sometimes that maybe when I was a little selfish and wanted just a little time for me but I think I could’ve made time for my friends. It’s not like they pushed me or anything, I wanted to and it would’ve been nice to spend a little more time with them and my family too. Luis Gonzales

I wish I had gone out and done more stuff, to explore the city.I feel like I have done a lot and I have participated in a lot of things but I wish I done more. Because now it’s like I don’t have any more chances to put things down on applications or resumes for high school. Ace Carpenter

I wish I’d talk to people more. I think one of the saddest parts of senior years is that we come together as a family when it’s a little bit too late and it gets really bittersweet. Class of 2017 was really divided, and at the end we can kind of got together and now we have three days left and now we just got a family and now we’re just going to leave it. Ryan Manikowski

As a senior all your grades are important to you and your grades will follow throughout college and throughout your life. So I do believe that the one thing I could’ve changed was my work ethics. Jayson Salud

Is there anything you wish you hadn’t done?

I wish I hadn’t been so afraid to do things while I was here, you just got to do whatever you do as long as it’s school appropriate. Just go out there and talk to people, you’re going to go through a lot of wrong people before you get to the right people. Ryan Manikowski

Other than procrastination, nothing else. Jayson Salud



What was your favorite class this year and why?

I really enjoyed Creative Writing with Coolican, I also really enjoyed AP US Government with Ms. Berg. I really enjoyed creative writing because Coolican is a very relaxed teacher, he’s very nice. The way he structures his classes is very open for creativity and allowing you to express yourself in whatever way you can. It’s also a very welcoming and inclusive environment. For AP US Government, I really liked that class because it really discusses a lot of important things about the way the word that we’re going into functions, and how we’re a part of that bigger system, and also just engaging in class discussions on these important topics. Henry Ly

I think my favorite class this year was AP Gov/Politics with Ms. Berg mostly because for me, personally, that was a break in terms of history classes, because the pace is a little bit slower. But the information you learn is a little bit more practical considering how when you leave for senior year you’re entering the real world. Understanding politics and how the world works is something I liked doing this year. Jeremiah Sameniago

Jeremiah Sameniago


My favorite class this year was AP-Biology, originally I wasn’t going to take it but Ms. Babbey pushed me to and then it was really great on a lot of things. That I loved the subject and I think that’s what I’m going to study when I go off to college. Luis Gonzales

Music theory is the best to me. The teacher, Mr. Quiroz, who teaches music theory is really sweet and nice so that’s good. So if you aren’t taking AP Theory next year, if you’re taking music theory you’ll probably enjoy it because he’s like a chill man. Ace Carpenter

My favorite classes this year would be my Theater 7-8 and Musical Theater PNP, those are my favorite classes allowed me to open up to the person and preparing me for the real world. Outside of the arts is probably Berg’s class, even though she was really tough on us. Ryan Manikowski

Well, one of my favorite classes is martial arts, and the reason why is– it’s a whole different community in the martial arts room to me. It’s like a second family where everyone is learning to protect each other and it builds a lot of strong friendships within, and at the same time it’s just super fun and all of the fun memories of the class, that’s what I really enjoy. Jayson Salud


Do you have any tips for incoming seniors regarding college applications?

Definitely, do your research now, get a feel for what you want to do, what colleges you want to apply for, what majors you might be interested in. And then really try to look at essays that you may have to write, maybe draft a few of them over the summer so you’re not just going in fresh into the school year, college apps and school work at the same time. You’ll have college apps already started at least. Just make sure you stay organized, keep a to-do list of everything you have to complete for the college applications. Like making sure that you get in contact with your counselors, sending transcripts, letters of recommendation, SAT scores, ACT scores, and making sure to do your research for what colleges need what things. Henry Ly

Know the importance of standardized testing you’re not just a number but it’s actually a reality that you’re really important. Try to block out your times very well so you can manage your times very well, writing, testing, and school, and try to balance everything out. And start your essays early, don’t leave anything to the last minute. Luis Gonzales

For colleges, I would do my research during the summer. Ideally, there’s the basic high GPA, recommendations, and personal statements. Start applications early, most of them open up during the summer time. Jeremiah Sameniago

If you’re going to go, get them in on time, don’t push it off for a really long time and do it last minute. Don’t be afraid to ask your teachers and counselors to look at different applications or essays ‘cause they will totally be willing to. Apply to a ton of places ‘cause you only got to pick one in the end. So just apply to as many as you can. If college isn’t right for you, you don’t have to go right away. You’re allowed to wait. Ace Carpenter

Just zero draft your essays over the summer, even if you only do it twice and look at the different applications and look at common prompts and when you’re writing your essays pull as many stops as you can. If you’re a minority definitely use it, I’m mostly perceived as a straight white male so I don’t have a lot of cards to pull– but use as many cards. Like if someone in your family has died recently talk about how that may be affecting you or if someone has a terminal illness that they’ve been battling talk about an event for you that’s been hard for you that you had to push through. If you don’t have something like that, show your passion, show who you are, show what you want to do, and if you’re unsure just stick to something, cling to it– and I’m pretty sure you’ve done this– bullcrap your way through it. Ryan Manikowski


Is there anything in particular that you think the incoming seniors should know?

Use this last summer to the best of your advantage, as you finish up this school year, you might just want to relax before senior year, but you really–I think– need to take advantage of these last few months for community service or getting involved in something, so you have more to put on your resume. Henry Ly

Do what makes you happy. Make some time for yourself, remember to make some time for your family, keep doing what you’re doing and try to make yourself happy. Luis Gonzales  

Ace Carpenter

Don’t feel freaked out by the impending sense of college, don’t let it scare you into doing or not doing anything. Be flexible, senior year really is a year of changes. People change their ideas and beliefs change, your parents will change because you’re leaving them just be ready to be flexible with everything that’s happening because that’s changing. Ace Carpenter

Incoming seniors should know the aspect of respect, and when I look at underclassmen coming up I sense a larger sense of disrespect and a more rebellious nature that’s not really directed well and as incoming seniors, I would like for you guys to be respectful. I know it’s going to be a tough time next year because a whole bunch of teachers are going to be cut, a lot of teachers are moving around and you guys are kind of in the dark and you guys need to know that the alumni I here for you call us and we’ll try to visit and we’ll try and talk to faculty. You have a voice as much as the staff does. Ryan Manikowski

Senior year can be very easy, just be sure that you guys are always on top of your work– that you guys don’t get lazy. ‘Cause that’s the one thing that’s going to make you fail. Jayson Salud


Who/what was the biggest help to you in general?

Talking to counselors, teachers, try to get close to teachers you really like. Ask them for advice, ask them for help. Definitely really helpful for me, because I knew Mrs. Cash from last school year, and she helped me with going over my essays, and she also wrote me letters of recommendation, she helped with the process overall. Henry Ly

I don’t think anyone in specific helped me this year since I didn’t really have any questions I needed to have answered this year– but for seniors– I would say, your counselor is one of the most important people who can help you. And not in terms of academics, I guess having a good support system with your friends throughout the year.  Jeremiah Sameniago

A program that I go to called Reality Changes for first-generation college students, and they gave me support with college apps and they help me write it, they gave me tutoring and I stayed there really late at night and I have my own advisor and they help me with the whole application process. Luis Gonzales

My mom, she’s been my best supporter through deciding what I want to do in picking. Even though I’ve picked not the norm path that people take after high school. She’s very much supported me and is behind me, and giving me all the motivation to know that what I’m doing is okay on my career path. Ace Carpenter

Ryan Manikowski

Real world experience would probably be Berg, having teachers that are tough on you and although you may not like it some of them actually have a purpose. Berg’s one of those teachers, that it is tough and it may seem unfair but that is the real world– that’s how it’s going to be. There’s going to be a lot of projects senior year, you’re set up to fail but you pass whether you stick to your opinion or not. I think that it’s important that you stick to what you know, you stand your ground. Ryan Manikowski

Over the past years, I’ve been getting decent grades, but I could do better and a lot of my friends and family have been giving me the motivation to work even harder than before. So now that I’ve inherited that motivation it now inspires me to keep moving and working hard. Jayson Salud


What was your favorite thing about senior year?

Moving forward, Because you’re at a point in your life where you’re moving on from something you’ve been so used to– for me– for the past seven years. And really you get nostalgic and sentimental, but you’re also happy and looking forward to new things, you’re saying goodbye to old things. And it’s like a mix of all of these emotions, but it’s overall a positive feeling. I got into 11 colleges. Henry Ly  

Realizing that this is the last year of high school, so if there’s stuff that you didn’t do that you wanna do, now is a perfect time. And if there are things you regret, it’s also time to let those things go. Jeremiah Sameniago

The fun parts that seniors get to do. All the cool stuff that’s saved for seniors. Just bonding with the class this year- last year no one even knew I was a senior and this year people do and I actually know who other seniors are and it’s really nice to be able to connect with people that are my age and understand things that are going on with someone in my position is. Ace Carpenter

I had some really good memories, and some tough ones too, but my good memories were with people and for me, I really enjoyed the college application process– it was tough but I learned so much about myself and I think it was some really valuable information. Luis Gonzales

My favorite thing senior year would probably be meeting a whole bunch of people, although it’s kind of bad timing senior year to just all of a sudden to meet and talk to a lot of people– just seeing the future of this school Class of ‘18 I know you can pick up the slack– and the classes under it I haven’t seen you as much but I know if you keep following, keep building the school is going to be in good shape despite losing a lot of things. Ryan Manikowski

My favorite thing about senior year, is our senior exhibition. Being a part of the visual arts major, it’s one of the most important finals you could ever have ‘cause it’s one of those times where you get to express your work– you get to be super passionate about yourself. Jayson Salud


What are some things incoming seniors should do in preparation for senior year?

Use this last summer to get involved, I pursued an internship in a research laboratory. That really boosted my applications and my resume. Work hard to give yourself experience, build up your resume, applications, build up your character over this last summer. Henry Ly

Try not –even though it is the last year– to get into the mindset that this is the last year of high school. One of the biggest things that people do once they get into senior year is that they start to get extremely lazy, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing, but it’s not a good thing either. And in preparation, I would get ready for the pressure of the first semester, it’s really what matters the most in senior year. Cause you have your college apps. The second semester, don’t let your grades drop if you get into a college, or the college will take away your admission if your grades drop to a certain degree. Jeremiah Sameniago

Start researching colleges that you want to do, researching different careers– you don’t have to pick one but look into a bunch of them and see what it takes to do them. Make friends with everyone it’s really nice senior year everyone’s stressing out, so if you are just lowkey friends with the majority of the people it’s really nice because you can just go up to them and go ‘help’ and anyone would help you because they think they’re your friends. Ace Carpenter

Explore another art form, try new healthy things. Ryan Manikowski

Honestly, if you have a plan or a field you want to do for college for a particular job I’d say take the classes now. I’d say take all the advanced classes for you to succeed to get into college. Jayson Salud


Do you have any tips for students of your major going into senior year? Is there anything they should do before senior year/during senior year?

Good luck, mostly because most of the instrumental music majors will have to take AP music theory, which doesn’t have a good reputation. At the same time, I would say to enjoy this last year. And aside from that, learn to balance your time, because when you perform, you’re representing your school, if people come to the concerts and your music is bad, then it tells them that your music program is bad. So practice but balance your time with everything else. Jeremiah Sameniago

If you’re here and you love your art then keep at it. Luis Gonzales

Jayson Salud

Those of you that are still in vocal majors next year even though they’re getting rid of it, stay strong vocal arts is totally valid and a real thing in the world. I don’t know why they’re getting rid of it. Pursue it, go to college if you want to. Don’t let the school getting rid of it persuade you to be a musical theater person if you’re not. If you’re a singer, just be a singer and be happy. Do independent studies and get a voice teacher if you can’t trust the school anymore- do it yourself. Start building your own voice that’s independent of that of the choral voice, start finding out what your style is what you’re good at singing, try learning an instrument- that’s always helpful. Ace Carpenter

Respect your creative writers because without the creative writers we wouldn’t have any work. Ryan Manikowski

When you guys are doing your senior exhibition, it’s very hard to come up with a theme: but what I did with mine do something that affected your life. This is coming from words of a senior that graduated last year named Avery Montoya. Who told me those words when I was struggling to find out what my senior exhibition was– and I hope you can pass on these words to future juniors turning into seniors. Jayson Salud


Sincerely Class of 2017’s Seniors,

Ace Carpenter, Henry Ly, Jayson Salud, Jeremiah Sameniago, Luis Gonzales, and Ryan Manikowski,

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About the Writer
Perla Limon, Editor in Chief
Editor-In-Chief for the school year of 2017-2018 Jack of all trades, lover of all writing formats, Perla A. Limon has attended SCPA since 6th grade. She has written for The Production since 2016 and is back for the school year of 2017-2018 as an Editor-in-Chief (EIC) and contributor alongside Ahnayah Hughes, Isaiah Lynch, and Jennifer...
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