Senior Daniela Lopez becomes a trailblazer and mentor through Compas while representing her Hispanic community
As the school bell signals the start of the tutorial period, senior Daniela Lopez along with seniors Lupita Uribe and Angie Mariscal walk to the front of the classroom for the weekly motivational pep talk. As Lopez takes her place, she looks into the faces of the students. She sees the expectant faces of young adults who are making the effort to be successful in a country they don’t yet understand. In their faces, she sees a reflection of herself. Lopez knows that had her own parents not come to America when they did she could have been in the students’ place, sitting in the chair and looking for their opportunity for success. She could have been a foreigner in a country of hope and hard work. This is her chance to do her part and give these students a second chance.
Lopez has always has had a passion for hard work and success. Being in AVID for four years, joining M.E.Ch.A, helping start Compas, and being a key player in the “Day without Immigrants” protest in school, Lopez has become a leader in her community.
“She has been a leader from the very beginning, in terms of mentoring students, showing them that if you work hard you can go to college. So I see her as a leader on campus. [She is] somebody who is passionate about giving back to her fellow students.” said history teacher Geof Land, who has been a huge role in the success of Compas.
Lopez’s own success has been the product of her parent’s hard work. Her parents immigrated from Mexico 24 years ago in search of a better life which has always pushed Lopez to become an accomplished student with a GPA of 4.36. Lopez’s brother has graduated from UC Berkeley and she plans to follow in his footsteps by attending his alma mater. Lopez plans to double major in business and economics, and after she receives her bachelor’s she plans on either working for an MBA or attending law school for corporate law.
Lopez’s interest in law was sparked by the Chicano Latino Youth Leadership Project, a week-long summer program in Sacramento, which she attended last summer.
“Through the program, we get to run mock campaigns, hear guest speakers… I met a lot of Latina lawyers and it was really inspiring to see such powerful women,’’ Lopez said.
The differences that Lopez is making in high school have a lot to do with the program, Compas, that she helped start with fellow M.E.Ch.A members. The program helps ELL students (English Language Learners) through tutoring and expanding their knowledge to earn the grades they desire. Lopez herself tutors two ELL students, freshman Diana Rojo and Leobardo Moreno.
“[After the pep talk] we then go into our separate groups. We first go over their grades and make a plan as to what grades we want to bring up. I tend to mostly help them with algebra and sometimes English.” Lopez said.
The Day Without Immigrants protest on Feb. 16, 2017, became another proud moment for Lopez. The demonstration was about the importance of immigrants in the United States and became a historical moment for the high school when students marched together with Lopez at the forefront. Lopez says that the protest was a special event for her during her high school career.
“[Compas] was what kind of fueled our protest with [some] kids not being there and we wanted everyone to become aware of the circumstances that many have to go through,” said Lopez, who planned at PRHS the protest that morning with fellow students.
Lopez is a true leader and has left her mark through her leadership and passion for making a difference. She has worked to make the campus a better place and has provided opportunities for ELL students which were not available before. Lopez will continue her success at UC Berkeley and make a difference in the world.