Elena Crowley-Ornelas Class of 2002 return to list >
The Escuela class of 2009 was honored to have Elena Crowley-Ornelas, 2002 Escuela graduate, speak to them at graduation. Elena graduated from Sandia Prep this year and will be attending the University of San Diego this fall to study marine biology. Here are Elena's words of wisdom:
"My name is Elena and 7 years ago I was standing in your shoes. My feet are the same size as they were back then but I can tell you, they are the only thing that has remained the same in the past 7 years. I was one of four kids graduating when I was in 5th grade; Ms. Shad was my teacher, and back in my day tuition was 10 cents a month -- just kidding. But oh, how things change.
You are about to enter the most formative years of your entire life. You will be almost unrecognizable after this transformation. Some of the things you can look forward to are things like school dances, sports teams, responsibilities, drama, driving, girlfriends, boyfriends, close friends. Classmates you never thought you would talk to again are going to be pivotal people in your lives. You can look forward to uncomfortable sports bras, embarrassing voice crackings and waking up an inch taller every morning. There will be pop quizzes, dress-codes, wanting to break the dress-code, tardy slips, text books, late study nights, finals, midterms, and morning announcements. But the greatest thing is that you will be ahead in all your classes. The things I learned in 5th grade were all the things that I needed to know until freshman year in high school. You have absolutely nothing to worry about academically, because although other schools do not have the intimate teaching style as Escuela, your education here has developed your skills so that you can succeed in any teaching environment.
I went from Escuela to Catholic school, two vastly different environments. I first appreciated the uniqueness of Escuela on Earth Day. After years of dressing up like a sunflower and singing ‘you are my sunshine, my only sunshine' while parading down Mountain Rd., I expected other schools to at least have a picnic or something. But when I asked them what the Earth Day plans were, they told me to go sweep up some dirt if I liked the earth so much... so I did. Escuela teaches us a love of nature and equality. I remember seeing kids stomp on ants and thinking ‘oh if only you went to Escuela you'd understand'. Escuela teaches manners and tolerance, very essential things in the world. These characteristics and good habits you have learned here are going to make growing up a little bit easier. So even though your feet might stay the same, like mine, you should know that you still have some pretty big shoes to fill. And one thing that I want to tell you is something no one told me but I wish they had: enjoy it. Relish every awkward moment or embarrassing thing your parents say because it will be over before you know it."