Welcome back to the POP QUIZ! This is a regular, yet totally unexpected, feature where we ask students, parents, staff, our friends, and partners to answer a few questions about what they are learning, reading, and thinking about. Today we feature Andrea Mendez-Melchor, a senior at Kalamazoo Central High School.
Andrea attended El Sol Elementary School and later, Linden Grove Middle School, where she became connected to CIS. “Andrea is an amazing person,” says CIS Site Coordinator Jenn Miner. A hard-working student, Andrea juggles her school and home responsibilities with grace.
[You can learn more about Andrea’s story of resilience in these trying in the recently released 2021 CIS Annual Report.]
We met up with Andrea over Google Meets. As she bounced her baby brother on her hip, we popped our quiz on her.
Alright, Andrea: pencil out, eyes on your own paper. Good luck.
What are you currently reading?
Lie to Me by Kaitlin Moore. It’s about a girl that wakes up from a coma and the only thing she remembers is that somebody was pushing her off the edge of a river. She knows it wasn’t an accident, and she is trying to uncover the truth.
I’m also reading The Girl in the White Van by April Henry. That one’s about a girl who gets in an argument with her mom and then leaves the house. A guy in a white van then kidnaps her … The school librarian told us about it … It’s good too.
What is your favorite word right now?
Responsible. I was under a lot of pressure but I’ve been responsible, getting through my work, and getting through it all. [More details about all of Andrea’s responsibilities can be found in CIS’s 2021 Annual Report.]
Do you say anything to yourself to get yourself through?
Honestly, I just get the day over with. I will say to myself, Okay, you got this! You gotta do this. Keep your head straight. Just do you!
What is your favorite subject?
Ceramics. It’s fun playing with clay. A few years ago, I would have said history. But now it’s ceramics. Working with clay is calming too.
What do you imagine yourself doing ten years from now?
I’ll probably still be in college. I’ll be working and having my own apartment. And doing what’s right …
Behind every successful student is a caring adult. Who is one of your caring adults?
My parents, obviously. But if not them, then I feel like [CIS Site Coordinator] Ms. Miner. I don’t really connect with people a lot but she knows me the most—both about myself and career-wise. She pushes me to become more of what I am right now, to reach my full potential.
What teacher(s) has most influenced you?
[Bilingual Teacher at Kalamazoo Central High School] Mr. [Ryan] LaBudda. He is such a great teacher. A lot of times, it’s ‘do this on your own.’ But he offers a different kind of help. He wants to sits down with you and encourages you to get out of your comfort zone when it comes to learning. He’s my number one! When I started his class, I was reserved and didn’t speak or participate. Mr. LaBudda said, I know you have potential and I can see it in you. I started participating more and reading out loud, going up in front of the class and working on the board, and helping others too. He’s helped me a lot with my high school years …
Anything else we should know about you?
I love music. Between classes, you’ll see me in the halls with my air pods in. Music motivates me and clears my head.
Thank you, Andrea, for hanging out with us at Ask Me About My 12,000 Kids.
Be sure to check out the 2021 Annual Report to learn more about Andrea and find out how she plans to use the Kalamazoo Promise to follow her path.