The Student News Site of Middle College High School @ Santa Ana College

The Spellbinder

The Student News Site of Middle College High School @ Santa Ana College

The Spellbinder

The Student News Site of Middle College High School @ Santa Ana College

The Spellbinder

Drastic changes for the Class of 2024

Lesly Gonzalez (Created with Canva)
The Class of 2024 is ready to graduate and embark on a new journey!

As the school year comes to an end, the class of 2024 is about to embark on a new journey.

Throughout the first semester, the seniors dedicated most of their time to working on college applications. They applied to a variety of college systems, including California State Universities, Universities of California, private universities and community colleges. While choosing which schools to apply to, they carefully considered factors such as their preferences and tuition costs, ultimately selecting the schools that best fit their needs.

As the final month of the school year arrives, many seniors are already committing to a school. This marks the beginning of an exciting new chapter in their lives, but a stressful one nonetheless. Several students have decided on what school they want to spend the next four years in, while others are still waiting to receive their financial aid letters to be able to make a decision.

However, many students have already committed or know what school they want to attend. Here are a few seniors who were kind enough to share their feelings and experiences about applying and committing to college.

Senior Christopher Garcia’s mind has been clouded with thoughts of college since the beginning of the Spring semester of junior year. His thoughts kept growing as the due dates for college applications came closer. As of right now, Garcia is ready to start his college journey.

“I’m feeling both ready and nervous as I’m getting closer to committing to college. But other than that, I’m ready to enter a new point in my life,” Garcia said.

Garcia is planning to study within the state of California, preferably at UC Davis where he is still considering attending. He’s stepping his foot down on his parent’s expectations as they expect him to follow in his brother’s footsteps.

“The idea of me going far is something my parents are not 100% sure of since my brother commutes to college. They also expect me to attend the same university as him and commute just like him,” Garcia said.

Although it solely depends on how much financial support he receives, Garcia looks forward to dorming at the institution he plans to attend. He’s ready to make new friends where he can explore and gain new experiences that can help him ease into the completely new environment and point in his life that he will be entering soon. He’s leaning towards committing to UC Davis, working towards a degree in Pharmaceutical Sciences.

Another senior is also excited about this new chapter in their lives. April Carbajal has decided to attend Chapman University to pursue a major in Pre-Pharmacy. Since the beginning of the school year, April has been thinking about college daily. However, at first, she felt overwhelmed with stress and constantly on edge about school, adulthood and other things.

“I thought about how I was going to get rejected from all the schools I was hoping to get into, the debt I was going to accrue, the possibility of my hard work amounting to nothing in the end. I basically inundated myself with so many negative thoughts,” Carbajal said.

Carbajal has been reflecting on herself since a few months ago, and she now believes she was being silly to worry so much. While she generally feels at ease and content, there are still moments when she senses a lingering presence of nervousness. However, she is extremely grateful and excited for what’s to come, and so are her parents. Carbajal’s parents had the same concerns as her, especially when it came to financial aid. However, she is very appreciative of having supportive parents.

“I can’t begin to explain how thankful I am for their constant encouragement and guidance throughout the college application process and after,” Carbajal said.

When Carbajal thinks about attending Chapman University, she feels a sense of unease. Having grown up in the public school system and attending predominantly Latino schools, she is not used to being in an environment where there are not many people like her. However, despite her apprehension, she cannot imagine continuing her education at any other school that she has been accepted into.

“Chapman felt like the right choice. I like the campus, the curriculum, its variety of activities and organizations,” she said.

Daisy Barragan, another one of many seniors going through a phase of transition, is ready to attend UC San Diego where she will be dorming. An undeclared major, she is currently uncertain about what field of study she wishes to pursue.

This year has been a roller coaster ride for Daisy, with its fair share of ups and downs. Although she is unsure about how things will pan out, she has been maintaining a positive outlook and dealing with the challenges in a healthy manner. The topic of college has been on her mind even before the start of the school year.

“There has not been a day where I don’t think about [college], “ Barragan said.

As of right now, Barragan is excited about going to UC San Diego. She looks forward to exploring a new city and is optimistic about her future studies. The familiarity of San Diego, which bears a resemblance to Santa Ana, has eased her transition. Additionally, she has connections with people who currently reside in San Diego or attend UC San Diego, which has provided her with some comfort.
However, Barragan is yet to learn about her parents’ feelings regarding her move. While they are extremely supportive of her achievements, the reality of their daughter moving away hasn’t quite sunk in yet.

“I feel like it hit them a lot more when I turned 18 since I am the youngest so I feel they’ve processed it when I turned 18,” Barragan said.

Lastly, Katherine Alderete, the valedictorian of this year’s senior class, recently shared her thoughts about college and leaving her home.

During her first semester as a senior, Alderete had to deal with a lot of stress as she was busy with her personal and academic commitments, along with the college application process. However, once the college application season ended, her school year started to go more smoothly. Although she often thought about college, Alderete knew that she would have to adapt to many changes.

Being the valedictorian, Alderete felt immense pressure during the college application season. Initially, in August, she thought of applying through Questbridge— a national nonprofit organization, its goal being to connect low-income and first-generation students with partner colleges and universities–but later realized that she needed more time, so she utilized most of her time in November and December to write all her college essays.

“Even once I completed all my college applications, I still kept thinking about whether I did enough or not, and how I could’ve done things differently,” Alderete said.

As juniors last year, the seniors had to research various types of institutions to find a college that would best suit their individual needs. They were taught how to identify schools that aligned with their preferences, such as whether they preferred a large public university or a small private one. However, Alderete believes that they could have delved deeper into their college research.

“I think we could’ve been prepared better when it comes to all the costs of college. Not just the housing and tuition, but flights to and from home, summer storage for our belongings, or health insurance,” Alderete said.

Alderte had the opportunity to consider various factors and make an informed decision while selecting a school for herself. She is both excited and nervous as she has received all of her college acceptances and has chosen a prestigious university. However, the thought of moving away to a completely new environment is daunting, and she believes it will take her a few months to adjust. Nonetheless, she is very excited about exploring a new city and meeting new people.

“I have accepted that I will probably be emotionally unstable for the first month or so after moving. It’s not just moving away, it’s being surrounded by no one like you, feeling you need to be doing something all the time, thinking everyone else is better than you,” Alderete said.

According to her, the campus of her university is often crowded with tourists. However, she is excited to stay on campus in the freshman dorms, as she believes the bustling environment will be great for her. She thinks getting away for a while is the best way for her to cope with being away from her family.

“I’ll probably take peaceful walks along the nearby river calling my family and friends,” Alderete said.

Lastly, Alderete’s parents are more than happy for her. They’re thrilled and incredibly grateful for her acceptance and commitment to an Ivy League. However, they are also worried about her moving so far away.

“They understand that my low-income and Latina background is rare at an institution like the one I’m going to, but they are optimistic that I will do great in honoring my background,” Alderete said.

Alderete is excited to attend Harvard University with a concentration in Computer Science.

The class of 2024 was the first class to start their freshman year of high school online. There have been many ups and downs for the seniors but despite the chaos, they are finally graduating from high school and starting a bigger adventure.

To close off here are a few messages for the class of 2024:

“I am proud of my fellow seniors because this year was pretty chaotic but we pushed through it! Like me, we might not be completely happy where we ended up and that’s okay,” Alderete said.

“To the Class of ‘24: We did it! This is just the beginning of our journey towards success, growth, and making a positive impact in our community. And to rising seniors: Your potential is boundless. Don’t let the college application process make you think otherwise, nor let it deter you from pursuing your passions and goals with resilience. It can be overwhelming, but remember that you’re not alone in this, and there’s always guidance and support to help you navigate through it. Embrace the challenges and opportunities ahead, and make your mark,” Carbajal said.

“To the Class of 2024!

I have had the pleasure of watching you grow, learn, dream big, and achieve your goals. I hope you are extremely proud of all you’ve accomplished. Although this is the end of your high school journey, it is just the beginning of many beautiful life moments.

I am so proud of you!

I also want to say thank you for allowing me to make my dreams of becoming a high school counselor come true! I am most thankful that each of you was open to my big ideas, silly activities, and positive affirmation. You each made my day with your unique personalities, asking me about my day, and keeping me on my toes. I hope you know that I learned from each of you as much as you learned from me.

When it’s easy and when it’s hard, you are always capable of dreaming big, working hard, and making the impossible…POSSIBLE! Although I am no longer your high school counselor, I will always be your biggest cheerleader.


Finally, there was a reason you’ve always been named my Kobe Class. You surpass expectations, you achieve goals that raise the bar, and of course, you are the greatest class of all time! You leave an imprint on people’s lives and I hope you continue to spread MAGIC everywhere you go. The world needs it! More specifically, the world needs YOU!

Once again, congratulations on graduating, and good luck with all your future endeavors!” – Ms. Montes

“Congratulations, Class of 2024!

I am incredibly proud of each and every one of you for your incredible achievements and personal growth during your time at MCHS. You are now on the brink of an extraordinary journey, one that you have truly earned through your dedication and hard work. Your efforts have paid off, and I am confident that you are more than ready to embrace this exciting new chapter.

As you move forward, approach each new experience with enthusiasm and take it one step at a time. You don’t have to have all the answers at once, trust in your own journey and progress at your own pace. I have no doubt that each of you will excel in your future endeavors. I wish you nothing but success, Class of 2024.

Always remember, that you are all capable of incredible things, and your potential is limitless. Embrace your inner magic and shine bright wizards!” – Mrs. Quinonez

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About the Contributor
Lesly Gonzalez
Lesly Gonzalez, A&E Editor
My favorite book is Almond by Sohn Won-pyung, my favorite songs are Lost in Yesterday & Borderline by Tame Impala, and I love comedy movies…