TERRA Wolves: More than Just Brains

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Junior Fernando Yzquierdo practicing for mock trial.

Desiree Pico, Section Editor

When people think of TERRA, they think of a place where academics dominate life. While it is an academically rigorous environment, Wolves are also involved in many other extracurriculars that demand flexibility, perseverance, and resilience. Somehow, Wolves manage these activities– ranging from music, dance, and sports to clubs and jobs– while maintaining their grades. The question so many find themselves asking is, “How do they do it?”

Senior Elisa Nguyen is not afraid to admit that the past three years at TERRA have been somewhat of a challenge, but she managed to get through it all and also partake in something important to her– volunteering in her Catholic community– by some careful preparation. “I plan ahead and put my schedule together so I know on what days I have more or less time to do my school work,” Nguyen says. Being involved in activities such as leading the dance, music, and youth ministries and helping Miami’s Archdiocese requires a major sacrifice of time for her, but it is a well-spent investment because it helps her “find out what is out there.”

Other students are involved in multiple sports, such as sophomore Jasmine Lizardo. She can spend anywhere from two to seven hours of either volleyball, basketball, or badminton practice during the school week. “The hardest part is trying to find a decent amount of time to study for AP classes and get enough sleep while doing this,” says Lizardo. Time management is an important part of being able to balance all of these things, which sometimes means finding something that fits into your schedule better than something else does, which is what Lizardo had to do. Choosing to sit out this basketball season in order to have time for school work was a necessary sacrifice, but she is replacing it with flag football at a later time of the year that would be less hectic.

Sophomore Anthony Zamora juggles being an officer in the HOSA club, guitar lessons, and cross country with his classes, in addition to having a summer job to balance with FLVS classes. For ten weeks during the summer, Zamora teaches kids how to sail in Coconut Grove, which demands a lot of time spent away from FLVS classes; guitar and cross country consume around two hours a day while planning HOSA events requires varying amounts of time monthly. “I find a lot of enjoyment and a sense of accomplishment from doing these things. It is important to have your mind set on different things outside of school to keep from wearing yourself out with hard classes,” Zamora said. He says the key is to plan how to spend your time.

Sophomore Anthony Zamora engaging in his extracurricular.

TERRA Wolves expand their extracurricular interests to the realm of music as well. Junior Fernando Yzquierdo, for example, has engaged in violin lessons for the past year now at Miami Fine Arts Academy in Coral Gables. These lessons, although they supplement his ability as a violinist, require a time investment of nearly three hours for one day a week. In addition to this, Yzquierdo is a member of TERRA’s Mock Trial team, which calls for two extra hours after school Monday through Thursday. “It is very difficult [to partake in extracurriculars] sometimes, since I’m dealing with so many AP classes, but I take time out every day because I really enjoy expanding my creative mind,” says Yzquierdo.

Even freshmen, who have not had as much experience managing high school classes as upperclassmen have, recognize the value of investing in extracurriculars. Adriana Montenegro has begun her high school extracurricular involvement with some of TERRA’s clubs: HOSA and Biomedical Academy Club (BMAC), and says, “I feel it’s important because aside from your classes, these clubs serve as another learning resource and are good for college applications.”

The value of extracurriculars cannot be understated, as they play a major role in making school work more bearable. Though it can often seem impossible to combine school work with extracurriculars, it can become more attainable with careful time management.