Graduation means many different things. It can mean the start of adulthood, leaving your hometown or starting a new chapter in your life. For seniors at Chino Hills High School, graduation signifies all of the above. To pay tribute to the town that shaped them, Henna Siddiq, Jared Long and Brandon Shi shared the impact Chino Valley has had on their lives before heading to college this fall.
Henna is a singer, songwriter and amateur photographer who grew up admiring the beauty of the natural landscapes surrounding Chino, and she often uses the background of the hills to take stunning portraits of her friends. Those same residents of Chino are often the subject of her songwriting. Henna sings and uploads her own music on SoundCloud. This connection between music and technology sparked Henna to pursue computer science at Cal State Fullerton.
When she isn’t recording music in her bedroom, Henna sings with the school choir. She sings at the annual Chino Hills Boat Parade during the Christmas season and in the Chino Valley Community Church.
This community church holds a special place in the heart of senior Jared Long as well. Jared grew up at this church in Chino, not just physically but spiritually too. He helped coordinate the church’s sports camp, where he learned the virtues of helping his community.
He participated in Little League baseball where by winning and losing games he developed a love of being a team player. This translated into an interest in serving his country and protecting his community by attending the Cal State Maritime Academy this fall.
Brandon Shi has already committed to a life across the sea. He plans on majoring in International Business at NYU Shanghai where he will live independently. He wouldn’t have been able to seize this opportunity if life in Chino hadn’t prepared him. Brandon learned to be self-reliant and resourceful as an Eagle Scout of Troop 202. Later, he applied for Chino’s Teen Advisory Committee, where he developed a passion for community service. He helped create the Helping Our Youth Club which provides free tutoring to elementary school students. With the help of fellow residents Brandon was able to reach out to numerous struggling students.
Brandon cites the amazing people he found himself surrounded by in Chino as tremendously influential to his love of uplifting others.
In all three stories about graduating seniors, the common thread is clear. Living in Chino Valley fundamentally shaped the lives of Henna, Jared and Brandon. They formed their interests from the abundant opportunities available. Although they may leave their hometown they will not leave behind the fond memories and character that they have developed. We hope they will never lose the passion for community service that was ignited within them.
(The author will be a senior at Chino Hills High who is interested in journalism.)