Senior Spotlight: Emily Valencia
Updated: May 9
Emily Valencia found a home within the music department. First joining the Vocal Ensemble and then joining the Color Guard in Marching Band. A member of the Video Production class, she is interested in pursuing that path.
Instruments: Voice and Color Guard, so flags, rifles, swords …
Plan for the future: No clue as of right now. I might go to Moorpark. The game plan was CLU, but I can't schedule my SATs anymore. I will be definitely studying something in the arts — maybe theatre or video production. Maybe screenwriting. I'm not sure.
Travel aspirations: Norway
Proudest accomplishment: Accepting who I am, what I've been through and finding things about myself that make me love myself.
Favorite Memory: After singing the national anthem for the upcoming freshman, most of the choir went to Toppers after and had dinner. That was fun, always is, but the best part was when it was just me, Francesca Kovach and Lorelai Godin. We were the last ones to leave, but we just talked about life and our mental health and our struggles and it was really emotional but, super beautiful. Francesca said, "it's really strange how you two won't be in choir. you guys are so great, both at singing and as people, and it's weird to think that this time last year nobody knew anybody and was nervous to talk to anyone. Now, I can't imagine a life without you guys, especially on the stage," and Lorelai and I just burst into tears. It made me feel like I made a positive impact, and for the first time in a SUPER long time, I felt confident that I made solid friends for life. All because of doing something I loved.
Favorite musical piece/tune from high school: “Heart We Will Forget Him” or “Ballad of The Winter Trees”
Most underappreciated thing about high school: Cam High Connect ... sure it was almost always a mess, but I did what I loved: edit videos. Ninety percent of the time they wouldn't make it to the show because they were always things like video essays, like "why musical television shows are addictive," "how hip hop took over the charts in the 2010s," etc. I like doing things like that and not having the resources at home is hard. I never thought I'd miss doing that.
Quarantine activities: Reflecting. I've just been using this time to think. About what I could've done better and what I shouldn't take for granted.
What I've been watching in quarantine: “Fresh Off The Boat” (10/10 recommend) and “Zoey's Extraordinary Playlist”
What part of the ACHS Music Program has had the most impact on you and why? The unity. I joined the program in a time of my life where I was severely depressed. I felt like the entire school hated me or knew everything about me. When I joined choir, nobody cared. When I joined color guard, nobody cared. They were kind. It was weird because I had never had a group of people like that allow me into their space with such kindness. I finally found my place in high school, despite it being later than others – it was on the stage with my choir, or on the field with my bandmates. It made me feel like I belonged somewhere, and it gave me friends that I never would've met otherwise. It was the first push to help me fix myself, and I don't know where I'd be without it.
What would you say to your freshman self about the Music program if you could? Join. Don't think about what other people think, whether it's you being a "band geek," or that "choir/marching band is lame," or any of that. Don't be scared of singing in front of people. Don't doubt yourself on your ability to do color guard (it's hard but you can do it). You will be so much happier being a "geek" in a group of people you love, than a "normal" person in a crowd of people you can't connect with. It's not worth it. Join. And be nicer to your coaches.