Courtesy of Kamuela Castellano
Valley alumni Kamuela Castellano left high school to become an English major at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV).
Castellano learned a lot from Valley High School’s classes, students, and teachers, but the biggest lessons that he learned were taught outside of the classroom.
“Valley really did prepare me for the challenges of life outside of high school,” Castellano said. “Surprisingly, Valley prepared me more for the everyday challenges; the toolset of keeping yourself level through any situation is something that is truly precious to me.”
The culture and climate of Valley taught Castellano the skills to thrive in a real world setting, which is crucial to life after and outside of high school. He also gained other vital experiences at Valley.
“The diversity of Valley was by far the best part of my experience there,” Castellano said. “I feel that those who go to high schools with a more homogenous makeup of the student body are definitely missing out on unique experiences that will broaden their worldview. Getting to know people of all backgrounds provides a special educational experience in and of itself that is invaluable.”
Attending a school with students from different cultures promotes students to not just observe but also interact with different people. It’s the combining of people with different circumstances that allows students to have a broader perspective on the people and places around them.
“The biggest thing I took away from Valley was to be kind at all times,” Castellano said, “Many people struggle in extraordinary ways, a simple, kind greeting can provide relief from the burdens of life; it’s not possible to completely lift the problem off their shoulders, but it helps.”
Castellano continually tries to help brighten everyone’s day. After all, a person may not always know what other people are going through, but a small smile often goes a long way. It was this empathy that paved the way for Castellano to be encouraged to have one of his essays published.
“I was approached by one of my English professors regarding a creative essay assignment I had submitted,” Castellano said. “The professor gave me advice on how to revise, and I am currently in my second revision of the original essay. The process of revision is quite tedious and I am not sure that I can actually be published. It is encouraging to be able to work towards a tangible goal. The essay itself was a creative piece on how empathy has affected me throughout my life, from intervening in suicide attempts to consoling a friend through an abortion.”
Castellano has, and is, continuously worked toward his goals, without letting pride and daunting challenges affect his determination. He has some guidance for those students still at Valley.
“The one greatest piece of advice I have is not letting your pride affect what’s best for you,” Castellano said. “Your goals will always be there, no matter what. But if you cannot overcome the challenges today, then there will always be tomorrow. I know it doesn’t sound ideal, but it’s true! Everything will work out in its own time; I promise.”