Fresh Faces

As seniors’ SDA experiences begin winding down, these freshmen are only starting to develop their passions and aspirations. Here are the full interviews from February's edition of The Mustang's Centerspread.

Claire Brady

Claire Brady

Can you describe your rock climbing? How often do you do it for? Where do you do it?
I rock climb at minimum twice a week, but usually more. I have had weeks were I climb every single day, for the whole day. I climb both indoors and outdoors, but, like most rock climbers, I prefer climbing real rock. The gym I go to is Vital Climbing Gym, and it is in Carlsbad. I am on the Youth Team there. For outdoor trips I go to either small local areas, or well-known far away areas. Places like Tramway, Joshua Tree, Red Rocks and more.

How and when did you get started?
I started Rock Climbing about 3 years ago, in the spring of 2011. I had been going to the local gym, Vital, about twice a month. Then, the gym started a Youth Team, and I went to the first day of practice. The team motivated me to go to every day of practice. I am still on the Team and it is great.

Why rock climb? What do you like about it?
I don’t like rock climbing. I love it. One of the best parts of it is the friends you make and climb with. Before I rock climbed I played Tennis. I thought that sports where a thing that everyone hated to do, but if you were any good at it, you did it anyways. Climbing changed everything for me. I loved every second of it. I wish I could say how climbing makes me feel, but it is beyond anything that words can explain.

In your opinion, what has it taken to reach the level of rock climbing that you are currently at?
At first I advanced naturally. Just climbing twice a week was all it took. Then I needed to improve my weak point, dynamic movement, I still am working on it. I was doing very well up until the end of the summer of 2012. I fell in the gym, landed wrong, and hyperextended my arm. My elbow bent the wrong way. I was in a cast for 3 weeks and it took me 6 months to fully recover. Getting my strength back took much more time, and a lot of hard training. About a year after the injury, I had my strength back.

Have you had to make any sacrifices for rock climbing? Were they worth it?
I have had to give up some things for rock climbing. When I first started, my friends couldn’t understand what the big deal was. Why was I going to climbing practice instead of their house to hang out with them? My obsession with climbing caused some difficulties with my friends and our friendships. After a while, my friends started to realize that climbing really was my passion, and that it was what I needed to do. Of course though, my friends and I still found plenty of time to hang out and have fun.

How do you manage to rock climb alongside school?
I started finding difficulty with completing homework on days where I climbed for hours. So, at some point in 8th grade I began spending my lunches in the Library or my math class in order to finish the homework that had been assigned that day. Doing this, I rarely saw my friends at school. Something that has really helped me with climbing is ISPE (Independent Study Physical Education). ISPE lets me get out of school a period early so I can either do my homework, or go to climbing practice early.

What are your goals for the future regarding rock climbing?
When I finish College and find a job that works well with my active lifestyle, I wish to live somewhere with lots of rock to climb. Yosemite would be a good option. I want to be able to wake up in the morning and take a 20-minute walk to a beautiful climbing area like El Capitan or Fairview Dome.


Claire Jantzen

Can you describe what exactly you do with photography? What is your involvement?
Mainly, I take photos of really anything and everything that’s around me, and share it with whomever I can. I am fortunate enough to have had success through social media (in particular Instagram), so I can share my photos with everyone. From this, my photography has grown, and I now have my own small business getting paid to take portraits of people and/or their families.

How/when did you get started in photography? What drew you to it?
I was 11 when I first picked up my mom’s Canon camera. I started out taking simple photos of flowers, or nature like everybody else would start out. When I really dove in and learned to use all of the technical parts about the camera, I started to become more creative and apply new ideas to my photos. I started to take photos of friends and family, which is now my favorite thing to do. What drew me in was having the ability to view the world in a different way and really explore every little detail of every object or every story behind each person.

In your opinion, what has it taken for you to reach the level of photography that you are currently at?
Time, experimentation, hard work, long nights of editing, and a lot of planning!

Have you had to make any sacrifices along the way? If so, what were they and were they worth it?
I don’t think I’ve really had to make any sacrifices, but like I mentioned before- a lot of time has been put into editing, planning and learning, and that has sometimes interfered with my social life.

How do you manage photography alongside school?
Sometimes it is a challenge finding time to balance schoolwork, photography, and sports – especially when you need to meet a deadline for a client. I’ve found myself learning how to manage my time more efficiently, but sometimes you just need to take a break and regroup.

What are your aspirations looking forward within this field?
For now, I definitely know that I want to attend an arts college, and hopefully have some kind of photographic career. I am not 100% sure what I would like to do with my photography yet, but I am positive I see myself still continuing with my passion in the future.

What is the most valuable thing photography has taught you thus far?
Photography has, again, taught me how to look at the world in a different way. I’ve learned how to express myself through an art form, and how to connect with people all over the world through social media that support my work. It has made me look at every object or every person with a greater appreciation and has given me a more meaningful perspective on everything around me.


Delilah Forrest

How long have you been playing musical instruments and how do you stay involved today?

I have been playing the cello for 10 years and currently play with the Mozart Youth Orchestra.

Can you describe your role on the Encinitas Youth Commission?
This is my 3rd year in it. I started on the Youth Commission in middle school. We give City Council advice from the teen perspective. We also put together backpacks full of supplies to those in need.

What sort of time commitment is required?
We generally have meeting every Monday in our subcommittees for an hour.

What was your motivation to join Mustang Minds?
My Mom did it in high school and my sister did it as well. It’s been lots of fun.


Nana Ueda

What is your talent/ What are you involved in? Why?
I really like drawing, I like traditional art. But, I’ve been nudging towards digital art. I’ve been doing my art on my computer a lot. That’s just what I do, I draw a lot.

How did you get started? Why?
I started drawing in preschool. I mean, everybody draws in school projects. Then in first grade I was drawing and my friends started to notice that I was actually good at drawing, so after that I wanted to draw more and impress my friends. That’s kind of where I started off.

What is it that you like about drawing?
What I like about drawing is that it relieves me when I’m stressed. Or when I’m bored I just go draw. It’s fun; it’s something I like doing.

What sacrifices have you made? Why were they worth it?
I’ve never taken any art classes except for one in middle school and I did cartooning last semester.

How do you manage this on top of school?
It does get in the way of school sometimes. Like when I have to do homework, I get distracted and want to draw on my computer that day. Then I realize ‘Oh no it’s already eight o’clock and I still haven’t done my homework.’ But I do push it aside when I need to get work done. So it’s something I just go towards when I’m done with everything and I just feel this, I don’t know how to say it. When all my works done, it feels great to get work done, so then I feel like drawing.

Have you ever submitted art in the Del Mar Fair?
I submitted something once and it won a prize, but it wasn’t a big one.

What are your plans for the future regarding this?
I want to get into some kind of animation studio. What my mom and I are talking about going towards is Pixar. But I don’t know if I really want to get into animating. I think I want to do more concept art for movies (concept art is just like designing the characters clothes and what the setting is going to look like).


Matthew Zounes

How long have you been doing King Fu?
I’ve done Kung Fu at White Dragon Martial Arts Studios for 7 or eight years. I am a brown sash going on to black.

How did you get started? Why?
Well, my parents first started me into it, but I stuck with it because it was a good source of physical activity, kept me in shape, it was just fun too.

What has it taken to get to the point where you are at in Kung Fu?
Dedication, time, and hard-work.

What do you do in Kung Fu?
It’s a range of things, some combatives, sometimes with weapons, sometimes just fists, with takedowns, sometimes just ground fighting and then just some form exercise.

How do you manage this on top of school?
I use my time wisely. When I do Kung Fu, I manage my time with it so it doesn’t interfere with school. I do go, but it’s only a few times a week and when I do go I go for many hours, I don’t go many times a week. Usually it’s on the weekend.

What are your future goals for Kung Fu?
Probably go into my black slash.

Has it all been worth it?


Veronica Ness

What are you involved in?
I am alright at running and I do it because I can meet new people and because running and the coaches are cool. I also am involved in robotics which I try to help with the best that I can.

Why did you start cross-country and robotics?
I started to do cross country because in the new year my parents said I couldn’t do robotics so I thought I might want to do something else, so I signed up for cross country. I did this because I always liked running with music playing so I thought giving it a try would be fun. I started robotics because my sister did it and she got to meet a lot of new people and she had a really fun time

What has it taken to get to the point where you at with these activities?
To get to the point I am at with both of these outside school activities, I had to put a lot of effort in and try my best. As well as working hard, I tried to have fun with it.

Have you had to make any sacrifices for these activities?
One main sacrifice I have made for these activities is sleep because I tend to take a while on my homework after them. However, I gained more from them than I lost. From Cross Country I got better endurance [which] helped [me] to achieve the necessary exercise for growth unlike previously. From Robotics, I learned more about how to drill, press, stain, and sand. I also learned about the tools in the shop and how to work them. Overall, I think the loss of sleep is not that bad compared to all the skills I have acquired.

How do you manage these robotics and cross-country on top of school?
Cross Country and Robotics are fairly easy to maintain with my school schedule because CC ends around 5 and Robotics ends around 6 which leaves a decent amount of time for homework. The only other part of these clubs that has interfered with my schoolwork is meets/tournaments. For the CC, there were meets only on Fridays and I knew when they were coming so I could make up the work ahead of time. As for Robotics, there are only two competitions per year that only take you out a few days of school. So, it is rather simple to make up schoolwork to take on these fun and awesome clubs!

What are your aspirations for the future?
For the future, I plan on doing robotics every year while still doing track and cross country. Since track and CC are sports that only take up two seasons, in between I plan to work with robotics on build season.