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EPISD Student Spotlight: Danica Carrasco, Burges High

Danica Carrasco

(BURGES HIGH SCHOOL -- Sept. 25, 2020) — In this edition of the EPISD Student Spotlight, we speak with Burges Early College senior and All-American Cheer nominee Danica Carrasco about the importance of keeping school spirit alive — especially during the pandemic. The soon-to-be community college graduate and BECHS mentor shared with EPISD’s Community Engagement her thoughts on cheering in a pandemic and making the most of her senior year.

EPISD COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT: What does cheer mean to you to be an All-American nominee in cheerleading?

DANICA CARRASCO: Being an All-American nominee has been a dream of mine since I was a little girl and being nominated the past three years have been such an honor. As a cheerleader in general, you are a leader and you lead yourself and all those around you. Being recognized by National Cheer Association as an All-American nominee takes that leadership one step further and I am proud to be a part of it.


CE: How has cheer changed during the pandemic?

DC: Cheer has changed so much during this time and we have had to do quite a bit of adapting. Team bonding is a huge part of cheer as we are always together. We become like a family, and with the pandemic we can’t be together like we used to. But like anything else, we persevered and are closer than ever.


CE: Why is it important to continue to have the cheer squad at athletic games?

DC: As a cheerleader our job is to get the crowd riled up and ready to cheer on our teams. With the pandemic in mind I think it is incredibly important to continue to have cheer at the games as there is no crowd in the stands. We will continue to cheer on our teams when they need us the most and be ready when fans will join us once again.


CE: How have you adapted to virtual learning?

DC: When we first went into quarantine it was a bit of a struggle adapting to virtual learning. Over time, I have gotten used to it and now have a schedule I follow through my days. I really enjoy virtual learning and feel as if I have more time to focus on my own hobbies, and training, but also spend time with my family.


CE: What are your hopes for your senior year?

DC: I hope that I can get as much of a normal senior year as I can get and just make the best out of any last moments I have with my friends and family. I’m glad to say I will be done with my associate degree in December and am very excited to see what is in store for my last second semester of high school.


CE: What advice would you give incoming freshman?

DC: I think the one thing I would tell incoming freshmen would be to not give up. No matter how frustrating classes may get or whatever drama may come your way, you have to keep pushing. If I didn’t have the teachers, friends, and family to convince me to keep going I wouldn’t have accomplished all that I have.


CE: What have you been doing outside of academics to get through the pandemic?

DC: During the pandemic, I began to customize and design clothes. When I was little, I always wanted to be a fashion designer and the extra time during the pandemic I was able to explore that dream of mine. I taught myself to sew and have customized pieces of clothing for my friends and family.


CE: Where do you plan to go to college and what do you plan to study?

DC: As of right now, I have applied and even got accepted to a couple of schools but my main goal is to hopefully attend the University of Hawai’i at Manoa. I’ve been hard at work with my training in hopes of making the cheer team and gaining a scholarship. I plan to major in psychology and, if possible, minor in fashion.


CE: What are your honors and achievements in high school?

DC: One of my biggest achievements in high school is becoming one of the captains for Burges cheer as a sophomore and continuing to lead the team the years after that. I am beyond glad they trust in me to lead them and will continue to do my best for them. Another accomplishment I am ready for is being able to receive my associate degree in December. I have been hard at work to make this happen and so happy I got the opportunity to achieve this.


CE: What extracurricular activities are you involved in?

DC: Along with cheering I am also a member of National Honor Society and the publicity manager for the senior class. I am also proudly one of the very first BECHS Buddies, a mentoring group for the early college freshmen. Outside of school, I am very involved at my church and teach First Communion along with being on team for the teens confirmation retreat.


CE: What is the first thing you plan to do when the pandemic is over?

DC: I think the first thing I’ll do when the pandemic is over is hug everyone. I am not a hugger generally but I miss everyone and now that we are going back to school the first thing we want to do is run up and hug each other. We take things like that for granted and with the pandemic, I think I have a new understanding and gratitude towards little things like that.

Interview by Reneé de Santos