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EPISD Student Spotlight: Jose Nilo, Austin High

Jose Nilo

(AUSTIN HIGH SCHOOL -- Sept. 30, 2020) — During the pandemic, teens have had to endure isolation and mental health challenges. Austin senior Jose M. Nilo saw this as an opportunity to spread the message of positivity and good mental health to his fellow students TikTok videos and other social media outlets. Recently, he and other Austin students collaborated on a suicide prevention video that targets teens coping with depression. 

In this edition of the EPISD Student Spotlight, EPISD’s Office of Community Engagement talked to Nilo, a track and cross country standout, about his passion for positivity and its impact on students during the pandemic.

COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT: How are you staying involved in school during the pandemic?: 

JOSE NILO: I am staying involved in school by doing sports. It motivates me to try hard so I can stay eligible to play. 


CE: Describe the video that you and other students did on Suicide Prevention and why you wanted to be so involved?

JN: Unfortunately, (someone close to me) has tried to commit suicide. It’s a very emotional subject to me, so I try to do my best to be there for everyone else in whatever way, shape or form. 


CE: What advice can you give to succeeding with remote learning? 

JN: Try finishing your work on time and right away when it’s assigned so it doesn’t keep piling up. Although it may be hard and it sucks doing classes online, keep pushing because this is permanent. We’ll be back sooner rather than later. 


CE: What are you doing to make the most of your senior year despite the pandemic?

JN: I’m trying not to focus too much on the negative side of things, but rather the good. I’m trying to keep in mind that I only got less than nine months left of school and time goes by faster when you’re having fun. Making the most out of every opportunity and second of your life is the best thing to do because later is not promised. 


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

JN: My goal is to get a scholarship to a great running school and major in psychology. 


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

JN: My freshman year, I just received rookie of the year and a varsity letter for both cross country and track. I was not always the smartest, but I always had a great heart in and out of school. 


CE: What extracurricular activities are you involved in? 

JN: I am involved in track, cross country and soccer. I also work at Sonic. 


CE: What advice would you give incoming freshman? 

JN: Don’t act dumb to get the attention of everyone else. Be yourself and be unblocked in school, sports and stand up for what you think is right. 


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

JN: In the summer, I was working 40 hours a week to get money to help out my family however I could. I also was also logging in 60 to 70 miles a week. I also enjoyed spending time with family since it’s something I’ve always done either way, so I was not really affected by quarantine. 


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

JN: Travel the country and run in different places and enjoy life more. 


CE: Anything you’d like to add?

JN: Life is too short. Learn to forgive, learn to love and learn to live.  People come and go, money comes and goes, but time goes by and there’s no going back. You’re not defined by the mistakes you’ve made, but what you do after. Don’t let other people’s opinion of you become your reality. Keep going and never give up! 

Interview by Reneé de Santos