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EPISD Student Spotlight: Avery Escamilla-Wendell, El Paso High

Avery Escamilla-Wendell

(EL PASO HIGH SCHOOL May 11, 2021) — El Paso High senior Avery Escamilla-Wendell kept a busy schedule throughout the pandemic with academics and a plethora of extracurricular activities. The future nurse/filmmaker learned to navigate the pandemic by staying positive and finding creative outlets. Community Engagement sat down with Avery virtually to feature her in this edition of the EPISD Student Spotlight.

EPISD: How are you staying motivated and involved in school during the pandemic?

AVERY ESCAMILLA-WEDELL: My motivation comes from my passion and desire to succeed in life. I realize that being in class remotely is not ideal, especially during my senior year, but the pandemic has taught me how to overcome unforeseen obstacles. That life sometimes throws you curveballs and you must learn how to hit them. Being involved in extracurricular activities has also helped keep me motivated and given me additional goals to reach. Band, dance, choir, and Cinema Society has allowed me to feel a sense of normalcy during these times, as well as school pride.

EPISD: How have you balanced academics and extracurricular activities?

AEW: Being involved in so many extracurricular activities isn’t easy, but it has taught me how to manage my time efficiently and set priorities. I understand that being a part of these groups and teams are a privilege, so being able to take part in them is my reward for maintaining my grades.

EPISD: How have you been able to make the most of band and dance during your senior year?

AEW Band has been the most difficult adjustment during this pandemic year. We couldn’t put on our on-field show or enjoy playing under the Friday night lights during football season. But despite these challenges we have made the most of it by keeping up with our music, performing remotely, and practicing in person when possible. Dance has been a great escape from the troubles of the pandemic, as well as a creative outlet. We have been able to participate in various live and streaming performances and showcases, as well as practice in person regularly. Being around my fellow team members weekly makes it seem like it’s just a normal year, even if for a short amount of time.

EPISD: Tell us about your passion for filmmaking?

AEW: I’ve always enjoyed watching and studying films even from a young age. But to create one from an idea to a finished piece started when I first joined Cinema Society. We would review and break down films, look at the creation process and discuss choices made along the way. Eventually we entered a short-film competition put on by the El Paso Film Commission. Our team was by far the youngest of the nearly 50 entries, but we came out of the competition with multiple awards. Since then, I’ve enjoyed the process of filming and editing my own short films. Spending so much time in quarantine this year, it gave me plenty of time make several short films for my own enjoyment.

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

AEW: I’ve been member of band my entire high school career, becoming a multi-instrumentalist, earned a letter for marching band, and been elected as our Band Secretary. I’m a member of my school’s choir, earning my way to state competition for solo ensemble. I’m a member of our Tigerettes Dance Team as well as a member of our award-winning Cinema Society.

EPISD: What activities are you involved in outside of school?

AEW: Outside of school, I’ve volunteered over 100 hours at the Hospitals of Providence. Something that I am very proud of because it sparked my interest in the medical field as something I plan to pursue.

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

AEW: I plan on majoring in nursing and minoring in film production at The University of Texas at El Paso.

EPISD: What scholarships have you received?

AEW: I’ve been offered scholarships at the University of New Mexico, New Mexico State University, and the University of Mary-Hardin Baylor.

EPISD: What are your plans for the summer? 

AEW: My plans for the summer are to take a break and relax and hopefully travel before starting college.

Interview by Reneé de Santos