Senior Spotlight: Meet Rocio Zapata, Ánimo Jackie Robinson Alumna


Just before the start of summer, we interviewed a group of graduating seniors on their plans after graduation. Meet Rocio Zapata, a class of 2022  Ánimo Jackie Robinson Charter High School, who has plans to attend college in East Los Angeles College. 

Q: Where do you plan to attend school, and have you decided on a major?

A: I plan to go to East Los Angeles College (ELAC). I feel like that's the best option for me. I want to save money. As of now, I am thinking of majoring in Human Resources or Accounting. 

How did you come across these majors?

I did my research, and I have a sister who also helped me look into majors. When looking into majors, these two caught my attention. I wanted to do nursing, then become a registered nurse, and I was looking further into Cal State Long Beach's program, but I didn't get accepted. I got waitlisted, and I haven't heard back from them. I don't want to wait, so I've decided to attend community college and eventually transfer to Cal State Long Beach.

Why ELAC instead of any other community colleges?

I chose ELAC because of the programs they have and their sports programs. I want to get into badminton maybe I'll look into that. Overall, they have really good programs, and it [ELAC] is close to home.

What are you looking forward to doing on campus?

When I step onto campus, I'm looking forward to the activities to join so I can explore more and meet new people there. So I am not alone and to get more insight about college.

What are you most nervous about, preparing for this new chapter in college?

I'm nervous about classes and how hard they can be. The professors, the homework, and everything else. How am I going to manage my time? I'm nervous about all of that.

How did Ánimo Jackie Robinson High School prepare you for college?

Ánimo Jackie Robinson helped me overcome my shyness because I'm a timid person, but doing presentations has helped me. As a senior, we had a social action project project where we presented to a lot of people and did public speaking, and I feel like that project and practice helped me overcome the obstacle of being shy.  

Who encouraged you throughout your high school journey?

Mr. Bryan Hernandez, of Honors English, set up an interview for one of our projects. Our class was able to visit the South L.A. Cafe. Interviewing the co-founder helped me get out of my comfort zone.

What did you get at Ánimo Jackie Robinson High School that you might not have gotten at another school? 

Work ethic. I've had a lot of teachers who encouraged me and talked about coming out now rather than later. Most of them encouraged me to do my work. They made me stay after school to do my stuff and not only me, but also other students. 

My counselor, Mr. Xavier Lovo, pushed me and motivated me to continue doing my work and completing my things on time. For example, the Personal Insight Questions [PIQs]  they offered me and the Senior Bridge program. They provided me with a program that helped with the PIQs at the start of the summer; getting those done before [the semester ended] helped me.

 What words of encouragement would you give the class of 2023 next year when they started applying to college this summer?

Don't lag on the PIQs. I know PIQs take a very long time. I suggest getting help and going to the counselor; if they know they have those opportunities, seek help. Take advantage of that because being a senior is hard. Seek help by going to the counselor weekly and checking on your college applications. Go to your counselors. That would be one. One piece of advice I'd give to the class is to take advantage of the help that AJR offers students.