Cheers to the last year

As their high school careers come to a close, seniors from different academies reflect on their time at Gables and share what’s to come for their last hurrah.


Photo by Julia Volman

Seniors Julissa Villarreal (left) sporting her cheer uniform and letterman jacket and Arianna Hoyos (right) displaying her CavsConnect T-shirt, wear their senior crowns that they made and wore on the first day of their last year of high school.

Come May, the class of 2023 will be bidding farewell to Gables, but their impact and their legacies will live on. Seniors from the Health Public Service and Law (HPSL) and International Baccalaureate (IB) academies look back on their high school experience and give a glance into what is to come for the 2022-2023 school year.

Senior Arianna Hoyos of the IB program is an active member of the Cavalier community, holding board positions as co-Editor-In-Chief of the CavsConnect online news site and president of Gables Earth, the school’s environmental activism club. She gives insight as to how these aspects of Gables have made it feel like a second home.

“These are places where I can be myself and show the passion I have for both environmental advocacy and journalism which showcases the diversity that exists within our school,” Hoyos said. 

Julissa Villarreal, a senior in the HPSL program, is a proud member of the Gables Cheerleading Team. Although her high school experience has been a rewarding and successful journey thus far, looking back in hindsight, she expresses desires that haven’t been fulfilled. 

“I have devoted most of my high school career to the cheerleading team which has created lasting friendships. Although I wish I would have pushed myself further to get involved and join more programs that would be academically challenging, such as one of the publications or student activities,” Villarreal said.

These seniors had their sophomore year in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. Aside from these obstacles, Hoyos created an interesting year for herself, using this time to make light of unusually great opportunities and create lasting memories. 

“Some of the best times at Gables happened in those classrooms and at those lunch tables where there were only five students. I was an in-person student during the pandemic and this allowed me to grow intimate personal relationships with teachers as well as peers,” Hoyos said. 

Although the past three years of these seniors’ high school careers have been exciting ones, it is time to look to the future. Senior year comes with the need for responsibility and dedication, so these rising graduates share their mindsets going into their final school year. 

Cherishing the small moments she has left with her family and focusing on what she values, not what others would like her to, are top priorities for Hoyos this year. As for Villarreal, she would like to push herself even further than before and conclude her high school years on a high note.

“This year I want to focus on my studies to make my last year my best year academically. I also want to make sure I cherish the moments of my last year with friends,” Villarreal said.

Both students shared goals they would like to accomplish in their final year. For Villarreal, ending with a high GPA and getting accepted to a college abroad are both on her senior year bucket list. As for Hoyos, her goal is for, CavsConnect to earn the Pacemaker Award from the National Scholastic Press Association. 

These two seniors could not have asked for a better high school experience. Though they will be parting with the school this May, their stories are far from over.

(If you are interested in reading the part 1 of this series click here: The last year, the best year)