Class of 2020 Senior Spotlight - Karly Fuentes-Paredes, Herndon High School

By Karly Fuentes-Paredes, Herndon High School
June 12, 2020

1) What has been your biggest disappointment/hardship since schools have been closed for the remainder of the academic year?

I think the answer to this question is about the same for all seniors. We each feel like a part of our high school experience has been taken away from us and there is no way we can get it back. Yes we can have an alternative graduation ceremony and virtual events, but it can never replace the in-person experiences that every student looks forward to in senior year. I was, as well as many other first generation students, counting the days until we could finally cross the stage at the Eagle Bank arena, wave our diplomas, throw our caps in the air, and show our friends and families that we finally made it. The most that we can look forward to now are the plans that the county is currently working on to end our senior year the right way. I’m glad my last day in school was spent volunteering, but I’m disappointed that it wasn’t also spent with my friends, teachers, and other people I admire. Knowing that I wasn’t able to formally thank each teacher and staff in person gives me more of a reason to come back and do so. I look forward to the day we can all finally come together and celebrate our graduation as we should.

Karly Fuentes-Paredes, Herndon High School
Karly Fuentes-Paredes, Herndon High School

2) What are your plans for the fall?

I will be attending the University of Virginia in the fall, and I hope to be attending in person and on campus (or on “grounds” as UVA lingo goes). I plan on double majoring in either politic, policy, and law (PPL) or public policy and economics as my second major. I plan on making the most out of my college years from start to finish. I plan on taking advantage of the opportunities and resources UVA offers to set myself up for my future. 

3) How have your plans changed, if at all?

My plans on attending UVA in the fall hopefully won't change. As I said before, I hope that the Class of 2024 starts traditionally on grounds. However, before my freshman year I was planning to continue working at my new job and intern at a D.C. superior judge’s office and shadow a Fairfax Circuit Court judge throughout the summer. These opportunities would have helped me grow into the mindset of post-high school to feel even more prepared for college. 

4) What have you learned about yourself since the COVID-19 closures?

I actually learned that I can’t be in one place for a long time and I always have to have something to do. I’ve been watching shows on Netflix and Hulu, and as interesting as they are, I realized that I can’t truly binge-watch. Staying organized through online learning classes has kept me in check and being assigned work and tasks for my many extracurriculars is what I depend on now. I also learned that running our club social media accounts is something I’m not that bad at. I enjoy making interactive posts for our many followers. 

5) What is your passion?

I would say my passion is making new connections with people and serving them in even the smallest of ways. Throughout my years in high school, I have come to know so many dedicated, influential, and hardworking people, both staff and students. Whether it’s community service or a school project or organizing a club meeting, I definitely loved working with whoever I came across at school. It’s the sense of teamwork and unity present throughout each project or activity that brings positivity to our lives, so seeing results for the good of our community is what I like to see.

6) Have you discovered a new passion in light of social distancing?

Not exactly. I wouldn’t really say journaling is a passion of mine, but I am getting more into it. I try to do it at the end of each day, and when I do, my thoughts come flowing out. Journaling definitely is something I want to continue, because I’m able to keep track of my thoughts and look forward to reading the entries in a few years. It all started after I shared with one of my closest counselor friends (who isn’t my real school counselor) that I began watching a Hulu docuseries on Hillary Clinton and how I was planning on reading Michelle Obama’s Becoming as soon as possible. I shared with her what I learned about Hillary and how it relates to me and my future interests. Then she said that I should start journaling, “because who knows, maybe one day I end up reading a book on you."  

7) What are your hopes for the future?

I sometimes feel like I have too many hopes for the future, but it’s what keeps people going, having something to look forward to. I hope the day we can all go back to our lives before COVID-19 comes soon. I also hope that more people realize that we take many aspects of our lives for granted. I also hope for the success of my friends, classmates, teachers, counselors, my success, and my parents. My parents have given up a lot to be citizens of this country, so I can’t let them down. My success is essentially theirs as well. By going to college, graduating with a degree, and then moving on to grad school to earn my masters, my parents are winning as well. I hope to study political science/public policy, economics, and data science to best prepare myself for a potential career in law and government. I plan on using my skills and knowledge to serve the members of my community and ultimately help those in need.  

8) Is there anything else you’d like us to know about you?

I am extremely extremely grateful for the community that exists at Herndon. It is one community made up of a hundred interdependent smaller ones, yet I also created my own, but also become a part of them. They have been nothing but supportive, influential, and motivating. As I move through my years in college, I will hold in memory everyone and everything that has helped me grow and succeed, allowing me to develop into the person I am today. 

9) What are you most proud of about your school experience/best memory?

I am most proud of having the opportunity to lead Herndon’s Best Buddies chapter this year. Being President has brought me experiences where I learned how to become a strong and efficient leader. My best memories in school are mostly from the meetings and events our club has. In the homecoming parade, I was beyond honored that we had a larger group than expected, allowing for our presence in the parade to grow. From getting to raise awareness throughout town to even organizing a basketball workshop for our buddies, it gave me so much joy seeing how far our mission of inclusion has come in just one year.