One Tribe: Herrera Spreads Happiness Around Campus

Claire Dekruyf, Journalist

Freshman Gabriel Herrera is different from any student you will meet at Ripon High. He embraces his unique qualities and focuses on having a good time rather than being consumed by what others are saying about him. Gabriel is very popular among the freshman class and is one of those people that becomes friends with everyone he encounters.

“ I think that people like Gabriel because he is friendly,  goes out of his way to get to know people, and he has a unique personality,” Laila Irigoyen said. “He always knows how to make me laugh.”

While Gabriel has a big social life, he is also very dedicated to his schoolwork and is very involved in clubs and sports on campus. Gabriel runs track and cross country and also participated in wrestling. He is in leadership and took part in the Science Olympiad. Gabriel also likes to attend United every once in a while. Even though he is already participating in a lot of activities, he also makes time to be in the Ripon High Band.

“ I like being involved in my school and showing school pride,” Herrera said. “I will be the historian next year for leadership which I’m excited for because I will be able to express myself creatively.”

All of the activities that Gabriel partakes in is just another way that he interacts and becomes friends with the students at Ripon.

Band is kind of like a big family and that’s one of the reason I love it.”

— Gabriel Herrera

“I really like to be part of a team and I get to do that through band. Band is kind of like a big family and that’s one of the reason I love it.”

One of the ways that Gabriel is very different from all of his peers is that he is not allowed to have social media because his family wants him to focus on his schoolwork and extracurricular activities. This sets him apart from the majority of students at Ripon High.

“ I don’t really think that not having social media helps me concentrate on schoolwork because I will just find other ways to distract myself,” said Herrera. “ But social media is more of a negative way to procrastinate then what I do.”

Gabriel is one of the only people of his friends that does not have social media, which means that sometimes he can be left out of the loop, but to him, that is not necessarily a bad thing.

“ People will be talking about stuff that happens on social media and sometimes I feel left out. Whenever I get my friends’ phones I always go on Snapchat and look at what people are posting and feel like I’m missing out.”

Although Gabriel suffers from feeling left out every once in a while, he feels that not having social media helps him stay out of drama and preserve his positive and kind attitude.

“But people start a lot of drama and gossip on social media and I feel like I am able to stay away from that.”

Not only does Gabriel feel the normal pressure to do well in school that all teens feel, he also has added pressure from his sister. His sister Aiyana Herrera, graduated last year, was valedictorian, and is now attending Stanford University.

“I usually don’t feel pressured by her, but instead I feel motivated. Sometimes I feel pressure from teachers that also had Aiyana. I think that they are expecting a lot from me and they might be disappointed because I am more talkative,” said Herrera.

Gabriel says that he is not trying to be exactly like her and do the same things that his sister did. He wants to have his own high school experience and make the most out of it.

“I think that I make friends easily because I am pretty attractive and also I’m an earth sign so I’m pretty chill.”