Tens of thousands of people have walked through the historic halls of Eastwood High School, and a majority of them have become successful with whatever career they decided to pursue. Some get the praise they deserve and some just seem to fall through the cracks. Although much deserved, they seem to not be as noticed as other striving students. An Eastwood senior that could fit this group of people is Viana “Hannah” Vasquez. Although involved in many activities at Eastwood, the praise she gets is just not enough.
Viana is often called Hannah because as a child her family would often call her by her middle name, which is Alejandra. Her older brother could not pronounce Alejandra so he called her Hannah; it stuck. She spends a lot of time away from home, mostly helping out the community, and has earned membership in the 300 Community Service hour club at Eastwood. Vasquez accumulated 434.5 hours throughout her four years of high school. Vasquez is also involved in many extra curricular activities such as being in the band, the dual language program, choir, dance, AP classes, and also participating in the El Paso Youth Orchestra. She does all of this while still being at the top of her class, and she is currently ranked 13th in the entire senior class. While having to juggle all of her activities and schoolwork, she still has a favorite activity during her tenure here at Eastwood, which is band. She feels that band gave her the opportunity to “express (herself) creatively using music,” and also plans to major in music therapy in college. She feels that she gained the most out of being in the Dual Language program because she “got to experience the boundaries of two totally different cultures.” She also feels that being in this organization really helped her learn more about herself as she gets ready to continue on to her future, “I learned that I learn better in Spanish but I have to translate it into English, so that everybody else can understand, which only helped me learn both languages a lot more,” she said.
Vasquez has had a great time at Eastwood during her four years, “I would easily rate my experience an 8 out of 10,” she states. Vasquez’s recalls her favorite year to be her freshman year because, “it just felt so new and fresh like a clean slate to start something exciting.” Her expectations of it however were just a little bit different coming in, “I was scared, I heard all of the stereotypes of students in high school. They partied and I wanted no part in it.” Vasquez credits band to helping her get over her fear of high school, “during my first summer band camp the upperclassmen gave me the rundown on which groups to hang out with and who to stay away from.” She reminisces on her favorite experience in high school to be her Senior Night football game as she did her final salute as a Drum Major before a half time performance in front of the Eastwood home crowd. Many students in the crowd raved about it, among them was Senior Danielle Espinoza who still at the end of the year thinks it was cool and exciting, “I’ve never seen any drum majors do something like that at football games, it was really something that you can’t forget about this year.” However Vasquez goes on to say that the one thing she did not enjoy about high school was being close to upperclassmen and then watching them graduate and leave.
Hannah has achieved many things throughout her time here at Eastwood especially through her extra-curriculars more specifically band and choir. Being a member in the band for four years brought tons of success her way. She plays the clarinet and was in the top band all four years, and she split two of those years as the first chair. Along these four years she also participated in the tryouts of All-Region where she did have success in three of the four years. She earned a first chair spot in the freshman band, which made her one of the best freshman clarinetists in the city. However her sophomore year she claims that she got “too cocky”about how she placed the year before which led her to not making a band that year. Looking for vengeance her next year she prepared harder which led her to earning a spot in the first All-Region band and advancing to the Area competition which she came up short in an effort to qualify for the State band. With her senior year being her last year she strove to do the best she had done in the previous three years and she did just that. However it did not start off that way, she was placed as the last chair in the first All-Region band but still qualified for Area. It was at the Area competition where she shined and outplayed everyone in El Paso and was one spot away from making the All-State band. She had a successful run in terms of All-Region. Vasquez also participating in the marching band was elected as a Drill Instructor her Sophomore and Junior year which she was the leader of the clarinet section. Her incredible efforts led her to becoming a Drum Major her senior year leading a band of 200 people and being considered at the top of the band hierarchy. Mr. Andrade, the head band director, comments on Hannah’s work ethic, “She has worked her tail off for all four years she has been here and I cannot thank her enough for everything she has done for this organization.” Vasquez also played a huge role in the choir program at Eastwood. She joined her sophomore year and was placed in the Advanced Woman’s Choir. She stayed in it for two years. She then was promoted to be apart of the Cavaliers, which is the premier choir group at Eastwood. She was a student conductor for the Cavaliers at the Homecoming pep rally when they sang the Alma Mater. Vasquez being in these two groups has achieved more than an average high school student would ever dream of doing.
Vasquez has a lot of people to thank for getting her through high school. She credits Ms. Richards, her private lesson teacher, with making her “strive for perfection,” in everything she did. She also says that two of her favorite teachers throughout high school were Ms. Blanca Rubio and Mr. Daniel Rivera. They both left positive impacts on her life because of how nice and caring they were to her. “They both inspired me to try harder through their actions, their passion to teach and care for their students left me wanting to succeed and reach my ultimate potential.” Hannah has had many friends throughout her life, however one sticks out to her and his name is Jonathon Rubio who was a part of the graduating class of 2014. “Band brought us together my freshman year and I cannot thank him enough for staying by my side and helping me along this journey called high school.”
Graduation is soon approaching and Hannah, although very excited, is going to miss many things here at Eastwood. One major thing that she is going to miss are the halls. Vasquez goes on to say, “Eastwood is such a loving community that has the most pride out of all the high schools.” Hannah brought one of her friends that goes to Eastlake to this previous years’ Burning of the E and she said, "he could not believe just how prideful the whole community of Eastwood and wished that his school could have just half of it at their own school.”
“We (freshman) started off getting hated and not understood because we were new," she said, "and didn’t know what was going on and although it seemed that everyone was unaccepting, that isn’t the case. I have come to find the best in people no matter what, and I think that is something that high school taught me.” Upon graduation Hannah has few tips for the underclassmen that are still at Eastwood: “Sprint to the finish line; you’re almost done and it goes by in a blink of an eye, so don’t take breaks. If you work now, it will all pay off in the end.”
Hannah is one of those special Troopers who go about their business quietly, and sometimes get overlooked. But those are the students who make Eastwood what it is: a great place to learn and grow up.