School: South Sound High School in Lacey.
Best Personal Achievement: My best personal achievement is being a young teen mother who doesn’t fit the stereotype of a typical teen parent. I am also proud of the 4.0 grade-point average I have kept in school.
How I spend my time: When I have spare time, I usually take my son to the park or take walks with him and my dog. Sometimes I buckle up my son in the car and go job hunting. I also enjoy drawing when my son is taking a nap, because it’s pretty tempting for a 2-year-old to see his momma drawing and want to scribble his art work on the paper. I love to cook too, I like watching cooking shows or going on the Internet to find different dishes I can learn how to cook.
Favorite movie: There are so many movies I like, but I would have to say my absolute favorite movie is “Fast Five.” I love the cars and the music and most of the things that happen in the movie.
Dream job: I would love to own my own catering business someday, meet new people and see new things – and learn how to make new, tasty foods.
Someone I respect: I respect most, if not all, the people I know or even don’t know, but I have utmost respect for my aunt. She has showed me how to be a great person, and to treat people the way I want to be treated. She also has modeled good values and morals, showing me if you work hard you can accomplish anything and make yourself into what you want to be. She has inspired me greatly and helped me to realize what kind of individual I want to be.
My ambitions or career aspirations include: I’d really like to attend Washington State University; I think it would be so exciting and a great experience. But I will begin at South Puget Sound Community College and hope to transfer to WSU later.
Someone famous I’d like to meet: I see people who are famous just as regular people, nothing higher than regular ordinary individuals. However if I were able to meet someone famous I think I’d like to meet actress Vanessa Hudgens. She seems like a very strong woman who also is a great mother and good role model.
Someday, looking back on my life, I’d like to be able to say: “Even with all the hard things I had to face as a teen mother, I still worked hard, finished high school with flying colors and same with college and got a well-paying career. I want all the teen mothers to know that they can do that, too, no matter what the circumstances may be.”
Biggest challenge facing teenagers: The biggest challenge I face with people my own age is how most of them are not very mature, and they are very judgmental.
One thing in the world I would change if I could: I would change the way people discriminate against each other. Life is too short to be disliking people so much just because they are different. We need to celebrate diversity.
Nominated by: Social studies teacher Renee Young, who wrote, “Mercedes has the gift of perseverance. She is talented and willing to put in the work that turns a raw gift into opportunity. We need to clone her and populate the whole school with more just like her.”
To nominate a ninth- to 12th-grade student for Student Spotlight, email the following information to email@example.com, fax it to 360-357-0202, or mail it to P.O. Box 407, Olympia, WA 98507, attention Lisa Pemberton.
Selected students must submit a photograph and fill out a questionnaire. Provide the student’s name, age, grade, school name, telephone number and/or email; a quote about the student from a school staff member; and the name and contact information of the nominator.