Student Spotlight on Ana Bailao

Student Spotlight on Ana Bailao

Sabrina Lopes, Staff Writer

What is the greatest experience you have ever had? 

The greatest experience I have ever had was definitely my trip to Memphis, Tennessee, a few years ago. It was a 50-hour bus trip with a workers union I was involved with when I lived in Connecticut. Every second on that bus was worth it. The trip marked Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s 50th death anniversary, as well as a remembrance of the sanitation workers from the civil rights movement who struck as a declaration of independence against oppression, popularly known as the “I Am a Man” strike.

This trip was the greatest experience I have ever had because not only did I get to see Bernie Sanders, MLK’s children, Common, and some other very influential people in the Civil Rights movement speak, join them on a march, and move a crowd of people with the same passion for the movement as me, but I also got to learn so much about the movement’s history, and meet common people who fought for change from all around the world. It was a life-changing experience and definitely created a passion for fighting for justice and equality.

Who do you consider your biggest role model, and why? 

My biggest role model is Kanye West. He has overcome so much, and while receiving hate and being called crazy throughout his career, he has managed to stay true to himself. People often judge Kanye because of his mental health, but even though he struggles with that, he is an amazing example of using pain to create great things and express real-life problems through his music. Kanye talks about many issues our society faces and we often ignore, even if he is often attacked for doing so. I love Kanye because while most rappers talk about the same things over and over again, he makes people uncomfortable by speaking his truth and bringing up things people don’t like to talk about. Kanye West is a genius and the GOAT!

Who are your favorite teachers and why? 

Easy one! Mr. Smith for sure. He always challenges his students to think outside the box and encourages us to debate in a respectful manner over current issues and things that are not talked about enough. His class is not only fun and informative, but he also prepares students for the real world. Mr. Smith is like a friend and a father figure to me and many other students, always teaching us things about life and sharing his experiences with the class. He has definitely had an impact on my life and the way I think about things this year, and I am forever grateful for that!

What are your plans after graduation?

 My plans after graduation are to go to college and become a lawyer, while also doing some type of activism work on the side. I want to fight against the injustices that occur in the criminal system, most specifically against minorities and those who the system was not built to protect and serve. While I know I can’t change the world by myself, my dream is to make a difference through my future job by helping the victims of America’s judicial system and to change lives, even if only a few. If I can help out even one person in the future and make sure justice prevails, it will all have been worth it.

What qualities do you value in people?

Some qualities I value in people are kindness and loyalty. The way you treat others reflects on your character. There is so much hate in this world, and in high school especially, there is so much drama and bitterness between people, so I truly try to stick around those who differ from that. Love is the cure and the answer to so much in the world, and kindness doesn’t cost a thing. I value loyalty because nowadays so many people will smile at your face but have bad intentions or just plain hatred behind your back, so I value those who are genuine and loyal to the ones they love.

What movie could you never get tired of watching?

One movie I can watch every day and never get tired of is Coraline! While most people find it scary, I think Coraline is an amazing movie: the animation is incredible, the music, the plot, it’s just so unique and never gets old for me! It’s definitely my comfort movie :)

What’s something people don’t worry about but really should?

Something people don’t worry about but really should – especially in our predominantly white school, is the way they speak/act towards the people of color in the school. Throughout the few months, I have been going to this school, I have seen so many situations of racism and ignorance coming from the kids. Many people are inconsiderate and insensitive to their language and actions. I have heard so many “jokes” in the hallways coming from people who should not be making them, or straight-up racist comments, and not much is done about it. I constantly have friends telling me about situations that make them uncomfortable in our school, and yet it is not talked about by our higher school authorities.

I believe we, as a school, should worry about these things because not only are we allowing people to be oppressed, but we are contributing to a culture of allowing things that should not be happening. These things are not okay, racism is not a joke, nor is it normal, and our school needs to worry more about the issues of inequality and racism within the students. Minorities should not only be respected and celebrated during certain months of the year but every day of every month. Black Lives Matter is not a trend, it’s a truth. Civil Rights is not the moment, it’s a movement. Latino Culture should not only be respected in October, but every day, and so on with every culture surrounding us. It’s easy to be blind and oblivious to others’ struggles when you’ve never had to face them, but Stroudsburg needs to better address these things and eradicate a bit of the ignorance going around the school.

What profession doesn’t get enough credit or respect? 

One profession I believe doesn’t get enough credit or respect is being a teacher. Most teachers don’t do what they do for the money, but to make a change instead. While not all teachers are the best at what they do, they all still deserve respect. Teachers are underpaid, and when having their hearts in the right place, they can make such a difference in kids’ lives. I have had many teachers who were like parents to me, always going above and beyond to make sure I was successful not only inside the classroom but outside in the real world as well. Our teachers are put through so much stress every day, especially during times of COVID, so the least we can do as students are respectful and kind to somebody who gave their lives to help us build ours!