“I gave him something he didn’t have much left of–and that was time. Everyday, I called him around 5pm. Any later than that, he might be asleep.”
This is the opening line of an essay written by sophomore Maria del Rosario Chan discussing her relationship with her late great uncle.
“Our great uncle passed away just this April and she was really close to him,” said del Rosario Chan’s cousin sophomore Annie Cheng. “She just really values the connections she had with him and she was really devastated when he passed away.”
del Rosario Chan’s sophomore English class had been studying perspective pieces, and del Rosario Chan’s teacher Deborah Hill thought it would be a good idea to have the students submit their own perspective pieces to an editor at NPR News for a chance to get their piece featured on the radio. del Rosario Chan’s piece was selected to be featured, and she will record a recitation of her piece on Nov. 8 at NPR’s studio in Oakland.
del Rosario Chan said that while she is not generally passionate about English and writing, she wanted to make sure her piece was perfect.
“I’m more of a math person, but because it was something that I cared about I wanted [the essay] to be good,” del Rosario Chan said. “I wrote it so teenagers would show more respect to the elderly.”
del Rosario Chan said that her piece combats the assumption that teenagers are not closely connected to their elders, and also highlights her love for family.
“Family is really really important to me,” del Rosario Chan said. “Because they never want anything from me, the only thing I can do is make them happy. That’s the only thing I can really give to them.”
Cheng said that del Rosario Chan’s value of family could come from the majority of her mother’s siblings living in Piedmont, and two of her cousins being in her grade.
“We have an interesting dynamic, we get together more often than most extended families do,” Cheng said. “I think that’s really special.”
Cheng said that she admires the passion and dedication del Rosario Chan puts into her work.
“In third grade she was really passionate about this musical called ‘Les Mis’ and she was completely into it,” Cheng said. “She dressed up as one of the characters for Halloween. She’s just passionate about everything she does.”
The fact that del Rosario Chan had time to write her essay is more than a little surprising considering she is currently involved in three different sports: cross country, swimming, and lacrosse. She plays each sport at least two days a week.
“Playing three sports is hard, I do end up going to bed late a lot of the time,” del Rosario Chan said.
del Rosario Chan began swimming in first grade and lacrosse in 2nd grade due to the influence of her brother, who also swam and played lacrosse, and her father, who coached lacrosse. She joined lacrosse in middle school, and said that she really enjoyed the team environment in both cross country and swimming.
“We have a really good family,” del Rosario Chan said. “Every time I go to practice I have a good time because I really like the people on the team.”
del Rosario Chan said that participating in an individual sport is very different from a team sport such as lacrosse.
“Because they’re individual sports, there’s a feeling of accomplishment,” del Rosario Chan said. “It’s very different from team sports because it’s all mental, and you have to push yourself more.”
del Rosario Chan’s cross country teammate and friend sophomore Sophia Zalewski said that del Rosario Chan’s positive attitude is a great benefit to the team.
“She has a really supportive attitude and she always tries her best,” Zalewski said. “She always pushes me to go faster and she has a great personality.”