Morton East High School
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Happiness Plays a Big Role
By Hazael Martinez
Photo taken by Gallegos’ friend.
This photo was taken at school during her freshman year.
Xitlali Rodriguez-Gallegos, who goes by “Jacqueline Gallegos,” is a 16-year-old junior and goes to Morton East High School. She works as an assistant at Personal Physicians Clinic. She enjoys family time but when Gallegos has time for herself, she reads a book or even listens to music to keep her relax. Gallegos is also part of the snowball club, and her favorite sports are baseball and volleyball. She believes that she can go beyond because everyone has a purpose in life, and for Gallegos that is reaching success and pursuing happiness.
During the start of remote learning this year, Gallegos did find it frustrating and difficult to follow up in all her classes. However, after giving it some time, she now finds it easy because she has more time to finish and turn in all her work.
“At the beginning, I didn’t like it as much due to not being able to connect with my teachers in person but going further into our semester I started to realize that now I can do so much more in school. Simply, I put more time into my homework or projects that are assigned,” Gallegos said.
Growing up was not so great for Gallegos because she was not able to have a good chance to communicate or even a bond with her father's family side.
“It was hard. I grew up on my dad's side: 3 boys and I was the only girl, so you can imagine always being told 'no' when waiting to do something. It always had to go their way. I would get left out so I would have to find ways to be included,” Gallegos stated.
Her role models are her mother, grandma, and aunts because their trust, hope, and guidance helps Gallegos feel appreciated and loved within her family.
Gallegos said during her interview, “My mom has been through so much and has set an example for what it means to be an amazing role model. To be independent, responsible, and reliable... Because without her I wouldn’t have been able to achieve anything I’ve done so far."
Thinking about her mom and the woman she gets Gallegos warm and fuzzy on the inside for all the right reasons. Everyone deserves to have a mother like Gallegos.
“My mother is a woman like no other. She gave me life, nurtured me, taught me, dressed me, fought for me, held me, shouted at me, kissed me, but most importantly, loves me unconditionally. There really are not enough words to describe the amount of love I have for her, nor how important she is to me. She has a powerful impact on me and for that, I owe her the world,” Gallegos gushed.
Gallegos' grandma and aunt also are ones she looks up to because they always think about the positive and never look at the negative side of things.
"My grandma would always say if you were not happy with the outcome, make it a better one. My grandma and aunt are the types of people if they aren’t happy, they really push each other to overcome their falls,” Gallegos said.
Gallegos also thinks of her family as important, as they are always the first people she goes to for advice and keeping things secret from others. It is great to have someone who can look out for you.
“My aunts are not just my close family; they are my second mothers and are like sisters who can keep secrets. They give me amazing advice when I need it. They truly want nothing but the best for me,” Gallegos shared.
Her favorite food has always been mole and corundas because she grew up with them and it is just so traditional for her.
“They are a tradition to have them in our family, even if it is just for a get-together. My grandma always made them for us,” Gallegos said.
If Gallegos ever had the chance to go back in time and see her younger self, she would love to warn about the danger of society and to always remember to take care of herself.
“I would have said to avoid certain people and to always look at everything in a positive way and worry more about being yourself,” Gallegos remarked.
Ms. Huerta, a junior English teacher at Morton East, can confirm that Gallegos is one of her most hard-working students and that she always puts out her best,
“She is a hard worker, has good communication skills, and she is willing to put in work to turn in better quality work. She is open to critiques and works well with others, even when others are difficult,” Huerta said.
Gallegos’ friends admit that she is their greatest influence because she is more than a student and a friend. Many see Gallegos as their inspiration and hope. Ruby Guzman, one of Gallegos’ friends, speaks highly of her.
"I'm proud of her for being such a great role model! At a young age, she has already accomplished so much. So, I cannot even imagine what Jacqueline will do as she gets older and receives so many more opportunities,” Guzman said.
After graduating high school, Gallegos plans to pursue a career as a surgical technician and earn her Doctorate degree. She is a quick thinker and fast learner, which makes her extremely outgoing. Gallegos sees Morton East not just as a school she attends, but also as a starting point towards her success. She is thankful to all the staff members at this school for helping her along the way and creating such a family-type environment to support the students.