Olivia Torres

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Service 12/20/2013

This year, I have taken advantage of the many opportunites Key Club offers for volunteer service. From the events I have attended, I have been able to appreciate life and everything that I have. In November, I participated in the Field of Valor. There, I set 7 of thousands of flags on the field of Sierra Vista Middle School. As I waited in line for each of my turns, I was able to talk to veterans from WWI to the Vietnam War. Hearing their experiences helped me to understand the realities of war. Hearing these stories helped me appreciate every soldier who has fought or is fighting for our country. As I plotted each flag down, I took a moment to thank each soldier for their bravery. During my Thanksgiving break, I took advantage of the upcoming holiday to help the less fortunate. At the Pomona First Baptist Church, I volunteered in distributing clothes and food to the needy. This was one experience I will never forget. I was in charge of a table containing teenage clothes. When the doors opened, individuals and families flooded in. Seeing the smiles on the people’s faces as I helped them pick out clothes brightened my spirits. It amazed me at how people with so little manage to keep happy hearts. I learned that it is not what you have that brings happiness. Next, we opened the doors to the cafeteria where Thanksgiving dinner was to be served. My task was to serve fruit punch and lemonade. As I walked down each table, I continued to see smiles. There is no better feeling that the feeling that you helped make someone’s day. I interacted with the guests and met many people. I met a young girl from the area around my age and exchanged phone numbers to keep in touch. Overall, this event gave me such a rewarding feeling and it taught me to appreciate all that I have. A few days afterwards, I took part in Isaiah’s Rock Thanksgiving Distribution in Chino. Again, being able to help the needy made me feel like a good citizen. Often times I complain about not having the latest cell phone; yet, I forget to realize that there are families out there that are less fortunate than I am. Giving people the chance to have their own Thanksgiving dinner warmed my heart. I was able to communicate with the guests as I am bilingual. It was nice getting to know the families I was serving. On Thanksgiving, I took time out of my day to once more serve Thanksgiving dinner; this time, in my own community. At Covina Park, I not only helped serve food on plates but also visited the Inter-Community Hospital across the street. There, I served dinners to the doctors and nurses who could not spend the holiday with their families. Of course, I also gave out dinners to the patients. From serving three communities, I learned that Thanksgiving is not all about eating. It is about giving thanks and giving reasons for people to be thankful for.

Action 12/20/2013

As a junior, I participated on Charter Oak’s varsity tennis team. Playing tennis has been a great experience for me, even through its highs and lows. Perhaps the thing I value most from the sport is the friendships it allowed me to create with my teammates. The girls on the team never failed to put a smile on my face and they were always there to cheer me on. In other words, tennis provided me with a second family that I looked forward to seeing everyday afterschool. Two (of the many) things that tennis has taught me is determination and perseverance. Prior to joining varsity, I had played on junior varsity as a sophomore. JV introduced me to the game of tennis and helped me get a feel for it. I remember watching the varsity girls on the other sides of the courts and thinking how much I wished I could play like them. With such motivation, I went to the San Dimas tennis courts as often as I could over the summer of my junior year. There, I spent hours working on my strokes, footwork, serves, and strategy. I was set on moving up from the JV team. Luckily for me, my practice paid off when the varisty coach was impressed at the first team practice! When I officially made the team as the #2 Doubles, I knew that I still had much to learn. During pre-season, I continued to practice and play to my potential. Although some may think that tennis is an easy sport, at times it is very demanding. Unfortunately, girls’ season takes place in extreme heat. There were days where I thought I would collapse in the middle of a match! Despite the heat, I refused to let all my hard work go to waste. I always pushed myself to try my hardest; giving up was not an option. Even though my record was not all that impressive, I took pride in the way played each match. As a first-time varsity player, I knew I could not compare myself to a player who had been playing for years. Tennis has taught me to keep a positive and keep my head up. After all, I could only get better. Moreover, I have learned to maintain good sportsmanship. Though losing is not the best feeling in the world, I have been able to stay positive with my opponents. My partner and I always tried to start conversations with the other team; in fact, I have even made friends with players from other schools. Although playing on the courts calls for seriousness, I still try to keep it fun. As I reflect back to the beginning of the season, I realize that I have grown so much as a player. I owe it to the varisty coach, Coach Bell. He was always there to help me improve my game and never gave up on me. I plan to return to the courts next year, and this time I have higher expectations for myself as I continue to grow as a player.

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