high school

Shadow Mountain Cross Country Alumni Christmas Eve Run

cross country alumni running on christmas eve

This year, I was introduced to the annual Shadow Mountain Cross Country Christmas caroling run.   For the past 19 years, SMHS cross country alumni runners have met at the high school on Christmas Eve to gather together and run to different places to sing Christmas carols. I ran on the cross country team my senior year in high school but have been out of town for the runs the past two years. However, this year, I joined in and helped keep the tradition alive.

The way I learned how the tradition works is this:

Everyone meets at the front parking lot near the office at Shadow at 8am. We all stretch and wait about 15 minutes until everyone shows up. Then we run as a group and sing a Christmas carol at each store or restaurant. Before heading home, we stop at an alumni’s parents house near Cholla and 36th st for water and homemade cookies. Afterwards, we finish back in the parking lot were we started and sign something(a flag this year) that is given to one of the alumni.

This year we hit Target, Paradise Valley Mall, IHOP and Bashas and Mithc, a freshman at Shadow this year, received the signed flag to take home.

Some of my favorite parts of this experience:

-hearing people chime in and sing along with us

-singing as we ran through the mall

-running with alumni from recent and past years like 1997 and 2013

I wanted to share this tradition because I think it’s really neat and I hope to continue it and keep it alive with the rest of the alumni. Hopefully you enjoyed reading about it! Lastly, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! ūüôā Feel free to share any thoughts or comments below


From a cold email to an internship in the heart of San Francisco

My journey with Verbling started almost two years ago when I sent this cold email, hoping to find a job working for this amazing language learning platform. Tomorrow, I set off for California to start my month-long internship with the company next week. I hope this blog post inspires you to let go of the fear of rejection or failure, and pursue a job related to your passions.

Screenshot 2013-05-15 at 11.29.16 PM


(Click to enlarge)

I had used the website a few times to practice my Spanish with people from Colombia, Mexico and Peru. I LOVED the idea of Verbling- connecting native speakers with language learners-and I wanted to be a part of the team. Not thinking twice, I quickly wrote up this email and sent it to a jobs link not knowing what exactly would happen.¬†It wasn’t until January of 2012 when I received a response from one of the co-founders. By that time, I had completely forgotten about the email I had sent during the first semester of my last year in high school.

I couldn’t believe it. I thought certainly it was a mistake. One of the co-founders of Verbling, Jake, wanted to Skype with me, an average high school kid?

I replied back with more excitement than a little kid visiting Disneyland for the first time. After I Skyped him, he offered me a job as an administrator on the website. I didn’t sleep for the next two weeks.

Life seemed too good to be true. I felt giddy as can be at the fact that I was getting paid to work with the engineers and speak Spanish and English with people from all over the world. Right then, I knew I had the most awesome job in the world. I became so passionate about language learning and learning about other cultures. I knew I was exactly where I wanted to be and that my desire was to make this company succeed.

After a few months, I hired a few friends from high school, which grew into the administration team that I lead. We were a great team. There were 7 of us and we were fantastic. We made sure the site was working properly and kept the Verbling community safe for all the users.

Then in November, I moved up to start teaching English. I felt so grateful to be given the opportunity to teach. I fell in love with it and it hit me! Whatever I end up doing after I graduate from college, teaching will be involved. It’s such a rewarding experience to teach and inspire students who are thirsty for knowledge. Languages are my passion and my job allows me to earn money for sharing that passion. I feel extremely appreciative.

Tomorrow, I begin a new path in my voyage with such an amazing team-an internship right in the heart of San Francisco at Verbling. I will fly out of Phoenix and into Laguna Niguel to spend a day with my family before heading to San Francisco on Friday. On Monday, I will start my first day working as an intern at Verbling. I cannot explain the joy and excitement built up inside of me to be able to participate in the early stages of a company that will change language-learning education forever. ¬†It wouldn’t even be possible with the generous monetary award I have been granted by the University of Arizona Honors College. After I return from Argentina, I will share my experience with others at the university because I want to give advice and tell stories that will encourage others to embark on similar journeys.

I decided to write this post because most people don’t know how I ended up where I am. They think I got lucky. However, that’s not the case. I took a leap of faith and sent a “cold email,” not knowing where it would lead and here I am- about to embark on a month-long learning experience in San Francisco. This is my story that I have created for myself. Now it’s time for¬†you to create¬†yours.¬†