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Senior Spotlight — Pedro Lopez-Jardon, Southeast High School

Senior Spotlight — Pedro Lopez-Jardon 

Southeast High School graduating senior Pedro Lopez-JardonSince becoming independent, being the football team captain, and soon joining the Navy, Pedro Lopez-Jardon, a Southeast senior, has shown a remarkable capacity for resilience.

He learned very early in his life that there is no room for excuses if you want a better future.

"I have always had to work to get ahead. There were always obstacles or situations in my life that I had to overcome. For a while, we had no money, and my mother had to make barbecue and cheese pies to sell, and I remember that I would go door to door to see if someone wanted to buy," he said.

Pedro came to Wichita two years ago with his mother. He sought to join the Southeast football team, which was not easy, as many of his teammates had played together for some time. Pedro felt like joining a family where everyone already knows each other and appreciates each other. He had to show his courage and skills, which led him to become the captain of the team.

"In all the games, I was the one who tackled the most and left everything on the field. They named me defensive player of the year and player of the year."

At the end of the football season, Lopez-Jardon left his mother's house and continued his studies thanks to the remote learning model.

Pedro had a very hectic life full of changes and different schools before arriving at Southeast. That made him understand the importance of building genuine connections and not superficial friendships.

"I changed schools three of four times. Sometimes I didn't have time to make friends, so I was busy building relationships with people who could support or help me later in life. Sometimes those connections were with teachers or principals. Those connections are more substantial."

In Southeast, he encountered challenges that he had to learn to navigate as in his personal life. But he also found the role model he needed to give direction to his life.

"Mr. Agnew, the school social worker, inspired me a lot. He took the time to share his story with me, and I found many similarities to mine. He inspired me to want to work hard so I can have a better life.

After finishing his studies, Pedro will join the Navy, where he hopes to take advantage of every opportunity given to him to build a better future.

"It is difficult to put into words everything I have learned, especially in the last two years. But if I had to choose just one, it would be not to give up. No matter where you come from, what people think, or your size, never stop trying. This is your life, not that of others.”