By Vivian Nguyen ‘21
Our newest Panda to be featured by Freshman Spotlight is Danielle Sanchez! This week, The Bamboo commends Sanchez for her impressive swimming abilities and contributions to Immaculate Heart. As many students know, the Immaculate Heart High School Swim Team, has made quite a name for itself over the last few years. Although the IHHS Swim Team has just started conditioning for the 2017-2018 season, Sanchez has already made it onto the Varsity Swim Team — amongst juniors and seniors! Last week, her title of “Champion” for the seasonal kick-off “Sharks and Minnows” aquatic game was just the beginning of a fantastic Immaculate Heart career — and was just a peek into the rich history of who she is.
Sanchez, who is currently 14 years old, has swum her entire life. She’s made it to the Junior Olympics event in middle school, and practices daily at the Rose Bowl Aquatics Center. For eight years, the swimming pool has become her reality. But for the first time in her life, she is swimming as an official representation of a school swim team. Why is she so passionate to the sport? The Bamboo sat down with Sanchez to find out why.
“I’ve been swimming for such a long time that I’ve grown a love for the sport,” says Sanchez. “It helps me relax from the stressful academic life. Swimming regularly improves your health, too, by allowing for the release of endorphins and the increase of serotonin levels. Thanks Ms. Hellinger!”
Along with swimming, Sanchez exercises as an intensely hard-working student. Last year, she was team captain of St. Francis Xavier School’s academic decathlon team in the annual Archdiocesan event, where she placed fourth in her science individual event. Sanchez is a member of both the Asian Heritage Association Club, where she can celebrate her Filipino roots, and the Girl’s Athletic Association. She has toured and traveled to middle schools across Los Angeles as part of the Panda Recruit Program, a shared commitment amongst all freshmen at the high school.
Evidently, it’s very clear that Sanchez is strong as a woman, a swimmer, a student, and a friend. As an individual, she’s got it covered. In her free time, Sanchez loves to bake all kinds of sweets, paint digitally, designs beautiful hand-drawn stickers, has played on the Junior Varsity Tennis Team at IHHS, and participates in choir for the school’s liturgies. Her future aspirations include wanting to become a doctor. One her reason for this dream of hers, Sanchez explains, is because she’s asked herself, “How do I want to help society?” For Sanchez, doctoring to the needs of others has been the answer.
Sanchez, a real rising star, attributes some of her emanating shine to Immaculate Heart. “Coming from a small middle school and having a small group of friends, I noticed at Immaculate Heart a real sisterhood, and what it actually means,” the athlete says. Although she admits it can be extremely difficult balancing friends, family, personal life, and more, Sanchez has pulled through with the help of her fellow Pandas. She confesses, ““Some days you’re going to feel like you don’t want to try, but it’s important that you have friends and a support group to get through the day.” The most important thing is to “push yourself to do your best and do what’s right for yourself and your body!”
When in doubt of herself and her abilities, Sanchez ponders upon this life philosophy, first voiced by author and lecturer Marianne Williamson: “Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be?”
With that, The Bamboo wishes you all a wonderful week filled with self-confidence and determination! Happy Thanksgiving!