By Vivian Nguyen ’21
The Bamboo has compiled quite a column of talented freshmen over the year thus far. As the second semester makes itself comfortable, it’s worth noting that all the ninth graders featured in the “Freshman Spotlight” soon won’t be freshmen anymore. The theme of “getting to know our freshman sisters!” has left itself in the first semester, and sophomores and upperclasswomen alike have duly acquainted themselves with their freshmen counterparts. For this latest column, The Bamboo interviewed freshman Ashley Christiansen with a new focus — on how she has gotten to better know herself at Immaculate Heart.
Christiansen is best known for playing basketball. Over the years, it has become second nature for her to run, pass, and dodge. Joining Immaculate Heart’s Varsity Basketball Team was no easy task, and still Christiansen took a spot this year as point guard on the team. For six years, this has been her life. Practices after school and weekly games all started in the third grade, when she joined her first basketball team at Christ the King School in Los Angeles.
“I’ve been competing for six years, but I’ve been playing for my whole life,” Christiansen said. When asked why she prefers and finds passion in basketball above other sports, she explained, “In basketball, there’s a refreshing sense of unity that elevates it above the rest, or at least for me. I feel a new spirit of teamwork that’s brought out of all of us on the team, and that’s why I love it so much.”
Christiansen’s spirit has brought her far, and she shared her favorite experience of her basketball career, which happened during middle school years: “Seventh grade was the first time our school won league championship in 15 years, and I was there to witness it!” she recalled. That same year, she was named Most Valuable Player for her sheer positivity and skill.
IHHS marked a new starting point for Christiansen, and she has built up plenty of fun memories here, too. This season, Christiansen shared how the December Malibu tournament was “definitely memorable” because the team won first place. She was extremely grateful and proud of her Panda Sisters, who “took [her] far” in her career and self confidence.
In the future, Christiansen has quite the life plan – she aspires to study in the field of anthropology, or of human history of the past. Her favorite pastime would have to be playing guitar and basketball, as well as listening to Panic at the Disco! Whether at home or at school, Christiansen said that the Immaculate Heart community finds ways to enter her heart and make her day that much better.
On Immaculate Heart spirit, Christiansen noted, “I’ve been so inspired here. The sense of community is completely different. I remember at the beginning of the year, I walked in one morning and everyone was yelling ‘Ashley!’ They were so happy to see me, and I felt immensely loved! That hasn’t changed at all. My basketball team feels like I’m part of a family when I’m there with them.” Christiansen first came in contact with the school through her friends and her mom, who is an alumna. “Something drew me close,” she said, “especially the teachers and friends I’ve made.”
Christiansen’s basketball and academic career are a long way from being over. She can’t wait for the memories to be made, the places that she’ll see, and the chances she’ll get to lift someone up as IHHS has done for her. “I get inspired very easily. One of my favorite quotes is about living life to the fullest every day,” a wistful Christiansen said.
The Bamboo ends this column with this Panda’s favorite quote from author Nathan Scott: “It’s the oldest story in the world. One day you’re seventeen and planning for someday, and then quietly without you ever really noticing that someday is today and that one day was yesterday and this is your life.”