Sophia Poveda '17 Considers WCS Her Home and Family

Sophia Poveda '17, Alumni Association Scholarship Award Winner
Having attended Westminster since preschool, it is easy to understand why I consider WCS my home and family. Westminster is the only school I have ever attended, and to have spent 15 of my 18 years here, is one of my life’s greatest blessings. In the elementary school, WCS was my family because my friends were there, my teachers loved me and they encouraged me to learn and to love Jesus. As I grew older, my friends and teachers, and even the parents of my friends, guided me as I discovered my gifts and began to unravel the mystery of who I was becoming. Mrs. Blaum helped me learn to read, while Mrs. Abbey coached me in my spelling bee competitions long after I had left her class. Mrs. Santacoloma cemented my love for reading by crowning me “Reading Pig” because I read so many books. In middle school, Mrs. Wright taught me to work harder than I had ever worked before, while Coach Brown showed me that I could lead even as the youngest player on the court. However, high school was the first time that I really came to understand the true value of my WCS family.

During winter break of my freshman year, I learned that a selfie I had taken was being circulated with negative comments on numerous social media platforms. On Twitter alone, it was retweeted by strangers hundreds of thousands of times, with comments saying I didn’t deserve to live because of how ugly I was. I prayed that no one I knew would see the tweets. I didn’t want to be the subject of gossip at school or elsewhere. A few weeks later, my fear came true when a popular account with more than a millions followers shared my photo. As tears ran down my face, a direct message from an upperclassman I’d only spoken to once popped up on my phone. This was followed by more messages, all with words of encouragement from friends and acquaintances at WCS. The love and support of my Westminster family was getting me through this hard time. The instant that the messages popped up on my phone, was the first moment I truly knew the value of the Westminster family.
The only people who stood up for me were WCS students. They tweeted back to the account telling them to shut it down. They were also the only ones to message me and compliment me and share with me words I will never forget. I was reminded of the good that words can do. My Westminster family reminded me of the good that I could not see and that is what family does. They are the ones who have your back, when it feels like the world is crashing down around you. They are the ones who make you smile when all you can do is cry. Sometimes you don’t always get to choose your family, but attending Westminster was the best decision my parents could have ever made for me because I found my family right there: in the classrooms, on the field, and in the lunch room. From my first year in Pre-K3 when my best friend and I had matching Hello Kitty lunchboxes, to my senior year when I heard one of my teachers yell across the hall, “Love you Povi!” I knew that leaving my home would be so hard, but the best part is that my family would never leave me. Westminster family isn’t there just for the years you attend…the “Dub” family lasts forever.

I think that when you attend Westminster, staying connected is just what we do. The relationships that we have with our friends and teachers, and the experiences we have shared bring us all back. It’s like no other. As a student, it is very normal to see alumni come back to visit, and I’m excited to do that after I graduate. If I live in Miami as an adult, I hope my children can attend WCS and experience the family environment that I grew up in and will never forget.
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