Meet the Dell City High Class of 2022 – Shania Vargas
Dell City High School graduation is June 3rd – just weeks away – and Shania Vargas, of the Cougar Class of 2022, is looking forward to what's next with excitement, even impatience. But she also feels the sadness of what she'll be leaving behind.
“There's a lot that's on my mind,” Vargas said. “I'm ready to graduate, and I'm thinking about college and my living situation. But I'm used to this routine. There's a lot that I'm going to miss.”
After graduation, Vargas plans to move to El Paso, and to share an apartment with friends, while she works and attends El Paso Community College. She wants to complete her basic college requirements at EPCC before moving on to the University of Texas at El Paso – with the ultimate goal of studying psychology and becoming a therapist.
Because while she may be impatient to graduate, Vargas isn't impatient when it comes to listening to others. She enjoys listening – Vargas values relationships, and is the kind of person others know they can confide in.
“My friends have told me that they really open up with me,” she said, “more than other people, and that makes me happy – that I've earned their trust. I know that as a psychologist, it's going to take a lot of time for people I'm working with to trust me.”
Specifically, Vargas wants to work as a psychologist with people facing substance-abuse issues.
“I want to be able to help people,” Vargas said. “That's what I want to do. And people who are suffering with substance abuse – they're often the ones going through the hardest times. A lot of times there's more going on than it seems, something beneath the surface.”
Vargas is both eager and uncertain about the independent life ahead. She knows that living with friends will be different than hanging out with them – they'll see one another's “true colors,” she said, and will have to “communicate and negotiate” to coexist. But Vargas has already dealt with challenging transitions in her life.
Vargas, and her mother and brother Jasper, moved to Dell City from Los Lunas, New Mexico midway through Vargas' fourth-grade year, just weeks before her 10th birthday. The family moved without much warning, and Vargas didn't have a chance to say goodbye to her childhood friends. She said celebrating her first “double-digits” birthday in an unfamiliar place, apart from the friends she'd known, was “kind of lonely.” She was touched when her former Los Lunas classmates, and her teacher there, sent her a letter.
But Vargas said at first she “wasn't open or trusting” with the new people she was meeting. She eventually formed friendships and bonds here, and came to enjoy many things about Dell City. But she still had a hankering for a larger peer group. In her sophomore year, she transferred to Jefferson High School in El Paso, living with her grandmother there.
“I wanted to experience a big school,” Vargas said,” and to get a shot at having a couple more friends. I felt like maybe if I went to El Paso I would have a group of friend with similar likes. And I did – I ended up finding a really big friend group there.”
The coronavirus pandemic, and the school closures that accompanied it, interrupted her time at Jefferson High, and she returned to Dell City for her junior and senior years. But she's stayed connected with her friends in El Paso – they're the housemates she'll be living with after graduation.
Vargas said she's come to appreciate the unique things the Dell City School offers – particularly the teachers, and the personal connections students can have with them.
“There are teachers here – especially Ms. Mata and Ms. Ryan – that I really feel like I can open up to,” she said, “about personal things. I'm going to miss being in class with them, and I'm going to miss being able to talk to them like that in class.”
Vargas said she's grateful for math teacher Clement Boakye – Mr B – who “really does go out of his way to help me with the math work, and to give me extra time.” And she said she's thankful to English teacher Trever Czubinski – Coach T – who “is a really good teacher, even though I don't like doing his work sometimes.”
“These teachers make it a little easier for me to understand,” Vargas said. “I try, but sometimes I don't get it, and because we're a small school it's more hands-on, and they're more understanding and give me more time, and I really appreciate that.”
And she said she's especially enjoyed the storytelling from social studies teacher Joe Czubinski. Vargas described a recent economics class, in which Coach Ski used his own youthful experience as a cashier at K-Mart during the Cabbage Patch Kid boom to illustrate the concept of supply and demand.
“Connecting their own personal experience with the work – that's what makes class fun,” Vargas said. “I'm going to miss Coach's stories so much.”
Vargas said that, as the only two members of the Class of 2022, she and Esteban Morales have developed a special connection.
“Over time, the bond builds,” she said. “There are times when Stevie and I argue – not really argue, but joke – and I really am going to miss arguing with Stevie.”
There's another relationship that's made her time at the Dell City School special, Vargas said – the one with her brother. Jasper is a junior this year, and he and his sister often walk together between classes, go home together for lunch, and visit during the school day. Vargas said she feels protective of her brother.
“The longest I've been without my brother is two or three weeks,” she said. “It's going to be hard to leave him here by himself. When other kids are messing with him, even though I know they're joking, it does make me mad. I want to be there for him.”
Still, Vargas said she's eager for the adventures and opportunities ahead.
Congratulations, Shania, on graduation – and we're excited for you as a begin a new stage in your life!