Vanessa Zarazua, a Kilgore freshman, went to high school knowing that if she finished, she would be the first person in her family to do so. Not only did she complete high school, she also graduated with grades in the top 10 percent of her class. She is now a freshman at KC, and she continues to stay determined to keep moving forward and help others along the way.
Zarazua has many passions, one of which is music. She says that while she has always been a big lover of music, her biggest inspiration came from when she was in fifth grade and her class was visited by the high school orchestra. She was deeply affected by the experience of hearing classical music for the first time and decided to play violin the next year in the middle school orchestra. After doing well with that instrument, she decided to pursue a career in the music field. She now follows that passion as a music major, and sings in both the KC Chorale and the ensemble.
“Music has definitely made such a big impact in my life,” Zarazua said. “It has made me find the better parts of myself that I wouldn’t have been able to find before music.”
This passion has helped Zarazua show her positive attributes, which people around her have noticed.
“I think what has impressed me the most about Vanessa is her determination,” said Melanie Sullivan, music theory instructor. “I noticed it even when she came to audition in May of last year. She is very focused and hardworking, and always seems to have the end goal in sight. And she is so dependable – she is always where she is supposed to be when she is supposed to be there, and always prepared.”
Zarazua’s determination has led her to excel and receive good grades both in high school and at KC.
“I think my biggest sign of determination is the amount of practice I’ve put into my singing and even my instrumental works as well,” Zarazua says. “I always would stay up until at least 1 a.m. every night the week before a competition and would practice constantly trying to make sure everything was perfect.”
Zarazua is determined not only to succeed in the academic areas that she chooses to pursue, but also to stay positive and optimistic in all situations.
“One of my favorite songs is ‘The Secret of Happiness’ from the musical ‘Daddy Long Legs,’” she said. “My favorite line would have to be ‘Living in the time it takes to blink, I think, is how we’re meant to be living,’ because it talks about focusing in the now rather than in the past.”
Zarazua’s lifestyle seems to be built on these lyrics as she strives to find the good in every moment and to not dwell on past mistakes or bad experiences.
“In high school, I had terrible, really abusive relationships,” she said. After ending one out of high school, she met the love of her life a few months into college and is now engaged to be married.
“I think people need to realize that even though something good can come out of something bad, because that made me realize what I actually needed for myself, and for my future rather than just staying in the past,” she said. “I want to be that example.”
Zarazua’s future aspirations include someday being a choir director at a small high school, primarily because of her love for music, helping people and working with students.
“My main goals in life right now are to get married and be able to start my career as soon as I graduate college and raise a family well, while also making a helpful impact in the community,” she said.
In the meantime, she does what she can to learn, to share her talents, and to encourage and help her classmates, her family, and whoever she can. She knows the value of both hard work and optimism, and says that it’s always better to move forward rather than to complain. Her future seems as bright as her attitude, which is extremely bright indeed.
By Katherine Bassett Staff Writer