The Student News Site of West Covina High School

WCHS Insight

The Student News Site of West Covina High School

WCHS Insight

The Student News Site of West Covina High School

WCHS Insight

Conversations beyond the cap and gown: Makenzie Perez

A Series
Aleena Ortega

Senior Makenzie Perez looks forward to studying art at California State University, Long Beach to pursue her passion and goal of becoming a children’s book illustrator. Perez reflected on her responsibilities as a student, the controversy surrounding art majors, and her support system, all of which influenced her decision to build a career inspired by what she loves.

Perez discovered her love for art at an early age, inspired by her middle school teacher which led her to practice and expand her skills throughout high school.

“She told me, ‘You’re really good. If you put your heart and soul into this. You can really make something out of it…,’” Perez said.

Growing up in an intrinsically creative household, Perez explained how her parents fueled her creativity and inspired her to continue working toward her artistic goals.

“My mom has always been my number one supporter. Like everything I draw, she’s kept since I was, like one year old… My dad too, he works for LAPD but he a passion for woodshop and he still makes stuff. It’s not about the money. It’s just so he can continue doing what he loves and share it with people. I look up to him a lot for that,” Perez said.

When Perez entered high school, she took advantage of West Covina’s art showcase and the different mediums offered in AP art classes. She explained how these classes motivated her to pursue art as a career instead of a hobby looking to inspire children through creative literature.

Perez showcases her artwork of a peacock using colored pencils in AP art (Aleena Ortega)

“I took AP art and that really taught me how to bust out pieces really fast. So I knew how to make things under pressure and the art showcase is such a cool thing that the school does too because they leave it up for so long,” said Perez.

However, much controversy surrounds students studying art majors due to financial security and job demand causing many artists to choose the STEM field instead. When considering these instances, Perez continued to encourage students to practice their passion and turn it into careers while acknowledging the risks.

“I say go for it. If you have the passion, if you have the drive, you’ll always make a way to get something done…In terms of money, have a safety plan. I think that’s good. My safety plan is, I’m going to double major in English. I don’t think it’s bad. I don’t think you’re giving up on yourself,” said Perez.

With graduation around the corner, Perez expressed her excitement for the next chapter in her life, even if it means being unsure of the future.

“I’m not like entirely sure what my future means. I don’t think anyone is but like, I just want to grow. I want to be a better person. I think it’s good to, reflect on yourself.. good to treat people with with so much kindness,” said Perez

Lastly, Perez shared her gratitude for the people who supported her journey as a student and creative, ultimately being the reason why she decided to follow a career path that captures her values of creativity, learning, and kindness.

“I believe in teaching people young. Kids learn from everybody around them. I want to be able to like instill good values and like be a role model. I have nephews I have nieces like yeah, I just want to I want to be able to give them like a better world. Yeah, like my mom did for me,” Perez said.

Congratulations to all seniors who have worked hard these past four years and only have a week to go before celebrating in a cap and gown. Best wishes to all pursuing their goals after high school and continuing to work passionately.

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