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By Sandy Mouw, SLHS Writing Instructor,  

Storm Lake Times Pilot

“I think my best memory has not come yet; it’s about to come. The best memory for me will be walking that stage in honor of my mother and my siblings. I say this because I can already imagine the immense excitement my mother will feel when she sees her youngest finally graduating and growing up. Thinking about all the sacrifices my mother made to come to this country and to simply give us the best life and education represents the significance as to why graduating will be my best memory.”

Inspired by her hardworking mom, Maria Barron, who raised six children alone after moving from Jalisco, Mexico in 1999 to Storm Lake and working at Tyson ever since, Cindy Barron, the youngest of the six, notes, “Kids don’t realize their parents do that for them.”

“My goal for my senior year is to make as many memories as I can before the Class of 2023 departs. I want to make my family proud, and achieve my diploma in honor of them and my siblings, who unfortunately weren’t able to graduate. Overall I want to make this last school year one to remember for a lifetime, to get to spend the last moments with all my childhood friends.”

Cindy currently works at Citizens Community Credit Union, but she has also been a dietary aide at Methodist Manor and worked the after school program at East Early Childhood School. STARS mentoring, Key Club, iJAg, National Honor Society, and volunteering have filled her high school years with experiences that align with her goals in life.

“One of my favorite pastimes is performing self-care, either on myself or on family members. Self-care for me is making yourself feel beautiful again by either doing your nails, lashes, hair or giving a massage. My all time favorite is a nice relaxing facial that makes you feel rejuvenated and beautiful. It has truly been a passion of mine to make others feel wonderful in their skin, and I hope to accomplish that passion by going into Esthetics.” Cindy plans to go to La James and Iowa Central to earn her esthetician certification and a health and business management degree.

At first Cindy wanted to graduate early, but her STARS mentor, Jordan Hewett, encouraged her to not miss out on her senior year. Cindy appreciates Jordan sharing stories about her sister who took the cosmetology pathway because it aligns with Cindy’s goals for herself and she appreciates others’ expertise and advice.

“My mother inspires me daily. Being a single mother to six kids has not been easy but she has always done her best to give us everything we need, and that is one of the many reasons why she inspires me. She is just simply the most selfless person I know that will give up everything she owns to see her kids and her family happy. My volunteering side has been thanks to her. Ever since I was younger I remember my mother taking me with her to volunteering organizations, whether to help sick people in need or to help out our community. It naturally comes out of my heart to help someone when they need it.”

“I would say that my mother is my biggest supporter. Through thick and thin she has always stood beside me no matter what the outcome might be. She is one to give an opinion before you do something but no matter what the decision might be she’ll be there. I was undecided as to what I wanted to do in the future. My younger self always said I wanted to be an Immigration Lawyer. Sadly, when I grew up the thought slowly faded away which made my mom a bit sad but she never gave up on me. She is there supporting me. That is why I consider her my biggest supporter in life.”

“My day usually always starts bright and early, as I get myself ready for school. Depending on schedules and errands I have to run, my outfit is based on my day. If I have to work a split shift I make sure to wear my most formal clothing to head to work after my classes.

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If that’s not the case casual is the way to go. I somedays go into work after second period, since I have several hours of open campus. Before 1 p.m. I make sure to be back on my way to school because I have two more classes before we end the day. After the day ends I head quickly back to work to finish my shift. Once my shift ends it’s time for me to head back home and finish my duties: doing homework, doing chores, or walking my dog.”

“Being the first generation graduate does not come easily. I am expected to earn high grades to graduate and receive many scholarships for college. Believe it or not it is an obstacle many students like myself face. Not knowing how to apply for scholarships or simply how to even apply for college causes dread. Slowly but surely that is one obstacle that I am very close to overcoming. To those students who may feel the same way as I do, just know you’re not alone and that if you ever have questions there are people willing to answer them but you have to ask someone.”

“One teacher who will forever hold a special place in my heart is one of my iJAG teachers, Mrs. Vrenda Love. I wouldn’t say she is my favorite, I’d say she is more like a second mother to me. Her passion towards helping students strive and accomplish their goals is truly outstanding. Her selfless persona truly goes above and beyond to make her students feel as if they can open themselves up with her and in her classroom. Mrs. Vrenda Love will always mean a lot to me and I will always be extremely thankful for having her in my life.

“It has truly been an honor to attend this wonderful high school. The energy and diversity it carries simply makes me want to never leave. I am proud to have been a part of this school, as it has taught me many things and it has given me many opportunities that I will forever be thankful for. I truly appreciate the administration for always putting the students first and for finding new ways for students to build relationships and offering new clubs that allowed students to get together.”

Cindy knows this was not easy during the Covid years. “Giving the students many resources and many organizations they can include themselves in is a big plus. I tried International Club, taking college classes at Buena Vista University, Charter. They provided a food pantry during Covid for families. I hope my future kids are able to attend a school as diverse and supportive as Storm Lake High School.

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