VYPE FEATURE: Willowridge Swim's Grace Herrera
Willowridge varsity senior Grace Herrera has been a member of the team for four years. VYPE caught up with Grace during her season as she discussed what it has been like to be part of the Willowridge Team.
Q:Tell me about your swimming history
A: My swimming journey started at the young age of five. Around that age, I joined the First Colony Swimming Club with my older brother and younger sister. That is when I first realized that I had a special connection with the pool. I knew from there that I would one day be swimming at the prestigious Willowridge High School. Many young girls around that age dream about fashion, tea parties, or hairstyles. The only thing I was dreaming of was swimming for my community at “The Ridge”. Eight years later and my dream as a little girl became reality. Here I am now finishing my very first dream.
Q:Tell us about your family and what lessons you have learned from them…
A: My entire family is my rock. My mother is always there for me no matter what the situation may be and my older brother and younger sister are always by my side as well. I was fortunate to have been able to swim for two years with my brother and sister here at WHS. My brother, Jhonny, swam freshmen to senior year. My sister Sofia swam her freshmen through sophomore year. We are such a strong and determined family. We talk to each other about our problems and we are able to come to solutions about them. We are involved in this community. Willowridge is not only a school but a second home to my family. We are all Willowridge educated and Willowridge proud. Values that I hold important are first being honest. Always trying to do the right thing no matter what and lastly respecting others.
Q:How would you define your High School Career?
A: My High School career has been a magnificent journey from start to finish. Coming from McAuliffe Middle School to Willowridge High School was a massive change. Fortunately, I was blessed with a family that have always supported me in my ongoing pursuit of education, and with my strong faith I was not only able to succeed but also become a leader. As a departing senior I feel as though I exhibit all the features of a “Profile of a Graduate.”
Q:What has been your most challenging part of high school?
A: One of the attributes of “FBISD Profile of a Graduate” is being equipped with skills for life. From my first day of my freshmen year I have always challenged not only myself but my teachers and coaches as well to make sure that every day I am exceeding expectations. I can proudly say looking back, a day was never squandered in my attempt to reach my full potential.
Q:What are you most proud of?
A: Last year during the Pandemic was a challenge for everyone including myself. I had to in a way, re-invent many of my ways I could only have imagined. I first had to become more acclimated to the technology. I did this by researching, asking my peers questions, and by exploring around. Being at a computer all day can have a negative impact on your life. I was not able to swim during this period and that had a major effect on me physically and mentally. I was able to overcome the struggles of online and do exceptionally well in all of my classes. I feel as though the pandemic made me stronger in my mental aspects of life, my studies, and my beliefs. The pandemic has been a defining moment in my life and I am proud of person I have become since that moment.
Q: Has being part of a small team been a challenge?
A: Being part of a small team has some negatives but the positives greatly outweigh the those. Being able to have my fellow teammates look up to me at times makes me fulfilled. Willowridge swim is more than a team. We are a FAMILY. The support we have for one another is second to none. We not only help each other in the pool but also in our studies. Coach White is always guiding and pushing us to success inside and outside of the pool. The quotes and lessons he gives me will be remembered for a lifetime.
Q: What makes your experience special?
A: Being able to say that I am a Willowridge graduate is the most special experience. Learning about the great history of this school is always special to me. To know that I am part of Willowridge High School history is mind blowing. I am proud to let anyone that I am a soaring eagle.
Q:What can others learn from you?
A: I will want the younger members of the team to know that it is all about your mindset. If set on a particular idea anything is possible. If you shoot for the moon, even you miss you land amongst the stars.
Q: What are your plans for the future?
A: I love every aspect about swimming for Willowridge High School. This school has taught so many wonderful things. It has truly been a blast being a part of this team and community. My future plans are to attend Prairie View University and major in Computer Science. After college it would be my dream to come back to the Eagles nest and coach the team I once swam for. BLAZE BLUE!!!