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Mar Vista Student Reports Local High School News

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Posted: Friday, June 16, 2017 2:15 pm

Since he was in third grade Luis Godinez, now 16, had a dream. He wanted to write for a newspaper or have a his own column. His dream came true after Godinez met Riley Dodd, a Mar Vista High School (MVHS) student who graduated last year, 2016.

Dodd who had been writing for the Eagle & Times for a few years was at a volleyball game Godinez was playing in. “I almost hit him twice [with the ball]. I went up to him and apologized,” said Godinez who struck a friendship with Dodd.

“I asked him if he was going to write for the newspaper after he graduated. He said no,” recalled Godinez who saw that as an opportunity to take over as a reporter. Dodd is currently a student at UCSD.

Godinez started reporting on Mar Vista High School sports and events at the beginning of last year. He just completed his junior year at MVHS.

Godinez stays very busy being involved with school and sports in addition to his job as reporter. He is part of Peer Mediation, a group that helps incoming freshmen get acquainted with the school. Godinez is also on the dive team and track and field team at the school and was on the volleyball team for two years. He also was in CIF for cross country this year. He has maintained a 4.3 GPA. 

This past March he was part of  a group of students in the UCSD Upward Bound program who visited a number of universities in Northern California. Godinez was one of two students from Mar Vista High School to be chosen.

Godinez and his family moved to Imperial Beach from the San Fernando Valley four years ago. Although the incoming senior is doing very well now there was a time when things were not so bright for this young man.

Between eighth grade and his sophomore year he went through a bad period when he was living between Imperial Beach and Tijuana, where his father lived, and had to get up at 3 a.m. to cross the border and go to school. Godinez was fatigued from getting up early in the morning and his grades suffered. His math teacher told him he was going to fail the class, so Godinez took the class again and got a C so he could bring up his GPA.

“I had just moved here and fell into depression. It was a bad period. I felt lonely,” he explained.

Of course with his high GPA these days, he can shoot high and he does. His goal is to attend Stanford University and major either in political science, English tor psychology. “I want to be a lawyer. I want justice,” he said.

Godinez is still not sure what kind of law he would like to practice but he is considering civil rights or immigration. “I always wanted to do something that matters…I have seen corruption in the system. I think I could help especially with immigration. My grandmother and dad are immigrants. Some lawyers are there for the money. I’d be there to actually help,” said Godinez.

During the college tour he went on last spring he had a chance to visit Stanford. Godinez will take part in another college tour this summer. He will also take classes at a local community college and do a dive camp at Mesa College.

During this past school year Godinez has been vice presidents of the Key Club International Organization (the oldest and largest community service program for high school students), was a CSF (California Scholarship Federation) Honor Roll member, and was in the Leadership Club.

Because of his many commitments Godinez said he barely has a social life. “I like to see myself busy and sometimes I almost forget to eat,” he said.

His family is very supportive of Godinez’s efforts and the many activities he is involved in. “My mom was really proud when she heard I was going to write for the newspaper,” he said.

“These past four years have not been the best or the easiest. Dealing with all the hardships and obstacles that I was able to overcome have made me the person I am today. I am a stronger person than I once was. I have learned so much from my experiences and am proud of the person I am today, and no one can change that. I have worked hard in both academics and my extracurricular activities to prove others wrong and to myself - that I can do what others said I couldn’t,” wrote Godinez in an email. He said he was inspired by a quote by Larissa Ramirez who during her valedictorian speech revealed her undocumented status. She said, “They told me I couldn’t and so I did.”

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