Emily Candela: Changing Her Narrative
Senior Emily Candela plans on going to East Stroudsburg University where she plans on going in, “undeclared but I would possibly like to study english with a concentration in creative writing.” As she,“started to take writing seriously during my junior year of high school. I had a social situation go south and I found myself tweeting poetic things on twitter. I realized that they sounded good and combined them into poems and started writing more. This turned into a whole poetry book which I am now working on getting published.”
Even though she has only been going to EC for a few years, the impact that EC has on her will go far beyond that. “Before I came to EC I had virtually 0 friends. I didn’t feel important, I didn't feel wanted. I was involved in church but barely. When I went to my first chapel and sat through my first devotions in Ms. Baz’s class that really all changed for me. I found my people here at EC and I don't think I could live without them,” she said.
Emily also touched on the fact that her faith is completely changed. “I have only been at EC for two years but this past year my faith has grown immensely. I took Bible this year with Mrs. Johnson and everything changed. She taught me that you don't have to have a set prayer to pray. Everyone prays in different ways and I learned that my form of prayer is mostly through music and connections with nature. I have had the most “God sightings” this year in her class than I ever had before. She truly changed my view on worship.”
Emily has made many memories so it was hard for her to focus on just one. But if she had to choose, “I think extracurricular would have to be soccer, although we didn't win a lot it was so rewarding to be part of that team. I think my favorite memory was my first ever senior picnic. I came to EC my junior year and my old school never had the sense of community that EC does and I found that in my senior picnic team. It was so fun and crazy and I loved it.”
Emily also mentioned that, “I am a very creative person, this comes with writing, music, art, you name it, and I used to struggle with thinking that I wasn't classically smart enough with getting As and Bs;I got Cs and Ds. But I have realized how much of a gift it is to be able to see the world and art as I do.”
Emily is, “Severely just thankful for the opportunity. I had a very bad experience at my first high school and I didn't have much hope for the rest of high school before I came to EC. I remember walking in on my first day at EC. I was immediately hugged by like 8 people that I had never met before and I was so confused because I was used to being invisible. Now I am friends with so many people and I know all of my senior class. I could not be more thankful for the opportunities I have had to flourish at this school.”
The top thing that Emily has learned is, “To be bold. To not be shy in who I am. My friends and I are crazy and I think by now Mr. Verrengia is used to us screaming in the senior hallway and shoving a bunch of kids in one car to go out for lunch. I learned to not be afraid to be who I am.”
"I learned to not be afraid to be who I am."
Emily has completely changed since freshman year and is very proud of the person who she is today. “I was the most quiet introverted scared girl you would ever see. You probably would have never seen me because I spent most of my time walking in the hallway with my head down and my headphones blasting, and I ate lunch alone in a deserted hallway far from the cafeteria. I had no friends besides my sister and I was too scared that people wouldn't like me to try to make more. If you had met me back then you wouldn't recognize me now. I am a totally different person. I express myself in my clothing. I am so grateful to have so many amazing friends and I cherish every one of them. I have had the best moments of my life at EC. If you were to ask anyone from my old school about me they would describe someone completely different from who you see now,” she said.
As senior year comes to a close, Emily reflects on her legacy saying, “I just want to be remembered. That's all I have ever wanted. To be known for who I am, not for what people say about me… I want to be remembered as kind and strong. I want to be brave.”