Seniors of BDT: A proper farewell


Design by Eileen Tse

Although our 11 seniors will be leaving soon, their contributions to the publication and classroom will not be forgotten.

Bulldog Times Staff

The end of the second semester marks many unsettling checkpoints for all students – more so, unfortunately, for seniors. These ranged from AP exams, prom accoutrements, graduation preparations… and writing articles. The Bulldog Times, this year, had an entire half of their incoming staff as seniors, all of which will be missed and remembered for their contributions to the growth of the publication this year. Just as we’ve done before, our proper Bulldog Times send-off to our outstanding seniors was compiled completely of underclassmen: this time, a synthesized version.

Olivia Mendoza – Editor-in-Chief, News Editor

Whether it’s talking about her chia seed pudding or her healthy recipes that look questionable, Editor-in-Chief Olivia Mendoza prepares to leave for Massachusetts to, as she always says, live your best life.

Being class vice president and president of various other clubs, Olivia was wholeheartedly dedicated to the Bulldog Times. Knowing that she wanted to write for her career, she joined the journalism class to discover what type of journalist she wanted to be after college. With this year being her third and final year in journalism, Olivia is excited to play volleyball at Smith College while pursuing environmental journalism.

“Over time, it’s going to be really cool to see the progress that I’ve had as a journalist: starting from literally just dreaming about it to writing the newspaper, to becoming an editor and then working at a college news publication [in the future]. The entire length from start to finish is really cool,” she said.  

As she counts down the clock to graduation, Olivia leaves one last piece of advice: “Don’t change yourself to be someone you’re not. Because in the long run, you’re always going to find a group of people that make you feel comfortable, even if it’s not right now.”  [Madeline Khoo] 

Katie Cheng – Social Media Manager, Managing Editor

On May 15th of the waning school year, Bulldog Times staff will enter the classroom the same way they had for the past 6.5 months; only this time, there will be no inviting presence to greet them – the silence deafening, the vacancy unsettling. Katie Cheng, the cornerstone of the Bulldog Times and Social Media Manager, will not be in her usual seat in the corner of the class.

Before she departs to the University of California, Riverside for business, she affirmed, “I want my legacy to be that, even if you don’t know where your voice is, you’re still able to find yourself in the space of others.” She not only found her voice in journalism but allowed countless others to find theirs too. 

“It’s because of [other editors] who inspired me to get through the school year that I’m able to come this far. I don’t think I would have had that without journalism,” said Katie. 

When she was at the helm, Katie gave her dedication and creativity that now allows the Bulldog Times to shine, a success that she has left to be continued for those who will attempt to take her place. Try as they might, there will never be another Katie Cheng. We’ll miss you, Katie. [Avery Rosas] 

Wren Bulawin – Open Canvas Manager, Assistant Features Editor

When I first met Wren, I immediately picked up on their wit and intellect just from hearing them talk. Another thing I noted was how seamlessly they could take on a new role in something unfamiliar.

During their junior year, Wren thought Journalism would be the perfect extracurricular to have under their belt to embellish their college application, so they decided to select the course for senior year. This new experience challenged them in many ways, but they took on those obstacles headstrong as co-editor of the newly minted Open Canvas section and assistant Features editor. 

Wren will definitely be applying the things they learned from being an editor and staff writer in future endeavors at the University of California, Davis studying animal science. 

“There’s little things on campus I think I’ll definitely miss even though there’s probably greater things over at Davis,” said Wren. “I’m probably going to miss walking on campus in the morning or late in the afternoon when no one’s here, seeing the birds and seeing the oak trees changing color throughout the year, picking up bugs and putting them back in the planter, or watching the bushes spread into bloom every April.” [Kaitlyn Luu]  

Jessica Rios – Open Canvas Manager, Arts & Entertainment Writer

Although having a not-so picturesque first couple of years at Ayala, Jessica Rios truly made senior year her year. Naturally, moving all the way from Los Angeles to Montclair meant that Rios had to start fresh at a new school, which certainly was not easy. However, coming into her senior year, things were truly looking great for Rios, and as the year is coming to an end, Rios is happy to have found happiness on campus.  

One of Rios’ most treasured memories at Ayala was at the start of the year when she attended Battle for the Bone to cover it for the Bulldog Times. Rios felt that, as a staff member, she could truly find her people and that journalism was much more than an elective credit.

“We’re not just a class of students. We’re like a family of sorts,” said Rios.

Soon to be attending Cal Poly Pomona as an architecture major, Rios will truly cherish everything that high school was able to offer her.  

“I’m just [going to] try to have the most fun I can while working towards my future career as an architect,” said Rios. [Sayee Deshmukh]

Pooja Singamsetty – Club Secretary, Features Writer

Leaves crunching underfoot, Pooja Singamsetty relishes this moment of silence at the Eucalyptus Trail on a sunny afternoon, her dog Rosebud sprinting alongside her on the sandy path. Though well-worn, this trail has held stories of adventure and hope for both of them. They’ve lived among its nature nearly every day for a few hours after school, bringing with them friends, anxieties, and laughter. 

As a junior writing in the Journalism Club and later a senior in Ms. Tse’s journalism class, Pooja has paid attention to her interests, delving into the gruesome history of the world’s most infamous serial killers, guiding seniors to relax at affordable locations for graduation trips, and recommending her taste in horror movies during Halloween’s spookiest hours. Each piece displayed colorful splashes of who she is on the inside as a witty, adventurous, and caring person for the people around her.

“[Writing about] true crime is retelling what happened. I really want to know why all these serial killers just do what they do, and that’s where psychology comes into play,” Pooja said. “It’s trying to figure out their motives and if there’s anything different biologically that makes them that way.”  

Pooja will be pursuing her interest in psychological exploration further at University of California, Merced. [Isabel Sim]

Cody Flores – Arts & Entertainment Writer, Illustrator

Ending off senior year isn’t easy for everyone, but Cody Flores has looked forward to it with a sense of maturity.   

“It was exciting as a senior because you get to do all that fun stuff. It is a new chapter in your life and not all people become adults as seniors,” said Cody.

Cody is an inspiring writer who loves being creative. He has enjoyed being part of the Bulldog Times and highly recommend joining if one loves creative writing.  

His plans for the future are clear as he wants to move in with his mom and go to Mount San Antonio College in the fall. In college, Cody aspires to go into psychology to become a therapist and hopes to find a part-time job in retail like Hot Topic.  

“I’m glad people can come to me when they need advice and consultation, [as] I want to be in psychological therapy.” 

Having made the most of his senior year, Cody recommends, “Don’t let senioritis get the best of you, and work your hardest.” [Angelique Taylor]

Maximus Hemming – Features Writer 

Maximus Hemming is the coolest and most chill person, even if he looks a little bit scary. Being a Bulldog all four years, Max had the challenging task of attending half of his high school years through a screen. Before digital learning, Max was fortunate to meet new people at Ayala, despite all his friends being at a different school. Although his junior year was mostly spent on independent study, that didn’t stop him from coming back as a senior with vigor and ambition

“The most important thing I learned is that, for the most part, no one cares. You can just be who you are. You don’t have to put on a face for people,” Max said. 

Max is a big nerd when it comes to DC Comics (specifically Batman) and Star Wars. Introduced to it by his dad, he learned the lore through Lego Batman and Lego Star Wars: The Complete Saga

Max looks forward to taking these enjoyments from his childhood with him into the next stages of life, and he looks forward to weightlifting and other forms of workout in the future. He hopes to study kinesiology in college and start a business surrounded by what he loves. [Dallas Mangold]

Annie Kim – Social Media Content Creator

Boosting her Bulldog spirit at club meetings, daily band practice, rallies, and more, Annie now looks forward to pursuing business, hoping to progress into a CEO status one day. Annie describes the entirety of high school time as inevitably challenging, eye-opening, and eventful, as she encountered academic overload, heartening interactions, and pandemic hardships.

“You’re only friends with your grade level, but once you meet people outside of that grade, a new perspective is opened, and you learn new advice from people above you that you can offer to people below you as well,” she said. 

Through the Bulldog Times, Annie emphasizes her newfound understanding of catering to audience needs and interests. As a part of the social media department, Annie discovered real-world skills and communicative strategies which shaped her time in high school. 

“In journalism, I found it very fun to interview and being here definitely gave me good writing tools, unlike your typical English class. I’m better at understanding what people enjoy and like watching on TikTok or YouTube reels,” Annie said. 

After gaining skills and life-changing experiences at Ayala, Annie is undoubtedly prepared to take on a fresh start as a Triton at UC San Diego. [Adrielle Kristine Dumandan]

Elaine Kuang – News Writer, Illustrator

An artistic designer in the making, Elaine Kuang, strives to share her art around the world. A nice and caring person, she is full of empathy and innovative ideas. Elaine plans to attend the Center College of Design in Pasadena to achieve her artistic goals. Yet, her experience in high school is something she will never forget. 
 “Being in journalism, I really got out of my comfort zone and put myself out there with the people,” Elaine said.  

Trials have also helped Elaine grow as a person. The unforeseen pandemic affected her in ways that she used to explore herself and her abilities.  

“When COVID hit and we were in quarantine at home and had to do online learning, that was a really significant change,” Kuang said.  

Junior year also tested her abilities as she took many AP classes and other hard courses to reach her full potential and make use of her abilities. Now, as the end of the year approaches, senioritis kicks in for Elaine, but she is determined to do her best until the very end. [Ibrahim Saxe] 

Trina Lizama – Sports Writer

When Trina Lizama first entered high school, they were scared and anxious due to an unfamiliarity with the people and environment. However, throughout Trina’s four years at Ayala, they have found lifelong friends, lasting connections, and true passions in life

With the comfort of friends and the many lessons learned, the highs of Trina’s Ayala experience far outweighed any lows. Specifically in Journalism, Trina was able to discover what they aspire to pursue in the future–writing.  

“I’ve finally learned that [writing] is what I want to do because I like it. I feel like I’ve found how to maintain my writing. Now I’m more confident,” explained Trina

Expanding on her future plans, Trina already has a clear vision of what they hope to do in life. They will be attending California Baptist University to major in journalism and news media, which will hopefully lead them into a successful news reporting or writing career.

With their final year of high school finally coming to an end, Trina encourages anyone hoping to achieve their goals with one piece of advice: “It’s okay to ride solo. Riding solo will benefit you in learning more about yourself and not depending so much on other people.” [Elisabeth Lee]

David Rodriguez – Sports Writer

Whether it was the new friends made, the rallies finally being located indoors, or the introduction of new teachers and classes, this school year has been like no other. Unfortunately, as another year ends, we will have to bid farewell to another senior class. Every senior from journalism will be missed, but one that will not be forgotten is David Rodriguez. As David originally attended Chino High School where he took part in the marching band program, he was new to the Ayala environment at first. 

Comparing his freshman year to his senior year he said, “I didn’t really talk that much to anyone.” 

Now as a senior, he does not care what other people think of him and feels comfortable talking to everyone.  

“Meeting new people and collaborating with others that I met was my favorite part of journalism,” said David

As David graduates, he will miss being around people his age, as there are various ages in college. He plans to attend Mount San Antonio College in the fall and eventually transfer to the University of California, Irvine to major in aerospace engineering or computer science. [Yemaya King]