Alumnus stays Vaquero Strong


Image via Harrison Zhang

The clock hit 0:00 sounding the final horn that echoed throughout Irvine Stadium as a sea of green and blue rushed the field to the sound of the Mighty Marching Vaqueros playing our fight song. Irvine football overcame a 17-0 third quarter deficit to upset Woodbridge to the delight of Vaqueros past and present. 

To many, that game simply served as bragging rights for a year and an occasional fond memory to revisit during future homecoming nights. For me, October 14, 2016 became Day One of my career as a photographer. With an old Rebel T6 and a janky paper press pass, I took my first photos of a historic night for Irvine football. Seeing our school rally behind our football team and take pride in the historic rivalry, sparked a passion to tell stories like this for the rest of my life.

Four years later, I am now entering my final semester studying sports journalism at Arizona State and can’t help but reflect on how much Irvine High impacted my life. My fellow El Vaquero staff members and teachers like Mrs. Braun, Mr. Fatino, Mrs. Tucker, Mr. Youngren and Coach Phillips encouraged me to find my passions and gave me the courage to chase my dreams.

This is not just my story. It’s the story of so many Vaqueros who came before me and many who came after me. Irvine High is where we met some of our lifelong friends. It’s where we fell in love with a sport or an art. It’s where we first learned to drive a car. It’s where we found our start. 

While seniors graduate, teachers and coaches come and go, lockers removed and lunch tables added, two things will never change: Escolar traffic and 4321 Walnut Ave. will always be home.

As we start this new year and new semester, I encourage you all to rely on the strength and unity of the Vaquero community to get through this. Soon we will be able to watch Woodbridge lose again, attend prom, enjoy a concert from the talented musicians and even just sit in the quad at lunch laughing with our friends. Until then, it is more evident than ever that wherever we go, our common memories and shared experiences at Irvine High will bring us home to our roots as a Vaquero.

And for that, we are truly Vaquero Strong.