Student: Angelica Contreras
Year in School: Senior
Plans After High School: Angelica wants to attend a four-year university and major in film and minor in journalism because she enjoys writing. In college, she wants to continue running and join clubs.
GPS Focus: GROWTH & PRIDE
What Makes Angelica #BulldogSTRONG: A servant-leader focuses primarily on the growth and well-being of other people. While traditional leadership generally involves the accumulation of power by one person or a few at the “top of the pyramid,” servant leadership is different. The servant-leader shares power, puts the needs of others first and helps people develop and perform as highly as possible. For Golden Valley High School Senior Angelica Contreras, she exemplifies what it means to be a servant-leader as a member of the cross country team. As a freshman, Angelica joined the cross country because she enjoyed running, but was completely unaware of what to expect in joining a new team. Angelica immersed herself into the rigors of running and training in order to become the best version of herself, but what made Angelica fall in love with the sport was the camaraderie and friendships that were created with her teammates. “Cross country was hard at the beginning,” comments Angelica, “But with the amazing support that I received from my teammates, I have always felt so accomplished after each race and practice. Joining cross country at GVHS has allowed me to make some really good memories with really good friends.” As a leader on the cross country team, Angelica is always upbeat, kind to her peers, and is always supportive. Coaches, teammates, and even teachers commonly express that Angelica is always considerate of others, trying to help them succeed and be #BulldogSTRONG. Through her perpetual laughter and smiling, Angelica seeks to make a difference in the lives of her friends and teammates. This type of selfless behavior has also been displayed at various races and competitions that she has competed in as she not only encourages her teammates towards success, but she also frequently exudes sportsmanship to the finest degree as she celebrates the successes of athletes from other schools.
Angelica Contreras (Left) is the ideal servant leader for the Golden Valley High School Cross Country Program as evident in the sportsmanship she displays with her teammates and other schools.
This year, Angelica’s optimism was put to the test. With distance learning and Covid-19 causing athletics across Kern County to be cancelled in the fall, Angelica and other members of the cross country team lost hope of the chance to race and compete as seniors. The gravity of distance learning and the realization of no sports took its toll on Angelica. Searching for solutions to ease some anxiety that she was facing, Angelica joined THRIVE (GVHS’s peer support group) in order to receive support from some of her best friends and teammates, who also happened to be THRIVE Leaders. “THRIVE means so much to me,” graciously states Angelica, “With the loss of cross country, they provided me with some much needed support because I was really struggling mentally before I joined THRIVE. I know when I log and join THRIVE in Zoom, I feel motivated and happy.” As infection rates and the loosening of restrictions have allowed for student athletes in California to return to sports, Angelica has found hope and optimism and one last chance to be with her teammates and improve the quality of their life with laughter, continual smile, and support. “What I'm most excited about is just being around my teammates again,” humbly states Angelica, “I just miss the cross country environment overall. I just miss the conversations between warm-ups and stretches, the little things like that.” For exemplifying what it means to be a servant-leader on the Golden Valley High School cross country team through her upbeat persona, perpetual optimism, and deep commitment to her teammates and friends, Angelica Contreras is #BulldogSTRONG.
Angelica Contreras loves running cross country because she has met some lifelong friends such as Jayden Reyes Sarmiento who also provided Angelica support through THRIVE.
What #BulldogSTRONG Means to Angelica: "#BulldogSTRONG means to me is that you should want to SERVE and give back without any recognition or reward. #BulldogSTRONG is about what you can do to help yourself and others around you. It means being a positive inspirational person for the future generation of Bulldogs.”
What Teachers and Staff Think of Angelica:
“Angelica Contreras is a student-athlete who demonstrates growth in the classroom and on the field. I've had the pleasure of coaching Angelica all four years. During this time, I have witnessed her hard work and commitment to improving her time and teammates’ times. She does not give up and has proven she will accomplish every goal she sets for herself despite any adversities. Angelica exhibits pride by always competing at a high level when representing the GVHS Cross Country team.” Manuel Sanchez, Head Cross Country Coach and Librarian, Golden Valley High School
“Angelica is one of those student athletes that stands out to me for not only her athletic prowess but her attitude in life. She always greets me with a big smile and a hello. Not only does she run cross country but she also helps me on Thursday and Friday football games. She is one of my trusted chain crew and sideline help. She is always on time and knowledge of her duties. The referees always comment on how well our chain crew does their job and Angelica is a big part of why. It will be nice to see Angelica one last time running cross country this year.” Robert Haskell, Athletic Director, Golden Valley High School
“Angelica Contreras is honestly one of my favorite human beings! I have had the pleasure of having her as a World History student and being her coach for Mock Trial (and briefly Cross Country). Angelica is so kind and welcoming to everyone that she meets, and she always makes people feel comfortable and like they have known her forever, even if they just met. As a teammate, she is great at boosting team morale and getting everyone excited and confident for competition. She is also a natural-born leader, and I always knew that I could count on her to help others and make sure that any task is done properly. Angelica is also very hard working and puts a lot of passion into everything that she does. She always gives 100% and is always looking to improve. To me, Angelica is the perfect example of what it looks like to be #BulldogStrong.” Trisha Brown, Social Studies Teacher, Mock Trial Coach, Head Swim Coach, Golden Valley High School
“Angelica is a kind, considerate, and very respectful person, and an outstanding young adult. This is my second time having her as a student and I couldn't be happier! She is always in a good mood, asks great questions, asks for help when she needs it, and really sets a great example for the other students. She should be on one of the next posters for #BulldogSTRONG, as she really does lead by example, and more importantly, leads in the right way!! She always says good morning in class, and we talk about our pets and coffee, two of my favorite things! I really enjoy having her in class and know she will have an outstanding life and deserves all the best. I am very proud of her and consider myself lucky to have her in class. I am excited for her and her future and hope that she comes back and shares how awesome her life has become once she moves on from us.” Jason Goad, Mathematics Teacher, Golden Valley High School
“Angelica is an amazing girl. She is considerate and always thinks of others. She was always completing her work and asking to help others.” Lori Ambrose, English Teacher, Golden Valley High School
“Angelica Contreras is a student that models the BulldogSTRONG spirit that we here at Golden Valley do our best to put forward. She is kind and smart. I remember her always working hard on all her class assignments and always being in a positive spirit. She is a good team player and was seen on many occasions helping her fellow students and friends finish work for class or just give them some words of encouragement when they were down. I wish her the best and know she is well deserved of this recognition.” Daniel Taylor, US History Teacher, Golden Valley High School
“Angelica is so sweet and kind. She is such a respectful and compassionate person. I’m so glad that she is my student this year. Congratulations for being picked for the #BulldogSTRONG Student Spotlight and for being accepted into some amazing universities! I’m so excited for your future!” Nadia Wehbe, English Teacher and SAGA Adviser, Golden Valley High School