STUDENTS | March 17, 2021
Soon-to-be Goudy Elementary graduate Emilio P. never expected to take on the role of being the school’s mascot in its annual Lunar New Year parade. But after other students turned the opportunity down, he decided to go for it. He ended up being a great cougar and decided that he would be the mascot every year.
With just a few months of eighth grade left, Emilio will soon have to pass the responsibility of being the Goudy Cougar down to another student. Being back in the building for the first time in almost a year has led him to reflect on all the small pieces that combine to make his Goudy experience great. The common thread is inclusion.
In addition to community events like the Lunar New Year parade, Emilio says that being a welcoming and inclusive place is the core of the Goudy pledge—I will respect the cultures and ideas of others and help make Goudy a great place to learn.
“When I came to Goudy in the second grade, I definitely had that worried feeling of being alone and not making any friends,” he said. “It didn’t take long for me to realize that I had a spot throughout all the bleachers. I had a place here.”
Knowing that the school had welcomed him encouraged Emilio to extend a helping hand to other new students. In the sixth grade, a new student named Radu transferred to Goudy from another elementary school in the neighborhood. Emilio made sure that he adjusted smoothly, and now the two of them are enjoying being back at Goudy together.
“I decided that I would help Radu learn the ways of the school, and, over time, we’ve just gotten to be really nice friends,” he said. “I’ve taught him about my background—my dad is from El Salvador—and he’s taught me about his background, being from Romania.”
Field trips and extracurricular activities have been two of the most memorable parts of Emilio’s seven years at Goudy. He’s always been interested in science, so highlights have been taking part in the school’s boys and girls science club and a field trip in fifth grade to Trees for Tomorrow. He’s also been involved in student council, math circles, and music production.
“I feel like my peers and teachers will remember me as the student who always liked to try,” he said. “Even if I knew nothing about the situation, I would always try to just help out in any way I could.”
Emilio has spent time in a lot of different classrooms at Goudy, so many of which have impacted him for the better. From Mr. Ross in the fourth grade to Mr. Dillon for sixth-grade math to his current science teacher Mr. Rodrigues, Emilio says that Goudy teachers are understanding, kind, and always do their best to help students learn.
“Despite all the ups and downs that come with life, my time at Goudy has just been superb,” he said. “There’s just been a lot of great memories, great friends, great teachers, a great principal, and a great atmosphere.”
Over the past year, there has been a lot of discussion about what the most important part of a school is. Is it the school building? The curriculum? The people? Having powered through a year of remote learning to close out his time at Goudy in the building, Emilio believes that his “superb” seven years at the school would not have been possible without each part complementing the others.
“The kids, the teachers, the school itself, the academics, everything has a role,” he said. “The building brings in the atmosphere—that feeling of home. The academics are what will help you later in life. And the teachers and the people, they always provide the smiles and the laughs.”