LATHROP – It’s just before lunch on a Wednesday afternoon, but the last thing on Kevin Barajas’ mind is what he’s going to have to eat.
There are more important things to deal with – like making sure that everything in the school’s leadership class is going according to plan and there isn’t a letdown after the school’s homecoming last week.
Such is life when you’re the Associated Student Body President, the one who presides over the group tasked with organizing and handling nearly every single activity on campus and making sure that the four years that students do spend are truly memorable.
But while that position comes with recognition – Barajas is known as the “Voice of LHS” for being the emcee for nearly every single event on campus with amplified sound – it also comes with responsibility. And stress. And the need to know how to delegate.
And for somebody who couldn’t even get up in front of a class and give a presentation when he first started his high school career, the demands of the job as well as the weight of the outside world can be a bit overwhelming at times.
Just don’t expect to hear him whine or complain about his plight.
While he might not yet even be old enough to cast a vote, Barajas has already learned how to prioritize the things in his life – realizing that a busy schedule now will pay off later.
He temporarily handed the reins over to an understudy to answer a few questions:
What made you want to get involved at Lathrop High School?
“Just to see the improvement of how things are on campus. When I first got involved this wasn’t really a place where people would come get involved, and I think that has changed a little bit. We really have a hand in everything that happens on campus, so when something succeeds there’s a bit of accomplishment in that and I think that really stood out for me. “
You’re active in leadership, academics and athletics. What has kept you motivated through the years?
“I figured that I’ll have plenty of time to relax and look back later and that I’m only in high school for four years and I’ll never get another chance to do this again. Nothing will compare to this experience and this is will get me ready for the future. Putting that into perspective really helps.”
What was the last book that you read?
“The Scarlet Letter. Most of the reading that I’ve been doing lately has been for school.”
What’s your favorite movie?
“The Fast and the Furious movies. They’re really what got me into cars.”
What’s the most difficult thing about being the ASB President?
“Even though it hasn’t happened yet, when things go wrong people tend to blame the person in charge. Mishaps are going to happen and it’s that person that normally steps up and takes the fall – I think that’s what comes with the job. I’m sure Barrack Obama has had to step up and take the fall for a lot of things that weren’t his fault just because he’s the man in charge.”
What do you enjoy the most about being the ASB President?
“Being able to instill what I’ve learned into the new kids that come in. The President before me went out of his way to help those beneath him – how to hold discussions and to help instill the skills needed into the leaders to come. That’s something that I want to be able to do as well.”
What skills have you learned through your involvement with the leadership program?
“The ability to take charge – it could be assertiveness but it could also just be leadership. Before I joined I wasn’t able to speak in front of my own class. It took a while but it was the push I needed. Now I’m out there in front of 1,100 kids hosting a rally. It’s crazy to me to think about.”
If somebody other than Kevin were to describe him, what would they say?
“Responsible, respectful, intelligent, nifty.”
“I don’t really know how to say it, but I want to start a business that will inspire America. I have aspirations of being a CEO of a company that helps – that gives back to people. I’ve always been interested in business – I like selling things, and I find it pretty easy to persuade people. My Mom always told me that I’d be a really good businessman.”
How do you feel about the traditions that were started and those that will take over once you graduate in the spring?
“I think that the school is in good hands. There weren’t any traditions here when the school opened and we had to start new ones and it took a while to get them going, but you can see them playing out now. I think that the leadership class will do a great job in the future and they’ll carry those out – they’ll take care of them.”
Favorite type of music?
“I like hip hop and I listen to Mexican music sometimes.”
How has leadership changed your personality?
“I’m a pretty open person today. I’m not in the shell that I was once, and I can have a conversation with somebody that I don’t even know. Leadership is the big reason for that.”
“I’d like to go to UC Berkeley or maybe San Francisco State. Possibly even Long Beach. I’m from the Bay Area so I know a lot about that area – I’m hoping to major in business and marketing.”
Are you looking forward to starting college?
“I’m taking today one step at a time. I’m really in no rush right now to do anything. The time will come when I do have to graduate and do what I have to do – move on to college. But not right now.”
Coke or Pepsi?
“Coke – it doesn’t have that sweet stickiness that clings to your teeth. But I’d really have to say neither. I don’t really drink either.”
Favorite Bond Actor?
“Bond himself is pretty cool – he’s the man. But I’d say Daniel Craig. He’s so sophisticated but he’s not afraid to get his hands dirty. If somebody had to hire an assassin, he’d be the guy.”
What do you love about Lathrop High School?
“I love the diversity. Everyone is their own person and has their own personality. Other schools are all just one community, but we have all of these different populations but they’re all celebrated and they all get along with each other. It’s a good thing to see.”