Senior feature: Lopez-Correa moves from Puerto Rico for high school


For most, coming into high school freshman year can be terrifying. In senior Ricardo Lopez-Correa’s case, he started his freshman year in a whole different part of the country. Growing up in San Juan, Puerto Rico, Lopez-Correa and his family moved to the United States to find better opportunities for themselves.
Two weeks before Lopez-Correa was scheduled to start his freshman year, he and his family moved to Newton. Having spoken English at his previous school Lopez-Correa did not have a very hard time adapting to speaking English all the time. To make sure that Lopez-Correa knew enough English he had to take a test which he said that he aced.
“I had previously gone to a bilingual school when I was growing up so it wasn’t hard to know the language. I would say that I was very fluent in the language\; however, I didn’t use English much outside of the class in Puerto Rico so it was an interesting change to see how I would be speaking in English for the rest of my high school life here in the U.S.,” Lopez-Correa said.
While Lopez-Correa did not struggle when it came to the language, he said that schools here were much different in the number of opportunities that were given to the students. Lopez-Correa took in some of his hometown traits and incorporated it in the orchestra here, the Puerto Rican guitar.
“The schools here in Kansas were huge and had so many departments whether they be for music, automotive, agriculture, or even engineering. Even the club and sports lists seemed to be endless,” Lopez-Correa said. “On the other hand, in my school in Puerto Rico I only had the choice of one elective and both sports and clubs were limited. I love it here and couldn’t wait to start my new classes every year.”
Through the last four years, Lopez-Correa has found some mentors along the way, math teacher Eunice Nickel being one of his biggest mentors.
“This is the third year I have had Ricardo as a student in one of my math classes. He and his classmates are one of two groups of students that I have been able to have as students as freshmen, as juniors, and now as seniors,” Nickel said. “It has been fun for me to see these students grow and mature over the years into the amazing young people that they are today.”
Having this be Lopez-Correa’s senior year he said that this was a great decision on his family’s part to bring him to the states to finish out his schooling and to be given those opportunities.
“I would say that it has been a wonderful experience with all the love and support that the student body, staff and even my friends have shown me since starting Newton. It has opened many doors for my future such as being able to be a part of the Newton Orchestra, RaileRobotics club and many other organizations within the school and I enjoy every aspect of it,” Lopez-Correa said.