Looking Up

In order to commemorate the 100th year anniversary of The Clarion, we will be bringing you the voices of alumni who have written for the school newspaper, reflecting on their experience in Clarion and life beyond high school.


Former Clarion Journalist, Chloe Mendoza

Chloe Mendoza, Co-Editor in Chief

I would not have considered myself as someone with her head in the clouds in high school. In fact, I was quite the opposite. My feet planted firmly on the ground, I was a little uptight and a little straight around the edges, because that was the only way I knew to find my place in the world. But something special about The Clarion taught me to pick my feet up, look around, and most importantly, look up.
As a college student and storyteller today, I am grateful for the experiences that shaped my time in room 1505 and the people I met along the way, as they taught me that the best parts of life can be the moments spent dreaming.
As a Clarion student, I gained an integral entryway into the journalistic world that introduced me to my passion for storytelling. I learned that crafting narratives takes time, intention, and thoughtfulness to understand and construct. I also learned to make mistakes and that the best things take time.
I forged relationships with other people that made my time in room 1505 not only incredibly intellectually stimulating and interesting, but also totally unpredictable, hilarious, and quite cinematic.
Some days my friends and I would debate Jean Valjean’s plight and question the meaning of life, the next we’d drink hot chocolate and challenge each other to push-up contests. I met the people who’d become my best friends, who’d lead me to my truest self, and who’d love the parts of me I didn’t even know existed. They inspired me to see the world beyond what I already knew, and to feel with every fiber of my being — something I’d always seen as a burden instead of the profound magic I know it to be now.
For them I am forever grateful and I wouldn’t have wanted to move through that period of young adulthood with any other people.
But most importantly, the person in The Clarion that always inspired me to dream big was the very man with head perpetually in the clouds: Mr. Castle. Well, at least the cloud wallpaper behind his desk painted that picture everytime he sat down. But in other ways that statement holds true. Mr. Castle’s whimsy and adventurous spirit no doubt fostered the unique spirit of the class in a way rooted in his passion for humanity.
It’s not an understatement to say that no other singular force impacted my high school learning and self-development more than Mr. Castle. Through his incredibly detailed stories, I learned the immense value of a slow-cooked thought. From his unconditional support, I learned to trust in the process and in those that want to help. But above all that, Mr. Castle was proof that people who care, and care with their whole being, have the potential to make the most difference in peoples’ lives.
I graduated from Selma High not even 3 years ago, but I can already say that I have greatly changed (for better and worse). Perhaps I still would not consider myself as someone with her head in the clouds. My feet remain planted on the ground, but they’re not too firm. I’m not straight around the edges by any means. But I always remember my feet up, look around, and spend my time looking up with those I love.

Chloe Mendoza is a 2021 Selma High School Alumna in her second year at Stanford University. She studies anthropology, with secondary emphasis on Spanish and Archeology. Chloe is passionate about the intersection of storytelling, historical preservation, and language’s impact on culture and identity. She has served as the Managing Editor of Podcasts at The Stanford Daily for two volumes and is an Arts & Life staff writer. She also works for The Stanford Oral History Program and Queer Student Resources Center. She loves animals, being in nature with her friends, and believes that life is about feeling as grandly and as one possibly can.