Simple Smiles: Andrés Maldonado
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Almost every high school student has experienced that awkward moment when a teacher asks a question, and either no one wants to volunteer or no one knows the answer, leaving the room uncomfortably silent. Junior Andrés Maldonado has never failed to put an end to these moments and participate as much as possible. He is constantly found promoting a positive atmosphere, and he has an eagerness to make others happy.
“I tend to be positively minded and try to always stay positive. I have a life is good sticker on my car and that’s basically how I feel,” said Maldonado.
His positive mindset stems from the good vibes that he feels he gets from analytical poetry and music. Maldonado’s free time consists of music, hiking and photography, all of which have helped shape the person he is.
“I love playing music because I play various instruments: the guitar, the cello, the drum set, the ukulele, a Colombian instrument called the cuatro, and the Spanish drum called the cajón. I also like hiking to just get away from things and it clears my mind,” said Maldonado.
No doubt, Maldonado is a vocal person, and being the outgoing person he is, it would be hard to believe that English is his second language. He was born in Venezuela with his sister and two parents and moved to the U.S around the age of eight. They came to America to achieve a better and safer lifestyle.
“Growing up in Venezuela was fine at first, but now it’s about to collapse because the oil prices are not enough to cover people’s food, so there is a lot of violence down there. We moved here just to be safer and the good education is a plus,” said Maldonado.
Having a good education was especially important, as he had to learn English after he arrived in America. After going through English As A Second Language classes, he was able to catch on fluently, but the process was full of hardships.
“It was hard coming from Venezuela and not being able to talk to people in Spanish. I’ve always been a vocal person, and being trapped by a language and not being able to express my own thoughts was kind of hard and frustrating. You just want to express so many words and emotions but you can’t. The only words I could express no one would understand. Then when I tried to say ‘I don’t speak English’ no one would believe me because I said it in English, but they didn’t understand that’s all I knew how to say.”
Maldonado was able to bring the love he grew up with in Venezuela to America. He grew up playing soccer, and he was able to continue playing here and even made the North Penn team as a freshman. His Freshman year he played for the Junior Varsity team, and since his sophomore year he has been a star player on the Varsity team.
“I started playing soccer with my dad at about two once I could walk, and then at age six I started playing on a team. There are better opportunities here compared to Venezuela, but the talent can vary for soccer, all in perspective of where you are located at. I like playing because it is a way that I can put something in control. I like being able to decide where something has to go, and putting the control of where the ball goes, in my hands,” said Maldonado.
Maldonado incorporates both his background culture and positivity into his activities that he participates in. He brings a positive attitude into the classroom, on the field, and with him everywhere he goes, trying to be the best he can be with the opportunities and diversity that he feels North Penn has to offer.