Mission Bay High valedictorian and salutatorian ready for new challenges
by DAVE SCHWAB
Published - 06/14/19 - 11:58 AM | 1398 views | 0 0 comments | 15 15 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Mission Bay valedictorian Tetsuro Escudero and salutatorian Zander Caufield. / DAVE SCHWAB / BEACH & BAY PRESS
Mission Bay valedictorian Tetsuro Escudero and salutatorian Zander Caufield. / DAVE SCHWAB / BEACH & BAY PRESS
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Beach & Bay Press held a Q&A with Mission Bay High School valedictorian Tetsuro Escudero and salutatorian Zander Caufield. They discussed their high school experience and upcoming college transition, their generation, role models and the future. The MBHS commencement ceremony was held June 11.

BBP: What’s next for you after graduation?

Escudero: I’m attending UC Berkeley and plan to major in some kind of biological science like integrative biology or data science or computer science, though I’m undeclared right now. But the general direction is technology, biology or math. I hope to create something like algorithms for hospitals to determine diseases or tumors.

Caufield: I love playing volleyball and that’s one of the main reasons why I chose to go to UC Santa Barbara, though I got accepted at both UCLA and UC Berkeley. I plan on majoring in environmental science, perhaps minoring or double majoring with geology. I plan to become an environmental engineer.

BBP: What did you like/dislike most about high school?

Escudero: I didn’t like the lack of sleep because of all the homework and projects. But I survived having a job as a math tutor and played a sport, volleyball, on top of that. What I enjoyed most was the social aspect. Most of my friends I met from high school. Being an international baccalaureate student, I had a lot of the same classmates in multiple classes. That’s bad because it segregates you. But is good because you get to spend a lot of time with your close friends.

Caufield: I do regret spending too much time focusing on school, and not enough time with friends out of school, except for sports. One of the best things for me was playing volleyball. I met a lot of interesting people, and it was a really enjoyable experience that was helpful in relieving stress from schoolwork and testing. 

BBP: Tell us about the state of your generation during these turbulent times?

Escudero: Ours is one of the most vocal and outgoing generations. There are more kids in high school and college becoming activists than at any other point in history. Here at MBHS we’ve protested for gun control and had the entire school walk out to demonstrate their right to protest.

Caufield: With our generation there’s so much more easily accessible information out there than there was with previous generations, for better or worse. You’re exposed to a lot of misinformation. But there’s also a lot of people out there finding solutions to problems, like a company that is growing mushrooms in the shape of bricks to help construction become sustainable and biodegradable.

BBP: Are you encouraged or discouraged about the future?

Escudero: “I’m extremely discouraged by the future, but I’m extremely encouraged by the people of this world. There are so many bright ideas, like one from a Scandinavian engineer who’s doing a contraption that moves along the ocean tides independently picking up micro plastics along the way.

Caufield: “I’m kind of in the middle. It’s difficult to convince people (of things they should do). One example is we know electric cars are less polluting than gasoline cars, but it’s hard to convince people to give up their gasoline cars. I want to create solutions that are not only environmentally friendlier, but also better for economics.”

BBP: You both have to give speeches for graduation, how is that going?

Escudero: “I have not started but I’ve been doing a lot of brainstorming. I’d like to incorporate what we’ve learned in school to actual world events, like relating “The Handmaid’s Tale” book I read in English class to what’s going on in Alabama.”

Caufield: “I’ve already written my speech, but will probably edit it once or twice before I give it. I’m just going to be a little lighthearted, a little funny.” 

BBP: What advice would you give to those filling your places in the future?

Escudero: Don’t prioritize academically. Most prioritize academics, their work, their careers. What you need to do is prioritize first your family and what makes you happy. If you don’t do that, you don’t have a life to begin with.

Caufield: Don’t procrastinate. I almost never procrastinate, and I’ve always had time to do what I wanted to do. Take things one at a time. It helps.”

BBP: Who are your role models?

Escudero: I like Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla. He’s brilliant and a little crazy, but that’s OK. He wants to send people to Mars by 2050. Albert Einstein, just because he had a way of expressing unbelievably abstract ideas so people and scientists could understand them, and eventually prove his theories.

Caufield: My dad, who also went to UC Santa Barbara and majored in the environmental sciences. I’m following his legacy. He was on the board of I Love A Clean San Diego and he was a volleyball coach because he loves the sport. I hope I can be like him someday.”

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