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The Monarch Times

The Monarch Times

The Monarch Times

Mt. Eden Alumni: Where Are They Now?

A common saying is that high school is the best time of your life. Besides providing students with an education, high school allows us to join clubs, make social connections, create life-long memories, and prepare ourselves for adulthood. The Monarch Times reached out to three Mt. Eden High School alumni to gain their insights about their experiences and how high school helped them thrive in the real world.

Zenji Darius Ryan belongs to Mt. Eden’s Class of 2023. Ryan is currently studying at CSU East Bay as an animation and video major. During his time in high school, Ryan was a member of the choir. He recalls his experiences performing in Mt. Eden’s various musicals and appreciates the hard work each student put in.

Ryan heavily emphasized his relationships when describing his high school experiences. “I can say that high school was an up-and-down experience. There were people I met who I’m very fond of, and people I met who I wish I never did,” he stated. Ryan believes students should focus on self-care and their personal comfort when interacting with others. “There are people both your age and older that you might or might not like. Yet, it’s your choice if you want to keep them in your life.”

Justin Hernandez graduated from Mt. Eden High School in 2022. Hernandez has an appreciation for the minute details of high school life. “[I appreciated] having friends that I would walk to all my classes with. We take for granted the time we get to spend with [people]. Seeing people everyday you know, saying hi to someone in the hallway, and sitting at a table with my friends.” Hernandez confronted several obstacles before and after graduation. In his freshman and sophomore years, he struggled with prioritizing school during the COVID-19 pandemic.

He also grappled with the tough decision of choosing a career. “I was excited to go to school for music, but I felt like that wouldn’t satisfy me enough because it wasn’t giving me the satisfaction of learning something. I felt like I was going to be stuck,” he noted. Hernandez’s path after graduation was unclear, but he eventually applied for post-secondary education. Today, he studies economics at Chabot College and plans to transfer to UC Berkeley. Hernandez’s main ambition is to study law one day.

Lastly, after graduating Mt. Eden High School in 1999, Charlie Dang is now a successful business owner. “I co-own a men’s accessory brand at, I dabble in real estate, I work on car alignments part-time at Hayward Alignments, and I’m currently working on a startup,” he said. Dang’s family motivates him to succeed. “[I want] to be financially set so I can take care of my family, […] raise my kids with morals, [and] teach them how money works so they don’t spend their entire life working,” stated Dang.

Each alumni emphasized the importance of teachers in their life. Dang reflects positively on his experiences. “I have really good memories of my home economics teacher Mrs. Berg. She was a sweetheart and she really cared for her students. Hope she’s doing well wherever she is,” he stated. Hernandez advises current high schoolers to build relationships with teachers. “[Sometimes], you end up forgetting that they’re humans too. When you want to get in contact with them, it’s cool to have them there if you need anything. My Puente teacher believed in me and helped me out a lot,” said Hernandez.

Another recurring theme was the value of hard work. Hernandez’s biggest advice for students is to stay on top of assignments. “Slacking is a snowball effect. If you start missing one assignment or one class, it becomes a habit and you find yourself months later finding out you’re behind on assignments and having to catch up last minute,” he stated. On a similar note, Dang expressed regret for “messing around” in his high school years. Although Dang is satisfied with his life and career, he wishes that he started “a lot sooner and focused more in [his] 20’s rather than partying.”

All three alumni mentioned the significance of choosing one’s own path, whether in education, work, or one’s friendships. “The only person that knows what you want is you. Don’t let people guide you to a life you’ll regret,” said Ryan. Similarly, Hernandez advises students to not fall into peer pressure. Dang had the most to say about the temporary nature of high school and asserting one’s independence. “Whatever you’re going through, whatever stress you have, let it pass. It’s just high school. You can do whatever you like or be whoever you want after high school. Whatever mistakes you feel like you made, you can reset them, so don’t stress it. You’ll see…” said Dang.

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About the Contributor
Elisandra Hampton
Elisandra Hampton, Copy Editor, Formatting Editor
My name is Elisandra Hampton and I am the Copy Editor and Formatting Editor of The Monarch Times for the 2023-24 school year. I joined The Monarch Times last year and I am dedicated to writing quality articles. I was born in Hayward, raised in Hayward, and plan to die in Hayward. My hobbies include drawing, reading, and spending hours on Instagram Reels. I hope I can continue creating informative content this year.  
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