After getting comfortable with how her routine goes, sophomore Soledad Castellanos prepares to get ready for the day. Waking up at 7 a.m., she takes her time in the morning getting ready, gathering any papers for school, and grabbing extra clothes she needs to bring for extra curricular activities. Once arriving at school, she heads to her locker and meets up with a few of her friends to start the day off right.
Doing volleyball inside and outside of school, while participating in more clubs, Castellanos has maintained a high GPA while trying to balance everything at once.
In each class, she has a specific way of doing things–such as in her 1st period theater at—which consists of her checking her emails, taking notes, and sometimes doing on stage acting. On the other hand, for her last period, Algebra 2 Honors, she takes notes and does homework.. After school, Castellanos has to get ready for any club meetings or practices she needs to attend. By the end of the day, she has an average of four things for homework and a few quizzes or tests she needs to study for.
“When it comes to doing everything I have to do, I make the best of it to have fun and love what I’m doing, because if I’m not enjoying what I’m doing then it’s hard to get through it all.” she says. “Another thing I try to do is let my parents know my schedule, so they can either pick me up or drop me off where I need to be.”
Castellanos has been having a passion to play volleyball since the season of 5th grade, so that would make it about six years of her enjoying the sport.
“I wanted to see if I could grow in the sport as an athlete and I also wanted the experience of a high school game, so that is what made me want to keep playing volleyball throughout my life,” said Castellanos.
When playing at Bishop Noll Institute, she also plays at the Hammond Sportsplex for the Velocity 219 Volleyball Club, since she got serious with the sport around the age of 11 anc has been playing club volleyball for about three years.
Sophomore Isabella L Garcia has known Castellanos since they were in 3rd grade because they golfed together at Lost Marsh Golf Course, but she grew to know her more when they played CYO volleyball together.
“Sol and I always knew of each other, but we didn’t actually become friends until freshman year at Bishop Noll. I would say she is a very straight up friend, if you need her advice she will tell you her honest opinions,” said Garcia. “I would also describe her as reliable, if you need her help or just her in general she’s always there for you.”
This year at the start of club volleyball, Castellanos reached one of her accomplishments by becoming team captain and taking on the role of being their leader while understanding the responsibilities that come with it.
“It’s not that hard as some make it out to be, but I will admit that I’m a very emotional person so keeping a good face can be challenging sometimes,” said Castellanos. “I’ve learned that in order to lead, you have to be willing to learn and grow alongside teammates and classmates.”
Getting to know Castellanos as a player, Garcia mentions how she brings dedication, hope, and a positive attitude to any team.
“Sol is a very determined player, she likes getting passes and will always ask for extra reps. She is also there for any of her teammates if she sees they are getting down on themselves,” says Garcia.
Staying with a busy schedule, Castellanos takes English Honors, Algebra 2 Honors with it only being in her second year of high school.
“I felt as though I was up for the challenge in my academics and wanted to follow in my older sister’s footsteps when taking these classes,” she said.
Other ways she is involved with the BNI Community, Castellanos participates in Junior Student Athletic Training, Women’s Empowerment Club, Student Council, Biology Club, Homecoming Committee, Environmental Club, Speech and Debate Team, Track & Field Team Manager, Art Club, and is hoping to be a part as an NHS member by the end of the year.
“What made me join all these extracurriculars is that it was a good way to make friends and try new things, plus you can get service hours for some events so that is always a positive outlook on it,” says Castellanos.
Sophomore Grace Shebish has been friends with Castellanos since the beginning of their eighth grade year, since they both went to the STEM grade program that BNI offers.
“What made us stay close was that we both got along pretty well when we first met, and we played volleyball together in our freshman year,” says Shebish. “We both also have a lot of the same interests and clubs so that has been something that we bond over.”
Shebish and Castellanos do spend some time together outside of school since being a part of Women’s Empowerment Club, Biology Club, and Environmental Club together.
With being a track manager, Castellanos mentions how she did it for a day last season and had lots of fun when doing it, so she thought to give it a chance.
“I like having Sol as our manager for track, not just because she’s my friend, but because she’s very organized. I can depend on her to know what’s happening next, and because she is always around ready to help,” says Garcia.
The responsibilities while being a track manager comes with having to take attendance, distributing uniforms, and distributing athletes’ events are some of the duties Castellanos has to do.
With it being her second year representing her fellow classmates, Castellanos hopes to keep going with being in Student Council.
“Trying to plan and represent the entire sophomore class has led me to take on the responsibility of planning events to bring everyone together as well as encourage the class to donate for events like the peanut butter drive,” says Castellanos.
Voted by her classmates, she is one of the two representatives in her class, to show the leadership and accountability of the sophomore class.
“Being the other representative for our class is a lot of work, we keep up the good work by always communicating our ideas, being honest with each other, and listening to each other as well,” says Garcia.
Castellanos mentioned from personal experience that she knows how it feels like to be the odd one out.
“Now as I stand in a leading position around the school, I take the responsibility to include everyone in events as well as treat those around me as friends,” says Castellanos. “ I also firmly believe in the mantra that ‘kindness costs nothing’, I use this to lead with a mind that sees no point in being mean, rude, or unfair.”
With being a teenager it is understandable to try to get comfortable with having to manage their time and schedule throughout the day.
“When it comes to managing my time with everything that goes on in my life, I kind of don’t. I do try to get as much work done as possible at school, and always try to start on my work and projects a little earlier to allow myself some leeway on those days that are extra long. It’s not uncommon for me to be doing work at volleyball tournaments though,” says Castellanos.
Both Garcia and Shebish agree that they would describe Castellanos as extremely loyal and sincere.
“If I ever need to go to someone I would go to her because she is always truthful and won’t gossip about what you have told her. I really enjoy that Sol is truthful and doesn’t change herself to fit into someone else’s standards,” said Shebish. “She also is extremely dedicated to her work, if she needs to get something done for her club, she does it right away and you don’t need to hound her to do it. Overall, Sol is super loyal and hardworking, I really couldn’t ask for a better friend.”