Freshman Flashbacks – Elissa Ojeda

Math Teacher Elissa Ojeda’s freshman year as a cougar allowed her to excel in athletics and learn the importance of making connections


Ally Pruente (she/her), co-Editor In Chief

     For math teacher and Northwest graduate Elissa Ojeda, her freshman year was full of positive changes. Her journey began at Hocker Grove Middle School, at the time, a feeder school into Northwest. 

     When Ojeda was attending Hocker Grove, the school didn’t offer sports. High school athletics gave Ojeda her first taste of being on a team with her peers. She made the varsity basketball team and the JV soccer team her freshman year and learned that hard work pays off. 

     “I was automatically surrounded by older kids everywhere I went,” Ojeda said. “I wasn’t really on a freshman team or anything that involved a lot of my grade. I was put in a pool athletically with older kids and I had to work harder.”

     The summer before Ojeda’s freshman year, she suffered an injury in her growth plates and was worried she wouldn’t ever grow taller than four foot 11 and a half inches. Later on, she was asked to write her freshman summer English paper about a hardship in her life. 

     “It was fresh on my brain that I was never going to be a five foot person,” Ojeda said. “My little 14-year-old self wrote a whole paper about how proud I was to be four foot 11 and a half.”

On her first day of school, Ojeda met the English teacher who had assigned her that paper. Her new teacher, Debra Boren, had loved her paper. Boren told Ojeda that she was also only four foot 11 and a half inches tall. This experience taught Ojeda how important making connections with your teachers are. 

     “There’s so many really awesome adults in the building, from teachers, coaches and parents to counselors and the administrators,” Ojeda said. “It’s good to just make sure you have at least two or three safe adults that you feel like you can always go to.”

     The jump from middle school was something that sparked an array of new opportunities for Ojeda. She describes her freshman year as a time to take chances, and experience something new.  

     “Freshman year was a really big eye opener,” Ojeda said. “It’s like a small baby taste of the real world.”