by Vera Jirnov

Luna Sandoval loves seeing new things. Whether she’s hiking, hunting for crystals, or traveling, Luna always finds a way to explore.

Luna has been to almost every state and many countries, but she especially “loved Belize.” She plans to travel more in the future. In fact, for this summer she has a trip planned to go to Central America before starting college in either Colorado or Hawaii. 

She has many goals for the future. A very important goal is “to keep moving,” she said. “I don’t want to work a 9 to 5.” Luna also hopes to eventually have her own business, “whatever that business is.” It is also important for her to do what makes her happy in the future, “and to live in Hawaii,” she noted.

 Luna likes to “make stuff” and crocheting is one of her hobbies. A natural trendsetter, when Luna started crocheting during art class, so did everyone else.

One thing Luna will miss about Ouray is “walking down the Main Street,” she said. “I've lived here forever; I'm going to miss my mountains.”

Luna’s biggest influence is her mom Lupita. “She's just a really strong woman,” Luna said, “and she pushes me to be the best I can be but also allows me to just take a breath, give myself a break.” 

Another big influence, Craig Kaminsky, was Luna's first basketball coach and she’s “just stuck with him ever since,” she said. “He has challenged me in a lot of ways, in a lot of good ways, and he's just been real with me: he’s never let me off easy if I mess up on something, but he just really pushed me.” 

Luna’s best memories at the school include “basketball games, spending time in the library with Ms. Cappi, and all the trips the school has taken us on.” One trip Luna really liked was Catalina. She said that the trip helped with her “fear of open water” and that “swimming in the kelp forest was one of the best experiences of my life.”

Luna’s time as a library aide connected her deeply with Ms. Cappi, who loved to get to know this student, “and her big heart,” better. (Luna’s biggest pet peeve is “when people go out of their way to hurt others' feelings.” She wants people to “find something better to do, spread kindness not hate.”)

“I’ve just seen Luna become more and more herself as she's grown and matured,” said Ms. Cappi. “She's really coming into the woman that she wants to be and I feel quite honored to be a part of that. I’m really excited to see where she goes in life and what she chooses to do.”

One piece of advice Luna would give a freshman is “Don’t go out of your way to make others happy before yourself, and just be yourself because I know high school’s hard.” People think they have to “try to fit in,” she said, “but we are in Ouray, everyone fits in. Just find your people, stick with them, get your work done, and get out of here.” 

That’s certainly Luna’s plan. “Traveling is a huge passion of mine” she told me, and that’s what she’s about to do.