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‘Every life is worth living’

By Kira Walters
First Flight High School ‘24

Most people move at least once in their lifetime, but not many people have experienced moving to a completely different country and starting a brand new life.

Adriana Ferrufino Gomez did this, and flourished because of it.

Gomez is a 17-year-old aspiring sports journalist from San Miguel, El Salvador. She currently lives in Silver Spring, Maryland with her mother, father and twin sister, Blanca. Gomez expects to graduate from Springbrook High School in the summer of 2024.

When Gomez was 5 years old, she and her immediate family moved to Maryland to start a new life. Gomez learned English from TV shows like Dora the Explorer.

“It was really lonely at first because I couldn’t even communicate with kids my own age. The only friend I had was my sister,” Gomez said. “Not only that, but all of my family except my parents and sister were back in El Salvador.”

Throughout her transition from life in El Salvador to the United States, she and her sister found ways to stay rooted to their culture, for themselves and others. Two years ago, the Gomez sisters put a long-awaited idea into action: International Night at their school.

“The goal of the event is to showcase the diversity of our school and make everyone feel welcome,” Gomez said. “For the first hour and a half, people walk around looking at different clubs and trying different foods from various cultures around the world. This night also acts as an open-house for incoming freshmen by showing them different clubs and activities available that are not focused on culture.”

In addition to cultural diversity, Gomez also works hard to spread awareness about homelessness. These topics tend to go hand-in-hand, she said. Gomez wrote a letter to the governor of Maryland voicing her concerns on homelessness.

“Thankfully, I have never experienced homelessness first-hand, but my father has,” Gomez said. “Since we moved to the States, he has worked to never go through that again.”

Gomez has faced a myriad of challenges throughout her life, and, like many students, she needed to find a way to cope with the anxiety and loneliness. She turned to running.

“I love running because it gives me freedom,” Gomez said. “I’m no longer an immigrant, I no longer have broken English. Running has helped me separate myself from my past and develop into the person I am now. It’s therapeutic for me because it quiets my mind and lets me move forward.”

Not only does she run cross country and track, but she runs everyday as a form of mindfulness.

Another coping mechanism Gomez uses is discussing real-life issues on her personal podcast, Life A.N.M. She records episodes with her sister, Blanca, and friend, Mathias.

“It is about three high school students figuring out their way through life by talking about things that matter to all of us,” Gomez said. “We are trying to include episodes featuring either local or professional athletes to open the conversation about mental health within sports.”