Kimberly Pineda Talks About Building Confidence Through Trying New Things

What grade are you in?
12th grade
What year did you enter York?
6th grade
What do you remember the most about your first year here?
I really value the confidence that I built that year. In 6th grade, I came into my own. I was actually terrified coming here. I thought I would be an outcast. I didn’t know what I was about to walk into. Then I realized that I don’t have to be afraid to be myself. Coming from the Bronx, I always had an image that Manhattan was not down to earth and only concerned with status. That was always a thing in my mind and my experience at York made me set that image aside. I learned to look beyond the superficial and to not look at people and judge them from the outside. Through the years, I’ve learned more empathy and to not only look from only my own perspective.
My Drama Club experience in 6th grade really helped me get out of my shell. Shortly after joining I talked to students from all grades, and being a 6th grader, I felt like if I can do that then I can talk to my classmates. I really became confident and able to talk to people. 
What clubs/sports do you participate in?
I have been in Drama since I came to York, both as an actor and stage manager. My friend actually dragged me to a Drama Club meeting the first time and I was hesitant because I thought I couldn’t perform in front of people and I had social anxiety. When I started attending rehearsals I saw how much fun and interactive it was. I stayed for the environment, and it has helped me so much in how I present myself. I built up my confidence. When I first came to York I felt out of place as the only Hispanic kid. I came from a very ethnic neighborhood. Drama helped me to see how I can connect with someone–to see past what makes us different. I definitely give John and Fiona credit because they have established that community among the drama department, They took us by the hand and pulled us along as if we were their children. “Mama Fifi” is honest and tells us what we need to work on in a very caring way. John and Fiona will do whatever they can to help us grow. 
I joined the Yearbook this year because I wanted to leave a permanent mark as a senior.  I grew here basically. I went from being one person to being who I am today. I love that the yearbook is a collaborative process.
Being a part of Genesis, the literary magazine, has also involved taking part in a collaborative process. On Wednesdays we meet during lunch, discuss the pieces and give construction criticism. As a team, we workshop the different elements that go into the publication.
I’m not much of a sports person, but I learned about each sport when I was on the soccer, softball, and volleyball teams. I was encouraged by my friends to try soccer. Softball was entirely me- it was a new team in 9th grade, and I thought softball was going to be the sport for me. We learned so much from each game and we really built up our skills that year. I’ve been practicing softball to get ready for this spring. I definitely feel like after putting myself into sports, I’ve been able to say “I can try things” rather than saying “I can’t do this”.
As co-manager of the Girls Varsity Basketball team, I find myself shooting the ball here and there, and its fun that I let myself play. Just because I am not the best at something doesn’t mean that I won’t benefit from doing it. I’ve seen my stamina and agility improve from playing sports. I see it in the way that I dance in the YP dance company (which I was helpfully encouraged by Fiona to try and have been in since 10thgrade). 
Tell us about your hobbies and interests outside of school.
I have three terrier mixes (a mom and two daughters) and I helped the mom give birth to both of her daughters’ two litters! It was those experiences that made me want to become a vet. I was 12 for the first birth, and I remember the first time she was trying to give my sister and I spent two hours keeping her calm and researching the birth process at the same time. I learned that she could basically do it herself and that the placenta comes out after each puppy. I actually helped her through three litters. There were five in the first litter then four then six. We had to separate each puppy after each birth in little boxes with blankets. 
I like trying to capture what I see and how I see things through art. I like drawing and writing. I had two of my stories published in Genesis last year. I would like to minor in art in college.
What has been your best memory at York?
I always loved gym! I used to hate exercise, but I always loved the gym environment. There was no competitiveness.  It’s always team and sportsmanship. I liked pinball, which is like a combination of dodgeball and bowling. It was always my favorite because it’s not about throwing. It’s about having fun. 
If you could give yourself advice as a student entering York, what would it be?
Enjoy it. There’s gonna be a lot of hiccups and times where things may seem like they are not going right. Personally there were a lot times when I may have felt like I was not as smart as other people and I let that interfere with the way I acted and I wish that those feelings didn’t interfere with my learning. Education will give you the opportunities to do what you want. It would be mistake to focus on the bumps rather than looking at the picture. So remember to enjoy yourself.