Ambassadors exhibit model behavior for young students

Yufei Zhang, Staff Writer

Some people collect Pokémon cards, others collect Baseball cards, but at Adobe Bluffs, the students collect Westview Ambassador cards.  

Ambassador Nicole Santarsiero (12) thinks trading cards are a great way to introduce themselves to the students.  

“It’s like a game where the kids try to collect all of the cards,” Santarsiero said. “Every ambassador has one and it’s fun for the kids to try to collect all [the cards].” 

The ambassadors are selected after several rounds of interviews and applications. “We’re [chosen because we’re] a good representation of what Westview wants to promote with our various interests and characteristics,” Mia Sunahara (12), a fellow ambassador, said. 

A few weeks ago, Santarsiero headed to Adobe Bluffs for a playground date to bond with the elemntary schoolers with her stack of ambassador cards.  

“Boys and girls came up and asked, ‘Can you give me a card, please?’” Santarsiero said. “It’s a really nice way to stay connected with the kids [even when they go home].” 

Mia Sunahara (12) aims to set a positive example for the younger students and help them increase their interpersonal skills. 

“We want to be role models for the kids and get them involved, especially kids who don’t necessarily have anybody to play with,” Sunahara said. “At Canyon View, there are always a few kids leaning against the gates by themselves with no one around them. We start make big games and pull in kids that are by themselves and with their friends to get as many people involved as possible.” 

The ambassadors created skits for Red Ribbon Week to encourage students to find their natural high. 

“We filmed ourselves doing something that we love that we consider our natural high,” Sunahara said. “Mine was performing and music.”   

As a varsity water polo player, Santarsiero bonds with students through sports, but also stresses the value of education. 

“One boy told me that he enjoyed sports but he like school,” Santarsiero said. “I jumped in and said, ‘You learn about a lot of great things in school and make new friends.’ I reminded him to keep studying.”  

Sunahara has also been asked about her interests and extracurricular activities by elementary schoolers.  

“We tell them stories and encourage them to follow their interests,” Sunahara said. “We show kids that we can relate to them and share events with them that they can look forward to.” 

As the ambassadors visit younger students during assemblies and bonding events, they leave impressions on the students. Santarsiero connected well with a third grader about sports and reading during a playground date.  

“Almost two weeks later, I went to do the morning readings. And the kid comes up to the front gate and says, ‘Hi Nicole!’ It was so heartwarming because I was not expecting that he would remember me.” 

According to Sunahara, she hopes to teach the students fundamental strategies to handle different emotional situations in a fun way. 

“We did a respect skit that was Halloween-themed, and we had a bunch of weird wacky costumes,” Sunahara said. “We were talking about [respect] and that was our way of delivering [messages] to kids and not have them be confused.” 

By acting out scenarios, the ambassadors exemplify behaviors for students to apply. 

“Maybe a new kid comes to school, and a [returning] student doesn’t know how to react,” Sunahara said. “We teach them how to invite them over. They learn how to interact with people successfully and form relationships.” 

Sunahara said that spending time with the younger students has helped her gain a new outlook on life.  

“It’s so crazy how kids can see things from such a different perspective, Sunahara said. “[By] interacting with them, it’s refreshing, draining, exhausting. It’s hilarious. Getting to inspire more kids and sharing my passion is really enjoyable.”