Cub Edition: Paige Gilmore starts high school, plans for future

Freshman Paige Gilmore looks forward to a bright future with the support of being influenced by the people around her. She navigates high school with the help of her friends, the Step Up program and her end goal of making it to college. 

High school so far has been a large adjustment for Gilmore. It is very different from her past three junior highs–and the change is pretty drastic. Having middle school online most of the time was tough for a lot of ninth graders, but jumping around from Rockwood Preparatory Academy (RPA) to Reynolds to Harrison Park was strenuous. Now though, she is finding parts of school fitting, like her schedule.

“I picked pretty good classes,” Gilmore said. “I like how they’re all evenly distributed, and I don’t have all of my favorite classes on one day and all of my least favorite on another which is good.” 

Gilmore is excited for her newfound freedom and opportunities while navigating her freshman year. She’s made new friends and found community within her leaders and peers. 

Step Up is a support system for students at schools to feel more comfortable during their high school years. 

Gilmore is a part of this program, and it’s made her more confident and assisted going forward.

Vero Bustillos is one of the Step Up leaders here, where she helps students grow to become the best version of themselves to graduate. Her impact on Gilmore is powerful, and she has already noticed growth in the couple of months she’s worked with her. 

“I’ve seen her grow as far as her friendships,” Bustillos comments. “She takes more time to talk to them and be at their level, and kindness is always a part of her personality.” 

Step Up hosts mock interviews, deals with family and emotional trauma, teaches students how to communicate better with others and is just a really good way to feel loved through highschool. This gives Gilmore more chances to express herself and continue to use all these values and skills later in life. 

It also encourages assistance with graduating and job searching. This has supported Gilmore and other students with figuring out what it is that they want to do in the future. 

“We asked, what are you looking forward to in the future? And she said, being more involved with her friends and family, and being more active in her school.” Bustillos mentioned.

Gilmore also attended military visits at school to see where her life could maybe be going. 

Gilmore plans to possibly work in the nursing field in her future, perhaps an army medic. She hopes to have a good job that pays well but also one that she enjoys and makes a difference in; she wants to impact people in a way that changes them.

“I know I won’t be in Portland because I want to travel. If I stayed in Portland, that would be, like, really weird. I think I definitely see myself in another state or country.” Gilmore’s friend, freshman Lucia Romero, believes that Gilmore will have a lucrative future, hopefully filled with doing her dream job. Romero met Gilmore through a mutual friend, but they’ve grown closer over the years.    

“We just started hanging out, and everyday we got closer,” Romero said.

She believes that Gilmore will be very successful and excel in college and high school. 

Gilmore thinks that college is very important because she will be the first person in her family to complete it; she hopes to make her and her family proud.  

High school has already started changing Gilmore by breaking her out of her shell and becoming less quiet. Romero and Gilmore’s relationship allowed them both to grow and turn into more kind and caring people. 

“I think she’s very smart and has a lot of potential in school,” Romero said. “Wherever she wants to take her future, she will take it. I know if she works hard in school, she’s going to make it.”