Jarelene Vasquez, Stellar Student, Priceless Pal

Her humility and kindness glow to those who look for her light


Jarelene (17) with her brother Jared Vasquez (19) in the ROTC program, Kinnick Japan.

by Marcella Fischer, Reporter, Copy Editor

Ice cream is scattered across the table and sounds of the mall vibrate around her. Jarelene Vasquez smiles as her mother, Christina Vasquez, looks her directly in the eyes and says, “we’re just proud of her. And we know that she will flourish wherever she goes.”

Jarelene’s younger brother, Vicente Vasquez, interjects, “are you crying?” 

“No, not this time,” she says with a soft laugh. 

Sitting right outside of Barnes and Nobles in the Silverdale Mall, Jarelene and her parents recount her drive for academic success, and what led to her becoming a National Merit commendation recipient. “Almost innate… always wanted books, always reading books” her father, Vincent Vasquez, said.

The harsh lights reflect on her glasses as Jarelene’s head tilts gently, “I don’t know, maybe because we always went to Barnes and Nobles when we were little,” she said.

Jarelene is a senior at Central Kitsap High School (CKHS) and, like much of it’s student population, has lived in California, Virginia, and Japan as part of her father’s employment in the military. 

Vincent works as a Perioperative Nurse, currently in the Bremerton hospital.

“I’m lucky because he barely, knock on wood, but he doesn’t get deployed. I hear other military friends that miss their dad and I am so lucky.” Jarelene said.

Jarelene’s displacement from the military has affected her, her father said, the move from California to Japan most significantly, but the ROTC program in Japan ended up becoming very important to her, said Jarelene. 

“Before she found ROTC, it was whoa.” said Christina.

But the thrill of ROTC, and the challenge and team affected her tremendously, Jarelene said.

“Being Military we moved around a lot, so I think that was the period where it hurt her the most was when we left California and went to Japan… It was hard. But I think that’s probably where she also got the drive… just having to succeed everywhere.” said Vincent.

This drive, and other factors according to her parents and Jarelene, led Jarelene to receive a letter of commendation from the national merit program, because of her exceptional score on the PSAT. 

“I’d say the source of [my academic accomplishments] are probably in my family and how they raised me,” Jarelene said.

Her parents agree, but add that much of the reason for her success is inside her and from her choices.

She is “very smart, whenever she sets her goal, she gets it,” said Christina, and “Whenever she’s home doing homework, she’s just doing homework, for hours.”

Ruben Torrez, a friend and senior at CKHS, agrees.

“She’s a nerd. She’s obsessed with books and homework. If homework was a dude she’d date him,” said Torrez. 

But Jarelene is more than just determination, no matter what Torrez comments, other friends and family see her loving and compassionate side.

“She’s really attached and sometimes she cries because she is so grateful for us,” said Vicente, Jarelene’s eight year old younger brother.

Jarelene has met Francesca Dockendorf in her math class, and Dockendorf has much to  gush about her character, “I think Jarelene is …very nice, and that is like a very very!”

Jarelene has spent almost two years living on Bangor Base and attending CKHS.

“When we got here, my parents were like, is this a college?…They don’t have an ROTC program like they did at my old school, but other than that I really like CK,” Jarelene said.

She has enjoyed participating in HOSA, Link Crew, and NHS while she has been here and her favorite activities have included practicing phlebotomies in HOSA she said.

Outside of school, Jarelene enjoys spending time with her family.

“We like watching a lot of movies together…Instant Family was a real tear-jerker for me and my sister and my mom… we have a lot of fun theorizing about what’s going to happen next [in the Marvel Universe],” said Jarelene.

Among the student population at CKHS, there are stellar academic students that are kind and bring goodness into the lives of others, and Jarelene is not to be looked over in search of one.

Torrez said, “She is very helpful, very caring, she always wants to put others first.”