Vanessa Leon: Agua Fria’s Resident Sunshine Girl


Photo Credit: Vanessa Leon

Nasreene Gant, OwlFeed Editor-in-Chief

Charismatic, awkward, honest, and kind-hearted are a few words that you could use to describe Vanessa Leon, a member of the Agua Fria pom team and fellow math lover. She is our resident sunshine sweetheart and avid One Direction stan.  

If you’re a sane person and you know Vanessa you’d probably think she’s a little crazy for loving math. However, she explained that her love of math was because there was always something new to learn, “always a way to solve something with a formula,” she said. To her it was more of a puzzle to solve than a question that required a godsend, three tutors, paper, pencil, and luck.

There are a few things that rival Vanessa’s love for math and one of them just happens to be dancing. While I’ve already stated that Vanessa is one of the pom team, what I haven’t said yet is that she is a performer and soon-to-be teacher at Take Five Dance Studio.

She recently received the position as an instructor at the studio due to her talent for hip-hop, contemporary, and tap dancing. Vanessa’s passion for dance helps her relax and express herself in another way on an almost day-to-day basis.

Vanessa described why she likes dancing. 

“[I’m] able to express myself and besides that, it keeps me really active and I’m doing what I enjoy,” she said.

Her love of dance didn’t go unnoticed by her friends. In fact, Agua Fria senior Thalia Varela states that she loves to see Vanessa in “any of her dance shows because she shows she’s supposed to be there and blows everyone away.” 

Some of Vanessa’s favorite memories are actually of performing or teaching at the school. Pep rallies and teaching opportunities with “mini pomies” were some of her favorites in fact. “Mini pomies”, usually children under the age of 12, practice with the pom team for a fundraising event where they teach younger kids routines and perform them during one of the games. 

“One of my favorite memories was performing with pom and the ‘mini pomies’ because we got to teach little kids,” she said. “I liked teaching them.” 

Afterward she goes on to talk about another memory with pom that she was fond of. In this specific one, she described the pep rallies, saying that she loved “watching all the different classes and grades interact and play games with each other.” 

Another rival to her love of dance and math is the former band One Direction. 

Vanessa’s favorite quote is by former One Direction band member Liam Payne. It reads, “The strongest people aren’t always the people who win, but the people who don’t give up when they lose.”

Although this may be her favorite quote, that doesn’t mean he’s her favorite member of the band. Unfortunately for him and the rest of the band, the award for favorite band member would have to go to Louis Tomlinson.

It is fabled that our dear sweet Vanessa first started her love for One Direction during Covid. She had previously listened to them when they came out. However, she only really started listening to them during Covid. It was love a second listen. The sweet melodic voice of Louis Tomlinson and his bandmates swept her into the deep fandom where she currently resides. 

Unfortunately, there will be no saving Vanessa from her love of the ex-One Direction bandmates. It seems the only things that do rival her love for the long-since broken-up band are dance and math.

Some of her achievements include becoming a dance teacher at her dance studio, making new friends, and cultivating confidence in herself.

Another thing that Vanessa is proud of is her connection with her family.

“In my life in general I would probably say that my mom is my biggest influence,” Vanessa said when talking about her family. “My mom had a really tough childhood yet she ended up always being happy and she’s worked really hard.”

She states that some of her favorite moments and some of the best times “were when we were at home by ourselves because we would always make up stupid games” like walkie-talkie hide and seek.

Vanessa plans to go to ASU as a finance major with a certificate in international business. She’s going to use her degree and certificate to travel the world while doing one of the things she loves most, math.

With our resident sunshine girl heading off to face the world, she leaves everyone with one last piece of advice for those who go on to fight another round in the battle royale we call high school.

“Focus more on the memories you make rather than the image you have with other people,” Vanessa advised. “It doesn’t matter and the people you meet at the beginning of the year, you probably still won’t be friends with at the end. Appreciate the moments you have and the new ones you’re gonna make because they’re fleeting and so is high school.”

So without further ado, Vanessa wishes everyone with bittersweet happiness and hope a wonderful life and a cheerful goodbye.