By JOANNA SHEPHERD | Intern
My name is Joanna Shepherd. I am 16 years old, and it has been a decade since I first moved to Pacific Palisades.
Before then, I lived in Westwood and attended a small Catholic school. My parents pulled me out before the fall of second grade, to spare me from having to sit out while my classmates practiced their First Communion.
Plus, there was the biting incident of 2006.
In short, I was harshly chastised for instinctually defending myself from a posse of cruel little girls. One day, I had enough of their bullying. Backed into a corner, with their chubby little fingers in my face and a high-pitched chorus of “You’re going to hell!” (It was on account of my not being Catholic, so the nuns were of little help.) I did what any sensible 6-year-old, backed into a corner, being relentlessly taunted, would do—I chomped down.
After that, my parents promptly plucked me out and placed me in Calvary Christian School. Within the year, we moved to the Highlands to be closer to my school.
Blissful in my sunny and secure mountaintop, and at an unbelievably loving and wonderful new school, I have called the Palisades home ever since. As traumatizing as those first couple of years of elementary school were, I am grateful because they ultimately brought me here. Not to mention, it makes a good anecdote.
Today, I am a junior in high school at Pacifica Christian. My high school is very much like a small town: tight-knit and saturated in personality.
We are constantly encouraged to build lives, not resumes, and invest ourselves in everything that we do.
I am passionate about art and I love to write, read, learn, cook, enjoy nature and watch “Gilmore Girls.” As a little kid, I would write stories and illustrate them. I created worlds with my imagination and characters who felt like my friends.
Around middle school, I fashioned a life plan in which I would become a foreign correspondent by my 20s and an anchor by my 30s. This way, I could travel, tell people’s stories, and later be able to settle down and become rooted in a community.
Whether I end up becoming a journalist, an artist, a neonatologist or opening up a trendy French toast café, I want to always be growing and learning and creating and helping.