A Daytime Shooting Star: Ryan Del Rosario


Courtesy of Ryan Del Rosario

Ulia Zaman, Staff Writer

The West High campus has an incredibly diverse group of students that all have different aspirations and talents. Ryan Del Rosario (11), a current junior, a member of the wrestling team, and the newly elected Historian for the 2019-2020 school year, is one of the students with a dream that he wants to share with his classmates. When I asked him about his future plans, he shared his inspirations and motivations for his life-long goal of becoming an Airforce Pilot.


Q: Could you tell me a little about yourself (ie. hobbies, passions, extracurriculars, activities at West)?

A: I have been a wrestler at West for 3 years now and am currently Historian for Filipino Cultural Club. I’m also part of an Air Force Auxiliary program called Civil Air Patrol where I learn how to lead cadets, aerospace education, and emergency services since I’m planning to join the Airforce and hopefully train to be a pilot.


Q: How does it feel to be the Historian for the 2019-2020 school year?

A: I’m so happy and excited to be my Senior Year Historian and I can’t wait to start planning next school year to make it a memorable one for the class of 2020.


Q: What are your goals for next year (personally and as Historian)?

A: My main personal goal and motivation is an acceptance letter by the United States Air Force Academy. As Historian, I want to include as many students as possible in school activities and make sure that everyone is given the opportunity. As it is our final year in high school, I want this year to be one that we can look back on and cherish together in the future.


Q: Are there any major role models that have guided you? Who is a person that you personally look up to?

A: My dad


Q: What is one particular obstacle you have had to overcome in the past?

A: Well there was one a long time ago when I was 4 but I still consider it as a substantial effect to my life. So my very first sport was Taekwondo. I loved the sport and thought that I could be doing it forever, until while I was sparring, I felt a sharp pain in my lower torso. It wouldn’t stop and I just fell to the ground crying from the pain. My parents took me to the doctor and discovered I had an inguinal hernia. I had surgery and was out of sports for a year. They said the main cause was my Taekwondo, so I had to stop Taekwondo. At the time I didn’t care that I stopped my favorite sport because I didn’t really understand the value of continuing your passion at the time. But that was the least of my worries. After the hernia repair, I found it hard to do any extensive exercises and I became inactive. Eventually my parents forced me to baseball and basketball. Sure I found the sports fun but was at a massive disadvantage. Eventually the pain was a distant memory within 2 years of recovery but even now, I can feel the pain whenever I overuse my muscles, especially in weightlifting. However, through mixed martial arts in middle school, I regained confidence to participate in contact sports which led me to doing three years of wrestling in high school.


Q: What do you think is the most valuable lesson you have learned from your experiences?

A: To be frank, I learned the most life lessons out of wrestling. In wrestling, I learned it pays off to push past your limit even if you feel like blacking out, at the end of the daily 2 hour practice, the sense of rest and relief feels so rewarding even though you have cuts and bruises and maybe you can’t hear out of your left ear or you have a black eye. None of that matters because you now know that who you were before practice and who you are now has gone through an experience which has only proven what you can do which is the drive to motivate me to go through the next night’s practice and the one after that. It’s such a unique feeling of accomplishment that I believe no other sport or experience in life can replicate.


Q: What is one tip/advice you would give to someone who is considering following the same path as yours?

A: Get a head start. If you think you wanna do something, try it out and take advantage of time. I’m definitely not one to be saying this advice from experience but from where I’m at right now, I wish I did much more when I was younger. Also don’t be afraid to put yourself out there and try new things. Sometimes it’s hard but you need to get out of your comfort zone and discover something you may grow a passion for.


Q: Have you actually flown in a plane as part of the Civil Air Patrol program? If yes, what was that experience like?

A: In CAP we have Orientation Flights which is free for every cadet who is in the program. You essentially get 5 powered and 5 glider flights which puts you in the co-pilot’s seat for 2 hours each flight. So far I’ve flown 3 times: twice around LA and once in Tucson, AZ. I co-piloted a Cessna 172 and 182, the only difference is their utility but they fly the same with a two handed yolk. As beginners in flying, we practiced flying VFR where we focus on landmarks and the surrounding environment to determine our location, altitude, pitch, roll, etc. instead of relying on the flight instruments which is IFR flying. Flying is always a phenomenal experience for me but handling the yolk my first time, I was honestly scared but it’s actually a lot easier than driving because there’s nothing to crash into. It’s just like cruising in the air and admiring the view most of the time. Of course we can’t fly like Maverick’s F-18 in Top Gun but it’s still an astonishing experience that I wrote about in one of my AP Lang essays.


Q: Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

A: In 10 years, I see myself as an Air Force pilot.