Lance’s different character arcs through high school so far

Alvin Gonzales

Staff Writer

     Not everyone immediately knows what they want to do in life. For some people, they found out what they wanted to be in the future when they were watching television shows as a kid. Some people don’t even know until way after they’ve graduated high school. Lance Arnoco, a junior at American High School, sort of has an idea of what he wants to be in the future, but isn’t exactly sure yet.

     “If I were to choose something outside of the stuff I did in high school, then it would probably just be computer programming [because], as you know, a high-paying job and very much needed today. It’s not really a plan I’m going for, but if I get into it, then that would be something I would do, developing video games. I play a lot of video games, so why not try to make them?” Arnoco expressed.

     Now although Arnoco isn’t truly certain he’ll steer into this career path, he does have just some prior experience in computer programming.

     “In my freshman year when I took Introduction to Computer Science I found it interesting how difficult it was to code robots to do things. … Next year I’m taking Exploring Computer Science. [However,] with the skills I have now, I’m definitely not confident that I would be getting into [computer programming,] but depending on how well I do in that class, if I did good, then I would be confident that I could definitely try to do something in that field, but if I fail that course, then I might just go with… becoming a teacher,” Arnoco stated.

     However, high school isn’t always just about trying to find out what you want to do in life, but quite literally what you want to do in high school; for Arnoco, volleyball was all he could really ever think of doing when he first came to American.

     “That’s all I thought throughout freshman year of high school. I didn’t really care about studying that much, which is probably bad, but I just focused on practicing for volleyball at the time,” Arnoco stated. “Sophomore year was when I started playing in games more often, like starting and actually being on the court. This year, because of COVID, I wasn’t able to practice hitting and passing, which actually kind of helped me because I was able to practice setting, which I’m playing for.”

 Lance Arnoco (11), in the middle, concentrating on the volleyball game, waiting for his teammate to serve the ball to initiate the play. “In freshman year, it wasn’t really improving the team, it was more increasing individual skill because all we did was practice our passing, so that we can actually get into the team plays, but throughout the whole year our passing was terrible. So we weren’t able to practice actual teamwork-based skills like running different types of attacks, we were just increasing our overall individual skills so that we would eventually lead up to teamwork, which we weren’t able to do in my freshman year.”

     One of Arnoco’s good volleyball friends, Daniel Visitacion (12), is one that can vouch for Lance’s obsession with volleyball.

     “In volleyball, he’s always looking to maximize his skills all around and … you could see that he is more determined than other players and oftentimes better than me,” Visitacion stated.

     For Arnoco’s sophomore year, it wasn’t just all volleyball, however; that year, Arnoco got into singing for the school too.

     “I joined the Glee Club sophomore year. We sang ‘The Star-Spangled Banner’ for one of the rallies. On YouTube, I was recommended a barbershop quartet video—basically where four people sing in unison with different parts of the song—and I really wanted to try something like that. I brought a bunch of my freshman friends and I asked them if they wanted to join me in the barbershop quartet; they were totally inspired—they were not inspired. I think some of them enjoyed it, which is why I then asked them if they wanted to join the Glee Club with me and they said yes,” Arnoco reminisced. “I think that was just my singing arc; freshman year volleyball, sophomore year singing.”

     Freshman year was Arnoco’s volleyball arc, sophomore year was his singing arc, and currently his junior year is his YouTube arc.

     “I got into making a YouTube channel about anime. At first, it was a podcast about different anime shows. Then, I thought of the idea to start doing voice acting videos. Then, it transformed into just gameplay. The most recent video is a parody and I think it’s probably gonna turn into a very bad parody channel,” Arnoco stated.

     One of Arnoco’s friends, Edwin Lung (10), was a part of several of his voice acting videos.

     “He’d pick some random WebToon and chapter and then we’d [read] and rotate lines or play certain characters,” Lung stated.

     Arnoco’s future plans for his senior year seem to be set on joining the Chess Club.

     “So on YouTube, I got recommended a video from GMHikaru, a professional chess player. So I watched his videos and was like hey I can do that too! and it did not go as planned. Right now, I’m practicing playing chess games online and occasionally getting better. I think next year, I’ll join the Chess Club, so that’s the plan. I don’t know what the Chess Club is like, but I do know that they play in tournaments because I saw the trophies in Ms. Zheng’s room, so that’s probably what I’m hoping to do, but I hope that they teach you chess openings and chess theory,” Arnoco elaborated.

     So far and with more to come, Arnoco’s high school life has seemed pretty unplanned and unexpected.

     “Younger, [freshman] me would think just about volleyball. Now I actually have a plan; I’m doing more than what I did before. I think freshman me would probably not expect this to happen. Why? Freshman year was just one-track mind volleyball. Did he expect to get into chess? Probably not. For the YouTube channel I tried, it didn’t really continue after two videos, but there’s 22 videos now. Definitely unexpected. Then getting a chance to play for varsity this year, my freshman self probably would have thought it would be senior year or never. [Would] freshman year me have thought about Glee Club? Probably not, because I never thought about singing before. I think me now is very unexpected for freshman me,” Arnoco expressed. 

     Besides Arnoco’s unplanned high school arcs, whatever he seems to get into, he definitely shows that his eyes are set on them, according to Dylan A. Stock (10), one of Arnoco’s friends who was a part of his singing arc.

     “He’s an outgoing person, you know? He has a really enthusiastic attitude when there’s things going on that he’s passionate about like voice acting or recording the lines for the singing,” Stock stated.

     For volleyball, for YouTube, for singing, and for life, you need to be obsessive over your goals, and clearly Lance has that spark of determination in him to go out and get what he wants; one of his great longtime friends, Viraj Vinish (11), explains this strong determination he has.

     “I think Lance is a very dedicated person because he finds one thing and he gets really into it. I think right now he’s really obsessed with voice acting. He does a lot of videos on his channel and he does a lot of work for it. Eventually he moves on, but once he finds something he’s interested in he really goes at it,” Vinish stated.

     Lance Arnoco (11), on the right, walking through Coyote Hills Regional Park with his sister, Reena Arnoco, a former American High School student, as their father suddenly catches them both by surprise with a photo. “When he’s out and about, he usually wants to go home. Usually when he’s outside and I’m there, he’s always on his phone, but when he’s at home he’s just enjoying himself doing his own hobbies,” Reena Arnoco stated.

Lance Arnoco (11), in the middle with the red number four jersey, hyping up his two teammates right before their volleyball game. “During games in my freshman year, every time, [my face is calm,] but my legs would both shake while I’m trying to stand still.”

Audio of the interview:

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