Laura Moctezuma knows she takes Half Moon Bay for granted. She’s lived here all her life, enjoying the ocean and being able to walk wherever she needs to go. And attending Half Moon Bay High School, where everyone knows everyone, was her favorite part.

That’s why having an in-person graduation and senior events this spring means so much to the graduate. She struggled with online school at first and felt grateful to finally go back in person for her final weeks as a student. Now, she’s got her sights set on Sonoma State University, where she’s keeping her mind and heart open to all the possibilities. While it’s nerve-racking to move away from home, she’s ready for the next chapter.

“I'm excited to have that experience of being independent and meeting new people outside of this bubble,” Moctezuma said.

She will remember her favorite teachers, her soccer team and the yearbook class, where she made some of her closest friends while taking photos for school sporting events. She’ll also remember all the hard work she put in to get to this day, like studying overtime to master even her most difficult subject, math.

“To finally be strong in that subject that I struggled in, it’s something I overcame that I was proud of,” Moctezuma said.

While she’s not yet committed to any one major, Moctezuma said she hopes to pursue a career working with kids. Her passion for teaching comes from her involvement in summer camps through Mariners Church, where she felt like not just the teacher, but also a student of faith. It’s a lesson she says will stick with her.

“Faith is definitely really important,” Moctezuma said. “I grew up on that. It helps knowing that you're not alone. God is with people all the way. I think that will help guide me, the more I pray.”

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