Saraya Velez


Photo courtesy of Wesley Works.

Rylee Dang, Former Features Editor

Saraya Velez would define her four years at Emmaus as a valuable time for growth both mentally and emotionally, an experience she will carry with her into college. 

After two years on The Stinger as a Staff Writer then Deputy Sports Editor, Velez is excited to attend the University of Pittsburgh where she will major in psychology with a minor in Korean, and is deciding between a double major or minor in sociology. Velez was accepted into a guaranteed admissions program for applied developmental psychology, allowing her to continue her studies to receive a master’s degree after completing her undergraduate studies. 

Stinger: How did you decide to first join The Stinger?

Velez: I took Journalism One freshman year, and people who were on staff already would always just come into the room during class and go into Ms. Reaman’s little corner. I just thought it was really cool. My sophomore year Maddie Mauro, she was on staff that year, would just tell me about all these things and it just seemed like a really cool place to be. I didn’t really find my niche yet, so I wanted to be a part of this family because it was just a good vibe.

Stinger: Were you involved in other clubs at school?

Velez: For my entire high school career I was a Hornet Ambassador and also a part of Key Club. This year I recently joined the National Honor Society, and then apart from clubs in school I volunteered at the Lehigh Valley Hospital over the summer going into junior year in the gift shop and in sterile processing. 

Stinger: What inspired you to start volunteering?

Velez: Ever since middle school, I had this idea about becoming a psychiatrist or something in the medical field, maybe going into clinical psychology. I thought I wanted to work in a hospital, so I wanted to get my feet wet a little bit and see what the experience is like. It’s safe to say that I definitely don’t want to work in a hospital.

Stinger: Who was your mentor in high school?

Velez: The first one is Mr. Richards because he’s been one of my biggest support systems throughout high school and was just always someone I could talk to. That was something that meant a lot to me and encouraged me to bne that person for someone else. The second one would be Mr. Zolomij. I had him for World Studies Honors junior year, and before I’d taken the class I never thought of pursuing a career outside of the United States. But hearing his insane stories and all the things he’s learned, I definitely see myself maybe working in a different country at some point, and if not, I’ll definitely be traveling a lot more than I had anticipated.

Stinger: What is a goal you have for yourself over the next four years?

Velez: I want to stop comparing myself to others, because throughout high school that was all I did– I compared myself to other people’s grades [and] test scores. There came a point that I made it a personality trait. Now that high school is coming to a close, I feel that was a really unhealthy habit of mine, so I want to work on that throughout college and kind of just live my own life and go on my own journey without feeling like I’m behind or ahead of someone.

Stinger: Why are you so amazing?

Velez: Well, not to toot my own horn, but I feel like at times I can be very introspective and I sit back and observe. I try to empathize with other people and keep an open mind, and these days I feel people really need that. So I’m glad, in my opinion, if I can be that person for someone, even if it might not seem like it at first.Ryle