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New chapter for Mr. Sem

Mr. Dara Sem reacts as the students surprise him by singing Happy Birthday during the Blue, Black and White Assembly. Sem’s birthday happened to fall on the day of the assembly. Photo courtesy of YourHS Photography

Former ASB advisor Mr. Dara Sem has become the new support teacher at Arroyo. Mr. Sem impacted Arroyo’s community and culture in many ways.  He has dedicated a great deal of time to planning events such as dances and assemblies, organizing several food booths and Friday rallies, all while being advisor of ASB and Class of 2027. 

“I’m the new support teacher here on campus. I teach Support Biology, a Support English Class, and also Study Skills,” Mr. Sem stated. 

After a year and a half of leading ASB, Mr. Sem has decided to finish his required credentials to further his teaching career and eventually head back to being ASB advisor, once the position opens up again.

“Engaging with the ASB students and watching all of the excited faces about the things that we put together on campus. Like when kids smile, laugh, when they’re cheering, or when they’re going to the dance and having a good time and just seeing the expressions on their faces, it melts my heart. It tells me that I’m doing my job right.” said Mr. Sem.

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There are always pros and cons throughout positions that people hold in their lives. Mr. Sem expressed that con consisted of no longer being ASB Advisor. But, Mr. Sem did list a pro from his new position which is that the hours are no longer as strenuous as they were while being ASB Advisor as well as having the opportunity to continue being a mentor and a teacher to a new group of students. 

“My purpose here is always to make culture on campus and off campus the best experience that they can have in high school. High school is not easy and there’s challenges so I hope that I have been able to ease that process. Having the kind of personality to do those things is something I learned about myself and that I have more power in that than I realize. Power in the sense of shifting someone’s bad day into a good day, making someone’s experience at a school event a lot better than they anticipated,” stated Mr. Sem. 

After about a year and a half of being an advisor, Mr. Sem was able to build strong connections with the members of ASB. He left them with many memories and pieces of wisdom for them to cherish and remember forever. 

“I just loved working with him and I think all the memories I have working with him, they’re all my favorites. But if I have to choose a specific one, I think the BBW Assembly when we celebrated his birthday was my favorite memory just because we got together as an ASB family and commemorated him on his birthday. And he cried!” ASB Commissioner of Records, Valerie Palacios explained.

This year’s BBW Assembly coincidentally landed on Mr. Sem’s birthday! BBW is a very busy time for ASB meaning Mr. Sem had to work extra hard to get everything organized and working smoothly. The morning of BBW, right before the assembly, ASB surprised Mr. Sem with a birthday cake and the “Happy Birthday” song. He was extremely happy and grateful that tears flooded his eyes which made everybody else in the room equally as emotional!

“He impacted ASB in probably the most positive way possible by connecting with the students like no other adult on campus. He made everyone feel as though they were friends with him, but at the same time keeping that order and respect he has as a teacher and making sure all events ran smoothly.”  Commissioner of Athletics, Fernando Gonzalez explained. 

Fernando emphasized that ASB culture has become an even more vibrant and lively club to be a part of. There are always so many laughs, smiles, and encouragement when surrounded by ASB members and Mr. Sem due to his positive attitude and actions. 

“He has made ASB a more creative environment and he’s made it a place where students can feel comfortable to express themselves. He’s just made it more fun to be involved in school.” Speaker of the Court, Krystal Henriquez stated. 

Many students are often timid and reluctant to participate in new activities such as ASB. Mr. Sem has eased that feeling for many ASB members who have broken out of their shells and began to feel comfortable being more outgoing and willing to try new things, thanks to Mr. Sem himself. 

“I’ve learned how to communicate a lot more when it comes to big projects as well as responsibility and leadership.” Commissioner of Records, Valerie Palacios stated.

ASB is full of leadership opportunities, whether it be being involved in large discussions or leading a group to complete a project. Oftentimes, students aren’t very experienced in these activities but Mr. Sem has taught them his tricks and tips on how to be a strong, responsible leader. 

“He’s taught me that everyone will have bad days, and everyone will have difficult, challenging moments, but things will always get better and things will always work out in the end if you have a shoulder to lean on and people you can always count on.” Commissioner of Athletics Fernando Gonzalez said.

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