Student Spotlight – Siona Manocha

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Allison Wu, Staff Writer

Who’s the most organized student you know? Who’s the most hardworking kid in your grade? Now, envision that “perfect student” and multiply that perfection tenfold—that’s Siona Manocha. As the class note-taker, Google Docs fanatic, and bubbly best friend, Siona is one of the most hardworking, caring, bright, and humble people I’ve ever met in my entire life. From finishing assignments with dedication and excitement, inspiring everyone in the school to reach their potential, and organizing important events that keep our grade together, Siona is one of the reasons I wake up in the morning. 

One of the most beautiful aspects of Siona’s personality is her avidity for photography. As the Co-Editor of Yearbook, Siona fuels and charges her love for photographic impact in her club with purpose and alluring intent. Like an owl’s, her eyes sharpen her environment and forge the orientation of the world as she gently clicks her camera. With one snap, her images come to life and pour a flood of calmness, sincerity, and love into the world of her audience. My favorite photograph from Siona was a perfectly planned photo of her sister, Sarita Manocha, wearing a traditional Indian dress, staring daringly and stiffly to the left. The model’s environment was a mix of gray and black, which isolated the model’s pure mission—to capture cultural beauty and unfamiliar differences. 

Besides photography, Siona is a pure leader. As class president since sophomore year, I remember Siona’s hardcore drive for change and self-improvement. Uniting all the class officers, compiling important events years beforehand, and mastering communication of diverse peoples, Siona is an independent, undeterred, and unforgettable woman. She continues to surprise, motivate, and inspire me. But most importantly, Siona is the leader of her own life. As someone who grabs the attention of the entire room, she directs her energy into a clear, precise, and delicate path for her life, fearlessly. Siona, through others’ perceptions, knew exactly what she wanted and when. The skill to know, understand, and move forward came effortlessly to her, and I will always admire that quality about her—even if she doesn’t fully believe it herself.

Siona’s most memorable experience was her sponsored trip to Japan for one week. In her foreign exchange program, she stayed with a host family, attended a traditional school, and learned the basics of Japanese. She explored Kamamoto and experienced various cultural activities. After returning, she met students from around the world and lived in a culture unfamiliar to her. Her fashion adopted Japanese styles when we met again later that summer. In her free time (although very limited from school), Siona spends time with family and her dogs. In high school, she started a little garden in her backyard, and she cooked and baked frequently. Her favorite thing to bake is biscotti, and during Christmas, she cooked mushroom Wellington. Drinking and making teas, baking tarts, pies, and banana bread, she developed admirable hobbies. Frequently, I wish to visit her house to try more of her recipes!

For entertainment, Siona’s favorite series is Harry Potter. As a dedicated Ravenpuff, she loves reading all genres. Some specific books include The Godfather and The Interpreter of the Maladies. As for movies, in To All the Boys 2: P.S. I Still Love You, she prefers Lara Jean’s and Peter’s relationship (no John Ambrose), and her favorite movie of all time is Aladdin. For fun, Siona and I would watch cheesy romantic comedies together like Swiped, The Princess Switch, The Kissing Booth, and The Perfect Date. We both share laughter and joy in watching bad movies.

In the future, Siona hopes to dive into the medical field. Interested in ophthalmology or gynecology, she aspires to help civilians in underprivileged and under-resourced areas in San Antonio or around the world. To achieve her career goals, she believes in hard work, stating, “if you work hard enough, you can accomplish anything.” She carries her hopeful attitude and work ethic in every avenue of her life. In college, she wants to study abroad, travel the world, and expose herself to the diversity and charms of cultural diversity and lifestyle. Inspired by her exchange program to Japan, she hopes to learn more about different people and countries as she pursues her undergraduate degree. 

When I first entered Keystone in 8th grade, I remember looking up to Siona Manocha. Hardworking, cheerful, and smiley, she always had a cheesy joke to say or a bad pun to brighten the mood. She single-handedly carried our grade’s responsibilities with no complaints or frustration. Lastly, but most importantly, Siona has empathy. She genuinely cares about everyone around her—friends, family, strangers, and animals. Working at iHop, she served pancakes and breakfast entrees with nothing but a smile and a lively aura every day. If a student feels down or is experiencing personal hardship, Siona will always listen and give the most positive advice and consolation. She is seriously a beautiful woman—extraordinary, high-spirited, and empathetic. I’m incredibly grateful to have met her. No world-class achievements can ever compare to Siona’s empathy—a characteristic so rare and valuable. Siona will do amazing things in her future, and I’m warning everyone: watch out for the Siona Manocha because she’s going to rule the world.