Student Spotlight — Dalex Zenteno

Student+Spotlight+%E2%80%94+Dalex+Zenteno

Shreya Chaudhary, Co-Editor in-Chief

Despite all odds, a silence enveloped the English classroom, full of previously rowdy seniors, as Dalex performed the one-act play they wrote. Their character, desperate for money, signed up for an experiment and was left alone in front of a mirror to talk to herself. If she did not talk enough, she would not get paid, and if she pressed the button, she could stop the experiment but once again leave without the money. Sitting alone in the middle of the classroom, Dalex brilliantly acted as their character talked back and forth, slowly and painfully facing her true self. 

Dalex’s ability to write the one-act play in a few hours and captivate the senior class as they delved into the darkness of the character’s mind astounded me. Sitting next to them in English class, I am always in awe of the detail Dalex goes into when analyzing a piece of literature: every number has meaning, every name has a meaning, every location has a meaning, and Dalex always researches these symbols to gain a deeper understanding of every piece. This is just one of the many ways Dalex expresses their admiration for the arts. 

Dalex with their dog

While growing up, Dalex has been surrounded by art through their family. Their grandparents, for example, were both surgeons and artists, and they use their detail-oriented skills from performing surgeries in their art. Dalex loves all sorts of art: visual art, music, theatrical art, and more. During the pandemic, Dalex started painting, but when they showed their paintings in class, due to their intricate details, realism, and seemingly perfect shading, I had thought they painted for years. Musically, Dalex played cello in the orchestra from one of their past schools, piano since they were three, and they self-taught themselves the guitar and ukulele. According to Spotify, they love rock, indie music, and, of course, musicals. 

In fact, Dalex’s love for theatrical arts is what brought them to SAY Sí, a non-profit after-school art program with a mission of giving everyone equal access to art. This is Dalex’s fourth year with the organization, and of the four tracks, Dalex focuses on theatre where their group creates theatrical productions all by themselves: they serve as the actors and the crew members, they write the plays and the soundtracks, and they even make their shows interactive! One aspect Dalex loves most about SAY Sí is the kind mentors and teachers who support their theatrical group.

Dalex was the most recent addition to the class of 2022, joining in sophomore year, but it feels as though they have been part of the class from the start. At Keystone, Dalex is actively involved in the Diversity, Equality, and Inclusion Council (DEIC), Lower School Connects, theatre, tennis, robotics, and is a senior Wellness Council representative. When asked about the transition from public school to Keystone, Dalex said their brother went to Keystone before, so they had an idea of what the campus was like. While Keystone was definitely different, Dalex cites making a good friend group as the way they best adapted. 

Aside from art, Dalex loves teaching. In SAY Sí, they are a mentor for middle school students. In addition, at Keystone, they are a library ambassador and participate in Lower School Connects. They find children to be fascinating as they “don’t have the same anxieties as high school students.” Dalex especially loves lower school students for their directness and genuineness. From seeing them in the playground for Lower School Connects, I have observed how natural Dalex is with the students, understanding them and helping nurture their growth as individuals. 

Dalex with their friend, Tessa

As their tenure at Keystone slowly comes to an end, Dalex hopes to study psychology at university. Dalex explains how the brain and human nature intrigues them, especially learning disabilities. Specifically, Dalex was diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) sophomore year, so they want to explore why they are the way they are. Passion coming through in their voice, Dalex explained how ADHD is likely to be diagnosed later in girls than boys because there is far more ADHD research in boys despite there being clear differences. For example, in girls, their ADHD can lead them to be inattentive and daydream frequently, and even be seen as quiet. In fact, frequently, girls with ADHD can be seen as lazy even though, as Dalex explained, they want to do work, but their brain is not allowing them to do so. Because of this, they need accommodations, medications, and therapy to manage ADHD with their life, but even in sectors such as accommodations, there is still much need for improvement. 

As Dalex graduates from high school and begins a new chapter of their life, reflecting on their times in Keystone, Dalex advises students to not grow up too fast and enjoy being a child while they can. I know Dalex will succeed wherever they go, and I will miss their art, their confidence, their detail-oriented nature, and their analytical skills. I am confident that Dalex will continue to inspire students and improve the world throughout their life, and I cannot wait to see what amazing things they will accomplish first.