BRIGHT FUTURES — Jennifer Lopez is a Bob Hope School billboard star in so many ways

Published 12:32 am Wednesday, January 19, 2022

Bob Hope High School senior Jennifer Lopez might be a billboard student for the school. Lopez plays four sports, works and volunteers all while maintaining good grades.

“I started working when I was 16,” she said. “I have been in college classes since I was in ninth grade. I volunteer at the elementary. Whenever they do events like field days, we go and help with that and help with the kids.”

Lopez works at the middle school as a nurse’s assistant.

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“My older brother always wanted to work,” she said.

“He always wanted money for a car and things like that. I don’t like asking my parents for anything. I try to find ways to get money or go work and make money. I know my parents don’t have a lot, so I rather get what I want by working instead of asking them for money.”

Lopez said her father always worked in the plants and instilled in her the value of a dollar.

The previously wanted to be a biologist or study veterinary medicine but has recently shifted her interest towards analytical chemistry.

“My whole family worked in the plants growing up,” she said. “I just want to understand how that works and all of the chemicals involved and everything. I want to see what they have been exposed to.”

Jennifer Lopez, who is named after the pop star, was Bob Hope’s Athlete of the Year in 2020-21. (Chris Moore/The News)

Lopez, who was named after the pop star, became aware she shared a famous name when people started calling her J-Lo.

“People would ask me to sing, which I thought was weird,” she said.

While she does not have to balance a singing career, Lopez stays quite busy.

“It is difficult at times, especially when I have long projects to do for school and I have to take them home,” she said. “I always find a way to make time. I wake up in the morning and go to practice. I get here at 6:30. I start school at 8:15 to 3:00. After 3:00, I go to work to 5:00. After work, I go to soccer practice and then go home and do my homework. It is busy and keeps me out of trouble.”

Bob Hope School high school campus director Jesus Acosta said Lopez impresses him.

“Since I got here, everyone talked about her,” he said.

“She was one of our Athletes of the Year last year. She was working and I didn’t understand how she did it. I always say the kids that perform best in high school are the ones who are involved in everything. The more involved, the better you are and it is the better school experience.”

Lopez’s juggle of work and academics isn’t the only busy part of her schedule. She also manages to play multiple sports, participating in softball, volleyball, basketball and soccer.

Christian Cruz, who is Lopez’s volleyball coach, has watched her grow over the past six years.

“As a student, she is excellent,” he said. “She always does her work on time. She is one of the best athletes here. I think she has played almost every sport. From seeing her in seventh grade to 12th grade, she has improved a lot. I think she can play volleyball at the college level.”

Lopez intends to stay near by to get her basics at Lamar University and added she might pursue an advanced degree elsewhere if the opportunity arises.