Senior class vice president savors title earned in 1st prom since 2019

Scarlett Chang

With the lights dimmed and the crowd hushed, anticipation grew with the patters of a drum roll as the emcee, junior Ariana Choi, prepared to announce the prom king.

Though senior Patrick Jimenez, the senior class vice president, has led thousands of students at school assemblies and led the sophomore basketball team to success, the atmosphere at his prom first filled him with adrenaline, then excitement as he stood victorious in front of his fellow upperclassmen.

“There was just an outburst of emotions,” Jimenez said. “I’ve had a lot of public experience, but I felt that this moment was really special, so I wanted to be the person on stage.”

The April 9 prom, which was held at Fullerton Municipal Airport Hangar 21, was a fulfilling conclusion to Jimenez’s high school career, he said.

“It made high school more memorable, and it shows how good of an experience it is,” said the prom king, who was initially worried that, because of COVID-19 and the Omicron variant, he would not be able to have a prom.

Initially, Jimenez, who said he had not even predicted himself to be on court, was grateful at having been selected as one of the members through a voting process that gave all seniors the opportunity to be on court. 

“It was unexpected, but it wasn’t out of my comfort zone though, so I thought I might as well just have fun with it,” he said. 

The senior said he did not campaign and went through the moments leading up to the big reveal as simply a fun experience. Being on court with many of his friends also lifted the pressure of winning, so he said he did not feel competitive toward the other candidates.

“The only [campaigning] I did was wear the sash at school,” he said, referring to the sash given to all court members when they got selected. “I also told people I was running if they asked.”

While Jimenez himself lacked confidence that he would take home the crown, his friends and their overflowing support disagreed. 

“I was definitely expecting him to win,” said senior Miguel Gaston, one of Jimenez’s closest friends, whom he has known for four years. “Patrick is the type of person that makes such a big impact on someone’s life, no matter how well or long you’ve known him.”

Always an outgoing person, Jimenez entered high school hoping to maximize his opportunities and experiences by joining multiple clubs and programs throughout his SH career.

“Since freshman year, my goal was always to meet new people and make new friends,” he said. “I try to be a nice person to everyone, so I guess that’s why I got a lot of votes.”

Along with the support of his friends, Jimenez attributes his win to the constant support from his mother, Niña Jimenez, whose nurturing love shaped him into the friendly person he is today.

“I told him to make as many memories as he can in his senior year of high school,” Niña Jimenez said. “To be involved in not only his classes, but really any kind of extracurriculars because that’s the best thing of high school that he can take with him when he’s older.”

Winning prom king is one of Patrick Jimenez’s many accomplishments, including being accepted into UCLA’s mechanical engineering program.

“It’s just another feather he added to his hat,” Niña Jimenez said. “It speaks volumes about the influence he had on people because to get accepted into UCLA, you have to have connections and be involved a lot in your school.”

His mother said she admires her son’s perseverance and believes that it helped him not only through garnering votes, but also in his journey through high school.

“If he commits to something, he makes sure he sees it through to the end,” she said. “He tries his hardest to make sure he’s 100% there in all he does — it really speaks to his work ethic.”

Notified that her son had won prom king when he FaceTimed her immediately after the announcement, Niña Jimenez said she truly cherishes their close bond. 

“It’s almost like we’re twins,” said his mother, who even shares the same birthdate as her son. “There’s a lot of things about Patrick that were a lot like me when I was his age, only he’s more sociable. I feel like I understand him more than he realizes.

His mother’s encouragement to be involved in extracurricular activities inspired Jimenez to do exactly that, such as joining Bayanihan Club since his sophomore year.

“I know so many people in Bayanihan, and it definitely [helped] me with votes,” Jimenez said.

In addition to Bayanihan Club, Jimenez joined ASB in his senior year because he was inspired by his friend, Ellen Kim, he said. Being a part of the technology committee allowed him to make new friends as he filmed videos for various events that broadened his outreach to the school community. 

“I met so many new people and friends because of filming,” he said. “It really allowed me to get involved with all different parts of the community at school, like sports and clubs, which I think helped me have that social connection to take home the crown.”

Many of Jimenez’s friends, including those who had been on court, heightened his enjoyment as they brought positive camaraderie to the experience. 

“When I heard my name, Steven [Bogard], who was also another court member, straight up just hugged me right away,” Jimenez said. “There was no bad blood.”

The senior said being able to stand as prom king with prom queen senior Abby Hahm, one of his best friends, made the dance live up to his expectations.

“The whole experience [of winning] was something I didn’t expect,” the senior said. “It was amazing to see my prom be exactly like the ones in the movies, and winning prom king made it feel so similar.”

Wrapping up his last year at Sunny Hills, Patrick Jimenez said that his hope is to leave a lasting legacy in the community as the 2022 prom king. 

“I hope that the people I have met at Sunny Hills remember me as the one that could always make them smile, whether it be by waving or greeting them because I love spreading positivity,” he said.