by MICHELLE TREMBLAY | photos by Spark Photography

A Star On and Off the Soccer Field

student_garcia3Fifteen-year-old Diana Gracia has lived in 4S Ranch for about five years. “Everyone is really friendly. I like the way everyone smiles and says hello to you,” said Diana about her community. “I also like all the parks with lots of activities going on all the time.”

Diana is a sophomore at Del Norte High School, and her favorite subjects are math, Spanish, and chemistry. “I love the challenge of solving math problems,” said Diana. “I like Spanish because it’s part of my heritage. My abuela was from Spain, and even though she passed away, I feel that learning Spanish keeps me connected to her and that side of my family.” As for chemistry, Diana found it to be challenging at first. “But after some extra time and effort, I have found that I really like learning about how and why different elements and compounds affect one another,” she explained.

Name: Diana Isabelle Gracia (15)
School: Del Norte High School
Grade: 10
Parents: Rey and Maricelle Gracia
Siblings: Matthew (18) and Megan (9)
Favorite Place in 92127: The Boys & Girls Club. There is a lot going on there all the time. It is always fun to watch different activities going on.

One of Diana’s favorite activities is soccer – a sport she has been playing since the age of five and something at which she excels. “My goalkeeper coach, Evann Zika, has been a great inspiration,” noted Diana. “He showed and taught me that persistence and hard work can help you achieve your goals.” Diana, who is hopeful about playing soccer at the collegiate level, was named as a high school freshman to the North County Conference Palomar League First Team. She has won numerous soccer-team tournament awards as well as individual awards. “Because I am a goalkeeper, most people are very surprised I can juggle a soccer ball so well,” added Diana, who has also been awarded for her achievements in ball-juggling contests. “My record is 1,500 unbroken touches!”


Apart from staying busy with academics and sports, Diana lends her time to volunteering at Saint Gregory Catholic Church and the San Diego Food Bank. “I have provided free soccer training and instruction to young girls, both field players and goalkeepers,” she added. Most recently, Diana has started volunteering at Design39Campus as a math tutor. “Another student and I started the program, which helps elementary school students learn and enjoy math,” explained Diana. “I love working with the little ones and seeing how excited they become when they figure out that math isn’t so hard. Like soccer, you just need to practice to get better.”