SELMA — Selma High School student Chloe Mendoza’s admission to Stanford University comes as little surprise to the people who know her best. In fact, it runs in the family for the daughters of Steve and Sonya Mendoza.
With her two older sisters having gone to Harvard and UCLA, Chloe was given the opportunity to go to Yale. When Stanford opened up with an opportunity and a scholarship, Mendoza says it took her by surprise, but she was glad for it.
“It felt almost like a coming-of-age movie for me where I’m deciding my future in a really dramatic moment,” Mendoza said. “But choosing Stanford was a plot twist for me because I was planning to go to Yale.”
With a lifelong interest in social issues and community service, Mendoza got her chance to show her leadership acumen in the Leo Club, the youth branch of the Central Valley Lion’s Club in Selma. A member since age 12, she quickly gained the attention of the organization, including her mentor, Maxine Abe.
“Being a good leader also means she listens to the other LEOs and she encourages others' opinions, encourages them to be leaders as well, so I think that’s an example of an exceptional leader,” Abe said. “Leo Club is service-oriented, so that’s her main concern – it’s always in the service of others and the community.”
Mendoza led the Leo Club for two years, with her biggest test coming during the pandemic in 2020, during which her team found themselves socially distanced but still needing and wanting to help the community.
“I know going through the motions of the pandemic has been very difficult to say the least, but for me, one aspect of my life has been the Leo’s Club and my leadership position,” Mendoza said. “And having to rush head-on into an unfamiliar situation was very trying because I felt that is my senior year and I really wanted to do work that would help my community.”
Nonetheless, the team was able to pull together to work for their community, including a blood drive, which collected over 40 pints of blood in Selma’s Lincoln Park.
Mendoza continues to have an interest in community service and social issues and says she wishes to pursue a career in the area with her studies.