MWHS Student and her family travel to all 50 states in America before her 18th birthday

Jenna Arroyo , Reporter

Alena Mendoza issenior at Morton West High School, Mendoza and her family have a planned goal that they are determined to achieve before a certain date. Adan Mendoza and Blanca Mendoza, Alena’s parents had come up with the idea before Alena was born,  to travel to all 50 states before Alena turns 18 and before she goes to college.

Mrs. Mendoza put meaning into the goal by using the traveling opportunity to learn about the interesting history that took place in the State that they were visiting.  While Mrs. Mendoza liked to learn about history on the trip, Mr. Mendoza likes to do any fun activities to make the trip more interesting, like going to cool famous sight seeing’s places, going to places dedicated to famous people, visiting amusement parks, doing animal interacting activities and much more.

Alena and her family at Disney World in Orlando Florida.

 When the family would travel, they would try to go during the summertime to get the best weather for their trips. The first place they went to when Alena was 2 years old was to Disney World in Orlando FL. Alena had dressed up in a Tinkerbell costume and a Mini Mouse costume making the trip a memorable moment for her.

The Mendoza family, Alena, her parents, and her younger sister Celeste Mendoza would all go on the trips together,  whether it was a long road trip or sometimes by plane. The trips would usually last a week if they were doing a road trip. But if they were going on a long weekend trip, the family would travel by plane to get there faster. As the family traveled by car to enjoy the road trips, they would also experience different situations like having to pull over to get rest from a long drive because of exhaustion, or encountering some unexpected animals on the road. Yeah, we were like driving and there would be birds flying towards us and we’re on the highway so we couldn’t stop. So, my Dad was

Alena and her sister Celeste in Paris by the Eiffel Tower.

just all shocked and there’s a big crash and like dead bird residue on our car.” But the Mendoza family would also experience having fun and meaningful family road trips together. Some activities the Mendoza family experienced were swimming with Dolphins at Sea World, Swimming with wild stingrays in the ocean on sand bars, visiting the Hollywood sign in California, parachute flying with boats, going on cruises, visiting famous houses in movies, going to different restaurants and much more.

New York at Time Square.

When the Mendoza family was on a trip to  Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming, Alena’s favorite national park. As they were busy taking pictures of the animals in the park, Alena heard her Dad yell “everyone get in the car! Get in the car right now!Everyone quickly got back into the car not knowing why. When suddenly a whole herd of Bison appeared from a hill, going into the street right next to their car. They were so close that if you stuck your hand out of the window you would feel the Bison’s fur pressed against your hand, thus making it another memorable moment for the family. Some things Alena and her family have learned from past experiences are to look out for good affordable hotels when traveling, nothing too cheap and nothing too expensive for short stays.

While traveling, Alena’s family would like to pull funny pranks on her every now and then. In Colorado, the family had gone to a restaurant where Mrs. Mendoza was the first one to pull a prank.

The bison at Yellow Stone National Park.

 “My mother tricked me once and this was not okay, she gave me chicken nuggets and said they were from this State, and I bit into it, and it was chewy. I’m like what is this, this is not a chicken nugget. They’re like yeah, we lied to you, those are bull genitals. I was so mad I spit it out and I was like what did you just make me eat, I was chewing on bull genitals, what?! Then they just started laughing.” The family would then prank Alena the same way but now they were in Texas.

Alena has her own small goal for herself when they travel. The goal was to collect any random item she found interesting during that trip and bring it back home so she can add it to her collection items. When going on these trips, Alena would find it refreshing to be able to leave the house for a little bit, experience fun, at different places, and to clear their mind. Alena also enjoyed coming back home and getting right back into their regular routineThe Mendoza family has been to all 50 states except Alaska when school began. The family completed their goal by traveling to Alaska for a week this past fall. The Mendoza family achieved their goal and traveling to all 50 states before Alena’s 18th birthday and before Alena goes off to college.

Random items Alena found interesting and collected on her trips.
This is Alena at Sea World swimming with dolphins.