Everybody has a Story: Michael Mancao

Being the Light in the Dark

Marko Barrera, STAFF WRITER

     Not a lot of students can say that they enjoy waking up early in the morning, struggling to have enough energy to get through a day’s worth of school, and then do this four more times. This happens to not be the story for Michael Mancao. Friends around the school can agree that, with his top tier personality, Michael makes the day a little better for a lot of people. There is a good chance that he’ll always be spotted with a smile on his face. This wasn’t always the case, however.

     Born on November 25, 2002,  Michael lived what a baby’s life was supposed to be. Drinking milk, crying, and sleeping- truly a baby’s dream. A year before he was born, his family had just moved to America. Prior to it, their family lived in the beautiful islands of the Philippines. Even if the views and food there is superior, the quality of life wasn’t too great. That being said, they took the chance of living a better life and moved to the states.

     The change didn’t stop there. When Michael was 5 years old, his dad had to go back to the Philippines, forcing him to grow up without the influence of a father. This did make an impact on the rest of Michael’s life. It didn’t affect him too drastically, mostly because of his age at the time. “I was only 5 years old,” he said, ”So I just thought it was a normal thing.” Michael didn’t know that he’d feel the effects later on, especially since he was the youngest sibling.

     With 3 older brothers, Michael’s childhood was filled with fighting for their respect and constantly being teased. Because he was the youngest, he was always trying to prove himself to them. Knowing he was the smallest and the easiest to get picked on, Michael always felt the need to gain their approval. Because of this, he was never really close with his siblings. To make matters worse, his mom was always working. Thus, Michael always felt out of place as he grew up. Everybody has their safe space, though.

     In the midst of all the madness, Michael found comfort in video games. With a keyboard and mouse or device in his hands, Michael felt safe and secure. He was also into the sport of basketball, just not as much as his brothers. This was more because their dad pushed them in that direction, but he was not there to do the same for Michael. That, and his siblings all had an initial drive to love the game. Life simply carried on from there.

      Years and years passed by, giving Michael the time needed to get used to his situation. By Freshman year, he was comfortable, content, and completely ready for the challenge known as high school. His first year was not bad, as he maintained great grades and passed his exams with ease. It wasn’t until sophomore year that his life began to stir up again.

      Towards the end of 2017, Michael’s mom decided to move back to the Philippines with his dad. This shifted everything around. With no parents, Michael had to learn how to function more independently, changing his entire lifestyle and mentality. This definitely hit hard and genuinely scared him. “It feels like I’m all alone now,” he stated,”Especially without the protection of my mom.” Michael knew he had to push through and make the most of his situation, which he continues to do to this day.

      As for this school year, there is no doubt that Michael misses going to school. He believes that his senior year was stripped from him, but he has learned to accept it, even with his genuine hatred for online school. Conversing with friends and making people smile was something he enjoyed, which makes the year feel worse.

      Just like most seniors this year, Michael has plans to go to college. He wants to major in something in the areas of nursing or multimedia. Unlike most seniors, however, he holds other options along with going to college. Michael is also considering moving back to the Philippines to live with his parents.There, he could have even more opportunities, due to his parents’ status back at home. 

      Michael Mancao has grown up to become a great person and many students around the school can say the same. He has grown up to be the light in the dark, and his future is just getting brighter.