Remembering Netzali Can
Events and scholarships are being organized to recognize an alumni.
Published on Feb. 26 2020
By Vivian Liu
Netzali Can running on the track.
Netzali Can, class of 2019, passed away early Jan. on a family trip in Guatemala. A memorial service was held for her on Jan. 25 at the Oakland Center for Spiritual Living.
Can was a phenomenal three-sport varsity athlete and a scholar student, and is remembered fondly by her teachers. She was captain for her cross country team, soccer and club soccer team, and a varsity athlete for track and field.
Samantha Johnson, biology teacher, is organizing a scholarship along with other groups to honor Can’s legacy. Johnson is working out the logistics with the district to ensure the longetivity of the scholarship.
“We have a lot of alumni that knew her or that know her family, and when the word started getting out...people really wanted to do something to honor her in a meaningful way, and the idea was because she was so involved in the Health and Medicine Academy and such an academic rockstar, was to create some kind of scholarship in her memory... We want to work with the athletics group and also other people that are interested in being involved,” Johnson said.
A soccer game in honor of Can, organized by the senior girls on the varsity soccer team, took place on Feb. 6. Andy Waranoff, athletic director and coach for the girl’s soccer team, spoke about Can in his speech and a moment of silence was held before the game. Waranoff and the varsity girl’s soccer team plan to retire Can’s jersey near the track to have her presence there.
“After we found out about her passing, Waranoff said we all wear black badges, and we have been wearing it for the rest of our season [during games],” senior Michelle Garcia said.
Garcia was one of the varsity athletes who helped organize the soccer game.
“We were talking about retiring her jersey, maybe putting it in the stands over there near the field because her number was sixteen and that’s how I will always remember her.”
Eckloff ultimately believes Can is a model of someone who overcame adversity and can serve as someone to look up to for future generations.
“I would hope that students remember Netzi’s work ethic and her courage. She faced a lot of self-doubt in her life and she overcame it and it made her a much stronger, empathetic person and the result was a very kind-hearted person. And I think we can use her as an example for future Dons who might have doubts about their own securities and how they can overcome them and achieve at levels that she achieved,” Eckloff said. •
Teachers share fond memories of Netzali Can.
Photo | Vivian Liu
“Netzi turned in a project where she talked about her future dreams and what she wanted to achieve. It was all about how she wanted to give back and help people who that were less fortunate, and that captured Netzi in a nutshell. She worked hard to help those who needed help.”
- Philosophy and Government/Economics Teacher Andrew Eckloff
“Netzi was late to every Wednesday practice. She would go home to eat lunch to eat or take a nap or who knows. And we would start 3:30 promptly, and sure enough, she would come super late, sprinting in from the parking lot, wearing her cross country sweatpants, dressed, her cleats on as she drove to practice... And she always had this sort of ‘What?’ smiling and she would jump right in and it was hard to be mad because she was laughing about it...”
- Athletic Director and Girl’s Soccer Coach Andy Waranoff
Photo | Elton Wong
“I presented Netzi’s [Health and Medicine Academy Award]... I was honored that she selected me because a lot of the staff members had a really close relationship with her... Trying to put everything about her into a one to two minute presentation was really hard. So sitting down, writing it, and really thinking about what I wanted to say and... watching how excited she was to graduate with distinction... I think it was a good moment with her.”
- Science Teacher Samantha Johnson
Photo | Vivian Lui