Iliana Munoz

MVC-016SIliana Muñoz is one of the quiet ones. Her name is rarely heard being from the director’s podium as Mr. Cox attempts to corral some of the shorter attention spans during practice in the band hall. Instead she sits and waits quietly, casually eyeing her music or examining her flute until things settle down and it’s time to play once again. But it’s all an illusion. It was a pleasant surprise to find a talkative Iliana sitting across the desk in Mr. Cox’s office, eagerly answering each question posed to her.The 17-year-old senior is the oldest child of Martin and Alicia Muñoz. Alicia is a stay-at-home mom and Martin is the owner/operator of several Mexican restaurants in the local area. The entire family, including two other sisters and two brothers, have made their home in Olive Branch after moving from Batesville. Before moving to Mississippi, the Muñoz family lived in Stockton, California where Iliana was born. Her roots, however, go all the way back to the state of Jalisco in Mexico, from which her parents immigrated.

Since moving to Olive Branch three years ago, Iliana has found much to like about Desoto Central. Her favorite academic subject is English currently taught by Mrs. Benson, but she developed her affinity for the course during her first two years under Mrs. Wiseman. “She teaches you while getting to know you on a personal level,” Iliana explained.

Iliana also has a lot going on outside the classroom. She is a member of two clubs on campus, the Key Club and the International Club, with the latter being her favorite, adding, “We’re studying different Hispanic and Latin American cultures. To be in it, it helps to know Spanish, because Mrs. Skinner uses Spanish in the classroom and expects you to answer in Spanish.” In this area Iliana bi-lingual ability comes in handy. Otherwise, free time is hard to come by, now that she is also keeping a part-time work schedule as a waitress at her one of her father’s restaurants. The best part of the job for Iliana is meeting the customers, but she is a little concerned about how such a hectic schedule will affect her grades.

And her grades will be especially important to her plans after high school. Iliana plans to attend either Ole Miss or the University of Memphis to study pre-law, and then go on to law school. Mom and Dad, however are somewhat reluctant to let their eldest child leave the nest and are leaning to The U of M in order to keep her close to home. “I don’t have a problem with that,” Iliana added. “…both of those schools have a law school.” Why does she want to be a lawyer? “It’s the arguing part, I guess,” she explained. “Sometimes when we have class discussions, I just find myself involved in it, and I think that I can get involved in other discussions. My mom says that when I set my mind to it, I can get what I want.” Having four other siblings to compete with, one can see the necessity for that skill.

She hopes to be able to continue to play the flute and march throughout her time at college because of the pleasure it has brought to her life so far. She takes great satisfaction from the improvements she has witnessed in the quality of The Pride. She credits winning the state championship last year with an overall improvement in the bands confidence level. Even though it will be the first year of 4A competition, Iliana thinks that they are up to the challenge and she can’t wait to prove it!

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